Today, all roads led to Dalal Street. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, the Badshah of Dalal Street, was, as usual, the first to turn up. He had earlier gone to the Siddhivinayak Temple and offered prayers to the presiding deity. He was sporting a bright red tilak on his forehead.
As he stepped out of his gleaming Mercedes GL 350 and began to briskly walk up the hallowed steps of Jeejeebhoy Towers, the crowd, which had assembled in large numbers since the early hours of the morning, broke into spontaneous and rapturous applause. The Badshah, dressed in a pristine white silk Kurta Pyjama, turned to acknowledge his admirers and waved at them.
The other legends, Radhakishan Damani, Rakesh Damani, Narayana Murthy and Nandan Nilekani followed the Badshah in their own limousines.
Ramesh Damani was in a particularly buoyant mood. He smiled broadly, posed for selfies and also exchanged high-fives with the crowd.
As the legends and the novices settled in and took their respective positions, the excitement was palpable in the air. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Coffee Day would list at a huge premium and lead to heavy riches for its investors. It was unthinkable that a stock founded by whiz-kid V. G. Siddhartha and backed by a pantheon of India’s smartest investors could fail.
The only issue of discussion was how much the premium would be. The novices and the punters were excitedly placing bets amongst themselves on the extent of premium.
The legends were huddled in a group of their own and having an animated conversation in a hushed tone.
An army of uniformed bearers kept a steady supply of paan, gutka and chaas to provide succour to the parched throats of the legends and the novices as they debated what they would do with the riches from the IPO.
After an agonizing wait, an elderly official of the BSE walked in. He was greeted with a loud cheer. He pulled out some officious looking papers and fiddled with some knobs. Soon thereafter, the monitor flickered to life and the rates began to stream in.
As everyone stared unblinkingly at the screen, there was a deathly silence in the air.
Then, the unthinkable happened. The legends and the novices couldn’t believe their eyes. Cafe Coffee Day opened at a steep discount to its IPO price. As everyone watched in disbelief, the stock plunged a whopping 17.64%.
There was an audible gasp from the audience as all dreams and aspirations of riches evaporated into thin air.
The Badshah instinctively knew that the game was up and that it was risky to linger around any longer. He got up and quietly made his way to the door. The other legends followed him, trying their best to avoid being noticed by the novices.
Ramesh Damani was in two minds whether to leave or not. However, a sharp nudge by Radhakishan Damani convinced him that discretion is the better part of valour.
When the shell-shocked punters came to their senses, they were understandably furious. With the legends having escaped by the back door, the punters vented their ire on the promoters and SEBI.
“IPO k promoter ko koi poochnewala nahi SEBI bhi kuch nahi karti sahi value qya hai IPO ki permission dene se pahle. New Govt aane k baad retail investor ko ummeed thee. fir small invester bhag jayega” Ghai77 wailed.
mony707 was very agitated: “this is another feather in cap for crime posters, UNTILL SEBI IS THER NOTHING WILL HAPPEN TO CROOCKED PROMOTORS” he claimed.
adaljaarun demanded that “sebi must be abolished as they allow the people to take investors hard earned money”.
“today’s louzy listing spoilt the true aroma of scintillating coffee in india” niftylelo complained.
“I ever seen any worst stock than this. This is what call as day light robery. !!!” talin wept.
However, a few punters were able to make light of the grim situation:
“SELL OR BUY A RUDRAKSHA MALA AND HEAD FOR HARIDWAR. YOU MAY LOSE YOUR SHIRTS AND PANTS OF YOU INVEST IN SUCH STOCKS.!!!!!!” bankerram advised.
“I dont want a CCD expresso, give me a deprosso ! haha” aditya3827 joked.
“Jisne isme invest kiya hai wo 10 saal tak coffee nahi pee paayega 😛” agreenstreet quipped.
realdan had advice for VG Siddhartha on how to assuage investors’ sentiments: “henceforth, cafe coffee day will only serve black coffee for free to all shareholders every year on this day to mark it as a black day in memory of such a great listing 🙂” he suggested.
In a perverse twist of events, the fact that the stock did not sink to a lower circuit became a cause for celebration for the novices. The novices were convinced that there is “strength” in the stock. Fortunately, nobody told them that a stock is not subject to an upper or lower circuit on its listing day!