Mumbai – land of Dawood, Bollywood and the Stockwood. While phone calls to builders and diamond merchants who finance block-busters with alleged links to the underworld make routine news, the underworld’s infiltration into the stock market hardly ever attracts attention. “Ivy League MBA’s with their plum FII postings hobnobbing with the seamy underbelly of society? Nah!” Is the common, if prudish, response. But consider this: if you were the Don, would you let the opportunity of raking in the moolah from your own backyard go by? Would you, not want to have a stake in the millions and billions that are made and lost here every day? Besides, not every player is above board and greed makes strange bed fellows. It is only the naïve who will take the line, that life in the world of high finance is purely black and white with no intermingling shades of grey. Besides, matka and fatka, are blood sisters, and will remain so whatever you may say. And the same adrenalin rush that flickering prices give to some, urges them on to bigger games where the stakes are equally higher.
A sampler of the lingo used in the bourse, the corner offices and the terminals is telltale. I have always been fascinated by the lingo of Mumbai’s by-streets. There is a kind of rustic charm about it. One is also fascinated by the ability of the protagonists to draw parallels with everyday objects, giving it a simple, yet comic richness. The one liners and the codes, used are so pedestrian on one level that they somehow do not seem as menacing as what they are capable of and often end up, delivering.
Over my many trips to Mumbai, the Pav Stalls around Nariman Point, offices of friends, analysts and brokers, I have made a compilation of the terms used. By no means is it an definitive compilation and is more an academic exercise than anything else. An exercise that, I hope, will generate a few laughs and will be taken in the spirit in which it was written.
To remain within the confines of the magazine, I have for you only 26 samplers, for in its entirety, it will take volumes.
A : Angoor code word for the Blackberry and the entry level executives who flaunt them to announce their arrival. As in “angoor ko rasid thaap de” which means “give the executive the bill.” Also “Artist” a technical analyst (as in “Chartist”) “artist lagao kaam pe, jhakkas future bolna mangta” which is actually the direction to employ a chartist to prepare a report based on the “so-called” technicals which will predict an eminent upward break.
Such predictions work as very few actually understand the charts and “experts” with the gift of the gab can look at any price formation to predict virtually anything, secure in their knowledge that the inherent greed of the investors will do the rest.
B : Bill Lena – the act of accepting responsibility for a particular flare-up. “ Ahmedabad ka chikna ne bhao tordne ka bill liya”. As in “the Ahmedabad based speculator has taken responsibility of breaking the support price.” Bakda is the universal sheep – the investors, who have been taken for rides eternally, “bakda ko bali kar de” meaning lynch him. “Batla” on the other hand, means to go short.
C : Char Dham – literally the places of pilgrimage for the protagonists. Mumbai, Dubai, London and Singapore. This one is a perennial favourite of the merchant bankers, “Char Dham ghuma denge” as in , we will raise monies from all corners of the world. “Clinton lagwa denge” in the context will mean that well get investments in US Dollars.
Chai pau on the other hand is an insider. Someone, who is extremely close to the “boss”.
D : Dabba – the NSE/BSE terminal. “dabba main anar far dena” which literally means blast a grenade in the terminal, translated it says, “set the terminal on fire, or jack up the price of a particular scrip.” Daddy-Mummy on the other hand is a term that refers to SEBI and ROC. “Daddy-Mummy maan gaya”, meaning all clearances have been obtained and the issue can proceed.
E : Extras – sidekicks who assist the main rigger. A school of experts, from lawyers to accountants and spin doctors weave their magic in ensuring that the operation is executed in the most seamless manner. “extra logon ko kaam pe lagao – yea issue jald lana hai.” Get the extras to start work, we have to rush this issue.
Ek Number : fundamentally strong scrip / sound promoter.
F : Fast dena : the act of avoiding. “Arre yaar, seth to fast de raha hai”. The promoter is avoiding, as in not honouring his part of the deal.
Fielding : the act of going public. Once the key players have had their fill and have exited, the act of passing off the worthless papers to hapless small investors begin, a term referred to, as fielding. “bhai ka batting ho gaya, ab thora filding kar le babu”, the bhai has exited the scrip, now pass it on to the market and restrict the company’s exposure.
G : Gaon – to the underworld, gaon means Dubai, it also means the world at large. “gaon ko tham do” in popular parlance means to pass on the holding to the common shareholders, almost always at an exorbitantly inflated price. It also marks the exit route of the key players.
