Come on in!

Hi! I’m Justin Raj, a stock broker by profession, is also a freelance Journalist, an amateur Filmmaker and an enthusiastic Marathoner who possesses the ‘bad habit’ of writing too much. And as long as that ‘bad habit’ stays with me, I keep on posting to my blog.

A blogger is basically a tech-savvy writer. He is a keen observer with a sharing mind, not a silent spectator to all events which happen around him. If a reader is a person who loves to gain knowledge, a blogger or writer is one who loves to share his knowledge and dare to speak out his opinions and ideas. Like a singer expresses by singing, dancer by dancing, actor through acting, a blogger blogs his feelings and ideas out. Literally, Freedom of Expression is his shield and the blog is his Sword.

Here in my blog, write-ups are archived in 9 labels. In ‘Sweet and Bitter’ you can read about my diverse life experiences and valuable lessons I learnt from it. ‘Published Articles’ offers you my articles which have been published in Daily Newspapers. In ‘Random Brain Waves’ you can meet up with my random (or at times, weird) ideas. Poetry writing has eventually become a new hobby as well as a part of my blog. You can read my poems in ‘Verses’. In ‘Marathon’ label, you can read about my marathon experiences, challenges and how running a marathon can shape a man’s life.

‘Vlog’ is a recent addition to my blog as I realize the potential future of visual media. Sometimes, a 3-minute video can do the magic of expression than a 3000 word article. In this label you can watch the short films, documentaries, advertisements et al I have made. ‘Favorite Articles’ consists of articles which have influenced my outlook and attitude on life. Being a tireless traveler, ‘Travel’ label takes you to various travel experiences of mine. Conducting researches is a part of Journalism. In ‘Research Articles’ label you can get articles which throw light on various researches I have conducted.

Every life meets with various challenges, diverse experiences and at the end, all those teach us valuable lessons for our future. Wise men learn by other men's mistakes, fools by their own said H. G. Bohn. I learn more by my own mistakes than others. It doesn’t mean that I’m a fool! I learn from other’s lives too. My blog is a platform for sharing not only my life experiences but also the valuable lessons, ideas and poetry triggered by them.

To my mind, blog is a thinking man's tool. Blogging is more a passion than a hobby for me. It is as if talking something to someone somewhere in world. My words keep on talking to the visitors of my blog. I can feel the magic of words! And that’s the power of blogging!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Please, Don’t Kill the Child in You!


Today, in social circles, most of us discuss about abortion, female feticide, child labor et al. We talk on those topics endlessly as if we are the sole expert in that subjects. Yes, we can talk well on the ethics related to killing a growing fetus in a womb. But, how many of us have mentioned or even thought about killing the child in ourselves?
We came to this world as cute, innocent children. We loved to play, laugh and fool around. But unfortunately, in course of time and along our struggle to emulate grownups, we have lost our innocence, cuteness and childlike enthusiasm.
In this 'serious' world, if an adult displays a playful, careless and enthusiastic attitude, he is ruthlessly labelled as childish. “ You don’t have seriousness towards life. Your life s#@cks!” people nag you if you play around. Is there anything in this life to be serious about? Personally, I don’t see anything in life to be 'serious' about. Everyone, from your great-grandfather to closest friend asks you to grow up. “ Hey, grow up, dude!” they bug you.
Wise people states that art of joyful living is all about growing up without growing old. The day we start growing old, we start missing all joyfulness in life. Life loses it's liveliness. Life loses it's sheen and beauty.
Our biological age increases with each passing year. People have their own concepts of age. Most of them think teenage is the only age for fun. Fun time is over with the end of teenage. During twenties you should get a good job, find a life partner and if you are smarter, make two or more babies (as you wish). It is like a rule that a person should behave in accordance with his or her age.
“My age is just a number to me” popular Bollywood film-star, Aamir Khan quipped on his age during an interview. He was 45 then.
Jayaraj Warrier
Recently I got an opportunity to attend a function where an excellent caricature artist named Jayaraj Warrier performed a brilliant comedy show. While concluding, he tried to give a personal touch to the show by sharing few life experiences with the audience.
He attributed his artistic skills to the child he nurtures in himself. Still sailing through mid 40's, he is not ready to let go his childishness, enthusiasm and curiosity. He also added that being childish or enthusiastic in this 'serious' world is really a daring adventure. His family and friends always force him to be matured and develop a serious attitude towards life. But he tells them that killing the child in him is similar to killing the artist in him.
Work and play should be in perfect harmony in human life. When you look at the characteristics of great creative people, most of them are highly sensitive like children. A good artist is a talented person who is highly sensitive towards himself, his ideas, world and people around him.
The day we start killing the child in us, the joyfulness, youthfulness and creativity also starts dying in our life.
All work and no play made Jack a dull boy. It is true. But, the choice is always yours.

Image Courtesy: My dad and Internet

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Meet the boss...always!


