March 15, 2014
Pursuit of Happiness
It was a usual day and I was studying Quantitative Methods for my CFA certification. I got a call from Mr. Ron Sidhu at 6:20 pm and he asked me to meet with him in NYC at around 7 pm. He wanted to introduce me to a person from Citi group. My estimation reflected that I’d need at least two hours to make the commute. Mr. Sidhu and his friend would be meeting for an hour or so, which meant that they would be together till only around 8:15.
Mr. Sidhu advised me to try and make it ASAP. It was a moment where I had to make a decision and act on my feet and I said to myself, "It’s now or never". I hung up and got ready in 10 minutes. It was 6:35 pm then. The next major hurdle was getting to the train station, which is about 4 miles away from my residence and the rather windy evening added to my list of troubles. The nearest place from where I could take a ride to the train station was my grad school (Frank G. Zarb school of business, Hofstra University), which has hourly shuttles to the train station. Hofstra is a mile away from my house and running was the only option left. My attire didn’t fit the occasion and neither did the weather. Running for a mile after many years was a task and I’m not athletically built, physically. The walk usually takes 25 minutes but I beat my own time by 10 whole minutes because the situation so required. My watch said it was 6:50 pm and the guests were to disperse in an hour and fifteen minutes.
The receptionist directed me towards the next shuttle, which was supposed to leave campus at 7:07 pm. I calculated, and concluded that I would reach the train station by 7:35 pm and the next train was supposed to leave at 7:45, which meant I would reach the diners by 9. I needed transportation much before the scheduled 7:07 pm shuttle.
I requested the receptionist to arrange a ride for me to the station as I had an urgent interview to attend at 8 pm in the city. The gentleman was empathetic enough to call the campus Public Safety office and ask them to drive me to the station. The Public Safety SUV arrived 10 minutes after; the watch read 6:57 pm. I expressed my concern to the driver that I had to make it to the city in time, else the world would be over for me. He made every possible legal attempt to make it to the train station ASAP. We managed to reach the train station at 7:12 pm. I thanked him and flew towards the ticket dispenser.
The next train was to arrive at 7:14 pm. I felt euphoric, as if I had attained the biggest goal of my life. The train reached Penn station at 8 pm (I had 15 minutes and one mile between me and my destination, which was 27th, Park Ave.) I sprinted again from Penn and made it to the destination in time. Mr. Sidhu and his friend were kind and considerate in waiting for me; I silently congratulated myself for making possible the impossible. Mr. Sidhu also appreciated my endeavor and my drive for being not too late.
After his friend had left, Mr. Sidhu and I discussed about Mortgage Backed Securities(MBS), Collateralized Debt Obligations(CDOs), Credit Default Swaps(CDSs), Monte Carlo Simulation and many more financial instruments and tools. I believe I learned a lot from that long conversation.
Traveling hassles and the Polar vortex seem trivial compared to my desire of learning.