Goodman (informer) “saar,aap to goodman hain,aap ka keya tarif karun?” is a clear hint to the others to shut up.
Other terms in common use : garigapatti (mastermind), gandibapu (money paid to the underworld either to buy their silence or to plain keep the happy)
H : haath pe aa ja – call me on my mobile, especially when final orders are to be given. The other frequently used terms are Hawala, which need no explanation and Home Ground, which refers to the location of the registered office.
I : item – sexy damsel. While the use of beautiful baits to swing deals is as old as time itself, in this case, “items” are the business tv presenters, always on the edge for breaking news with “item ko dana bhar de” referring to planting a story for obvious reasons.
J: jhadu –to sweep the floor by heavy buying, thereby jacking up the price. “bajaar khulte hi jharoo mar dena”. The term originally meant a sweeping burst of fire from an automatic weapon, preferably an AK47.
K: kaum ki churan – mouthing rightwing religious sentiments all the while quietly going about wrecking the system for personal gains. “sala todta hai haram ki roti, thukta hai kaum ki churan”. A typically degrading remark about the baniyas, who hunt with the foxes only to talk big about ethics and integrity.
Kalakaar, (artist) and Khujli (a fake) are other terms that are used often.
L : laddu. Sweets, an easy operation promising good returns. “laddu hai beta, bhai ne bheja, khaa le”. Or better still, this job promises sweet returns. It’s a gift to you from the bhai.
Lukha on the other hand means broke. And roughly translated, “kalakaar khujli nahin, lukha hai bahi” would mean that the promoter is not faking it, he has actually gone bust.
M: Majnoon. Lover . The brash young sons of the promoters, who are always in a hurry to tap markets and appear on the business shows. For them rules are for the breaking and big bucks , the only goal in life. Naturally the mob loves them for they keep the show running. “majnoon ko item se mila de. Is chikna ko khan banake lutenge.” Introduce the kid to the media. Ensure his visibility so that we can rip more out of him.
Matka or betting used to be the main source of income for the underworld which spawned in its wake, its own system of protection, collection of hafta etc.
N: nulla-fake. “Yeah fund walla nulla hai. Khaal main daam jorkar dublis maal thaap raha hai.” Khaal means margin, the profit. While dublis is the term used to denote duplicate stuff. In essence what is being said is that this fund manager is a fake, he is adding price to the margin and trying to peddle a worthless scrip.
P : palti – the act of replacing documents to remove the paper trail. “khata palti karle beta, nirma lagake.” Clean up your act, the books must be spotless.
Q : qurbani. Sacrifice. “Seth ko Qurban kar de mamu, nahi to burhe bhi jawani ka dua maanenge.” Expose the promoter before everybody starts to demand hush money.
R: roti – cd’s (and increasingly pen drives) containing data sent through courier. “opening show ka roti bhej diya artist ko khane bolna.” Have sent the data of the opening day’s trade, get the analysts to study the trends and identify unwelcome piggy riders, if any. The idea is to keep close tabs on the circular trades used to artificially jack up the price on listing to ensure that unwanted intruders are kept at bay.
S : saja ke dena – window dressing. “Isko barrel main khelne layek sajao”, dress it up so that we can play in hundreds of crores with this issue.
T : than – Rs 1000, Pety – Rs 100,000, Drum –Rs 1 crore, Khokha –Rs 10 crore, Barrel – 100 crores. The codes for the different denominations.
U : undir – taxi, a loose cannon, a professional on hire. “yeah Veeru Undir hai, thik daam main bajayega.” This guy is a professional will play at the right price.
V : virar – victory. “Virar man ke chal le” get out while you are winning.
W : wazan – weight. “Tapori ka wazan maan ne pardega, sala jhuktaich nahin.” Must admit the weight of the guy, bugger doesn’t buckle under pressure.
X : extras- primarily journalists in the beat and those of the electronic media constantly tracking performances. “Extra log ko coke shoke pila ke rakhna bhai, kaal fir kaam ayaenge” Keep the media in good humour, well need them again.
Y : young company – the young and arrogant sons of the promoters who are always chasing fast bucks and in doing so cross the boundaries shaking hands with those they deny publicly. They form the core of the cartels that try to pull the wool and foster links with the underworld for achieving in years what normally takes ages. “Young company hai babu, table bicha dena”. Keep no stones unturned to keep him in good humour, for he is the one paying for the party.
Z : ZZZ SEBI’s response to the whole thing.