A chartered accountant by profession, Raj Chawla is a versatile person who had come up with his book on investing. The book had already got amazing reviews. In a candid talk, he spoke about several aspects. Have a look:
QUES: Please tell our readers about yourself.
I am a Chartered Accountant and been into varied business ventures. I have also been a banker, merchant banker, editor, and publisher of financial and real estate newspaper. Also, I have been a member of leading stock exchanges, the director of many companies engaged in different businesses. I have trained hundreds of investors, housewives, traders, and speculators in the field of shares and commodity markets.
Now, I do farming and do poetry in leisure time. During the journey of my life, I have seen all the peaks and troughs of life and am happy and thankful to God for making me live life peacefully.
QUES: Throw light on your book Investing, Trading & Speculation in India.
Let me not speak about my book. Rather I would love you to read the book and then speak about it-speak critically.
QUES: What made you write this book? What are the aspects covered?
Let me give you the answers to all the questions listed above. I have been involved in financial markets – investing, broking, trading and speculating – for nearly thirty years. I started out as a practicing chartered accountant in 1980. Alongside, I began publishing a newspaper on the share market and real estate. Following a stint in merchant banking, I chose to get involved full-fledged in share-broking in 1990. A parallel interest in education led me into teaching, perhaps, thousands of novice investors and prospective traders. Just as there are frequent ups and downs in financial markets – and sometimes it feels like a roller coaster – my life too has had its ups and down, and many times it has also been a roller coaster ride. I have been frequently stuck in the whirlpools of the financial markets as well as of life, but with God’s grace I have survived all vicissitudes and am living a happy and calm life. Why and how I survived successfully in the financial market is due to the reason that, despite all the odds, I tried to invest/trade/speculate in the markets with certain basic rules. I have tried to elaborate on them in this book.
While started writing I wondered about the target audience and approach. Should I speak primarily for investors, traders or speculators? Should I narrate all my experience and analyze it from the viewpoint of an investor, trader or a speculator? After due deliberations, I decided to incorporate a broader mix. I adopted a balanced and multidisciplinary approach that is relevant to the investors, traders, and speculators.
I have tried to cover the fundamentals of Investing, Trading and Speculating with case studies and real-life stories which I found relevant to explain the context. Most of the case studies, stories and commentary are based on my experiences in the rough-and-tumble world of financial markets. Though I am a firm believer in God, I also believe in my deeds. I believe that except God no human being can predict the future accurately. Like in life which is full of challenges and risks, I believe that the same is there in the world of Investing. The same God has given us the mind which can open for all the doors to bring risks under control. In the present day’s financial world there are N numbers of tools available for risk management. Since the past few decades, dramatic new opportunities have arisen in the financial markets bringing new forms of dramatic risks. Over the same time, newer tools for risk management have also been created.
QUES: How would you describe the contemporary scenario of writing and reading in India?
While talking on writing and reading I am combining both as one reads only when something is written. With the time changing, environment and the culture as well changed. In the past centuries, literature and books used to be taken very seriously. People were not much literate so mostly the elites and highly educated Indians would indulge in reading. The books as well used to be on mature issues and themes such as human relations, society, politics, and patriotism to name a few. In time with the evolvement of literature, the lighter themes started seeping into the mainstream literature which attracted elites as well as masses, especially youth. Writers like Rabindranath Tagore, Prem Chand, R K Narayan of Malgudi days and Ruskin Bond were being read by one and all who had the reading habits.
In between a time came when Hindi novels of Gulshan Nanda and spy thriller of Ved Prakash Sharma were being read almost all the youth. As we progressed further and entered in the 21st century, a different set of writers entered the arena like Chetan Bhagat, Amish, Robin Sharma and many others who made the reading and writing a common to Indian. The success of their fictions inspired many young people to step forward and write and now I am seeing that a good percentage of people have started writing on different themes, simple fictions, science fictions as well as thrillers. I am sure in coming time this writing and reading habit is going to increase many times.
QUES: When you are not writing novels, how do you spend your time?
This is my daily routine and that will give an answer to the question you asked me. I get up by 7.30 to 8.00 in the morning. By 9.15 I am ready to trade stocks and commodities. What to trade I plan in advance at night and then go with the market as and how it opens. I am not a frequent trader so, amidst the trading time, I usually spend my time writing. Saturday and Sunday when there are no markets, then I spend my time either on writing or by being at my farm doing farming.
QUES: Best piece of writing advice you would like to give to the budding writers?
Choose the subject you are comfortable with and then go on writing in your leisure time. A time will come you will find a good amount of writing has been done. Then start focusing on giving it the shape of a book. A simple way of mine, coming with current book and also a couple of more books I am planning to get them published.
QUES: What is that one thing in life you feel you have done perfectly?
There is nothing in this world I call it perfect as there is always a scope for improvement of anything in the world..it goes well with the life itself, life too of any person can’t be perfect, always there is a scope of improvement and one should look the life accordingly.
QUES: Do you read books? If yes, which one is most dear to you?
Yes, right from school college days reading is my habit. Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda, a book I read many times and also I purchased more than 20 copies and given to my friends to read it. The second book is Tibetans book of living and dying that again unfolds the mysteries of life and death, I liked it as well. Many many books you read, you find something interesting so let’s develop a reading habit so that we will come to know what all we don’t know by reading them.
QUES: Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project that you are working on?
Presently the book I am working on and writing is “Spiritual Biography of a true saint”. I hope to complete it in another four or five months and get it published in the year 2019. There are a few others I am working on. In time, I will tell about them.
*We wish Raj sir all the best.*