When a strong desire to do something on your own strikes your heart, the only way in front of you is to quit your job and be on your own. That was all I did few months ago. I came to that decision after thinking hard for several days. But that decision took my life to an unseen and unpredictable course - months of joblessness, disappointments and finally, broke. I also turned down number of good job offers in my area of interest: journalism.
To take care of my expenses, I took number of writing assignments (both online and offline) and it was the coolest thing I could do. I enjoyed the work but most of my clients didn’t paid me well and sadly, few of them vanished from the scene without even paying me.
Disappointments. I can handle that. But living without a single penny in my purse to spend was too hard for a spendthrift like me. For the first time in my life, I shied away from parties, get together with friends. The reason was quite simple, I don’t have money to spend on drinks as well as on food. I don’t want my friends to pay for my expenses too.
During those troublesome days, roaming around with a strong decision to do something on my own and without a single penny in my pocket, I met my cousin-in-law who is successfully running a stock brokerage firm in his hometown. I was interested in equity trading during college days but I couldn't begin it since I was busy with studies and other activities. Cousin-in-law and I had discussed about this business too few years ago.
But, he was smarter and also faster. He had started trading stocks while working and when he became confident enough, he quit his highly paid job abroad and started a brokerage firm in his home town. I love doing business and have read a lot about stock market and equity trading. After all, his story was highly inspiring.
He offered his help and guidance. He also added that the business he is running involves high risk and only by trial and error method one can become expert in stock trading.
He is a man of action and I trust him. On my birthday this year, I invested my entire savings and started trading stocks. Within three days, all the money vanished from my sight! My cousin-in-law, cousin and their parents were sad and speechless. That day seemed like a day of mourning. I tried my level best to bring a smile on my face.
There is no trading without money. Money gone is money gone. How to raise capital? How can I ask my friends and relatives? Most of them think that stock trading is nothing more than a gamble. At that point, only safest way to borrow was from my mother.
Hesitantly, I called her and told that I lost entire savings on equity trading and I need some cash to resume the business. I thought she would be angry at me or at the most, curse me. To my surprise, she laughed and told, “I know you are making a lot of mistakes. It's fine but I would be happier if you learn a little from them. How much money you need?”
That was the happiest day of my life. It is not because of cash I got but mainly because of my mom's attitude towards life and her son. It is always soothing if you have someone who can understand and help you at the time of need.
At the edge of resuming trading, I told my cousin that I need to learn a bit about this business before investing. He recommended an experienced stock broker at a brokerage firm and I went to meet him. He was a North Indian who can talk very well in Malayalam.
“Sir, this is a highly risky business. As far as you want to make some pocket money, I would recommend to pursue other risk-free jobs. I know you are educated and there are number of good jobs out there. Trust me, you will lose more money again.” it was his statement to a person who came near to him to learn what he is best at doing!
“If I want to do some job, why should I come to you?” I murmured.
“ You should avoid risk. I’m telling it from my experience. I have seen people who have lost all money and sleeping on street. I'm just doing a job and I'm not ready to risk my money. I'm happy with my salary. I would recommend long term investments to novices like you. You will get the benefit for sure after 5-10 years” he said.
“What I need is short term profit and I neither have time nor money for long term investments. My cousin-in-law is making good profit each day and he is leading a good life. He is always positive about this business.” I told him.
“Your cousin-in-law is an experienced trader. You are new to trading” he defended his argument.
“He was also a novice like me one year ago. He doesn’t have a commerce background either. I can learn and I'm still learning” I took my stand. “Its impossible!” he exclaimed. At that juncture of our conversation, I felt like hitting his head with my laptop. I didn’t do that...patience always pays...
“Can I meet the person who runs this brokerage firm?” I asked him. “You can't, he is busy!” he answered in negative. “Of course, he will be busy. He is your boss!” I murmured in my mind trying to bring a smile on my face.
It was such a point of my life that my ego got tested at the max and I really felt so weak. I know that I'm moving away from the safe zone and any ray of hope was out of sight. All the doors appears new and great amount of negativity around me.
For the first time in my life, I felt so ashamed of myself. I felt disappointed about quitting my job. About exhibiting lot of ego and disobedience. My decision was strong and I had to keep my stand strong no matter what happens. But I felt so down... it was so hard to get up.
Just a phone call to my cousin-in-law fetched me an appointment with the person who runs that brokerage firm. I was at the cabin of that 'busy' person after waiting for few minutes.
“I can never assure you that you can make money faster with this business. It is a risky business but it is likely that you can make good returns every day only if you are ready to learn and study the market. Stock trading becomes risky only if you don’t possess sufficient knowledge. So, first of all, you should study the market. It is easy and doesn’t need great wisdom and such. It is just a common man's business. I wish you all the best.” he gave me number of booklets which contains information about various trading practices. I thanked him and left the office with great confidence.
Even after all those lectures and with good guidance from my cousin, I lost half the money I borrowed from my mother. But, on the way, I learnt a lot about market as well as making a little bit of pocket money. The profit I'm making today may be marginal but it is highly satisfying than chunks of salary and perks I earn by working in a corporate enterprise or any other organizations. I don’t need a label of any organization and I'm really proud in telling that I'm self employed.
And the most important lesson I learnt was that if you want to do something on your own, talk to people who have done so. Never ever talk to an employee of an organization if you want to start a business of your own. Meet the boss...always! He is the person who is full of positive energy and dare to live as he pleases.
P.S – Here in my state most of us hold a misconception that equity trading or any kind of investment is some sort of gambling. But let me tell you that it may be a gambling for people who don’t know the game. All the businesses are like that. Stock trading is not an exception. Here, unfortunately, stock traders are labeled as gamblers.
In North India, I have seen people even teenagers making (literally, minting) money from stock market. They know stock market well and do the business with low risk. Here most people don’t know the market and trades in high risk and finally end up blaming - it's a gamble! I lost money!
Image Source: Internet

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