As you know, the markets tragically crashed on Monday, despite CNBC TV18 saying that nothing of the sort was going to happen. Well, PC and Manmohan immediately invited me to Delhi for a briefing. They know I am a popular blogger, doing much to mould opinion in the cyberworld. (I don't want to sound like a braggart, but a recent survey indicated that twelve - yes twelve! - separate people actually read my blog).
As it happened, only PC met me because Yechury and Karat managed to corner Manmohan Singh outside his office as he was leaving and were beating him up for speaking to the US ambassador over the weekend, presumably about the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Me: Hello PC. What's happening to Manmohan?
PC: Thanks for coming at such short notice, Naren. Don't worry about Manmohan. He's used to it, plus the CPI(M) are really very decent people, they never hit you with sharp objects or cause much permanent damage. How are Sheela and the kids?
Me: They're fine. How's your son? Still profiteering at the stock market?
PC: Oh, nothing much, a few crores....
PC: Daily! What do you think he is, some kind of petty trader?
Me: Sorry, my bad. Well then, what did you want to speak to me about?
PC: As you know, the stock market crashed the other day, without anyone telling us a thing. We are on a mission to restore investor confidence in the market.
Me: But wasn't the stock market overheated? Several economists including Bimal Jalan, former RBI governor, have called it a bubble.
PC: Oh no, definitely not a bubble. It was a very stable exponential rise. These guys are very impulsive and short sighted. Don't think before they speak.
Me: Even Bimal Jalan?
PC: Especially Bimal Jalan! He thinks he understands economics better than us just because he happens to be an economist. Let me tell you, we have been having some wonderful indicators. Our per capita income is up 0.2 %. Corruption is down 0.2 % And the percentage of the population below the poverty line has dropped by, let me see (leafing through his papers) 0.2%. Plus we have a better human rights record than China, unless you count Gujarat.
Me: Why do you think the crash happened?
PC: It happened because of the US sub prime crisis, but it will pass.
Me: But hasn't that been brewing for months now? Why should that result in such a steep crash?
PC: Our little broker community, while tremendously able and competent, is a little slow on the uptake, especially if things are spoken in a Yankee accent. They thought the sub-prime crisis meant that the Al-Qaeda had captured a nuclear under-sea vessel.
Me: Which way do you think the market will go now?
PC: Oh, there's only one way for the market to go, and that's up!
Me: Because the fundamentals of the economy are still good?
PC: Yes. And also because the entire experience of the crash has raised the average investor IQ by just 0.2 %