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At 28, a paraplegic, she makes her living from the stock markets
Prasanna D Zore
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September 20, 2007
Sujata Burla's life took an ugly turn on June 9, 2001. On a pilgrimage to Shirdi, where the Sai Baba temple in Maharashtra is located, from Hyderabad, she met with an accident.

Four months later, the doctors and physiotherapists treating her told her she could not walk for the rest of her life. The accident had turned her into a paraplegic. It meant Sujata was immobile below the shoulders. She was just 21.

Soon people who she thought were her friends abandoned her and Sujata was left alone. Compounding her tragedy was her father's death in March 2004. Not one to be easily cowed down by her circumstances, she started learning about the stock markets that year.

Now she trades like a pro and earns anywhere between Rs 200,000 and Rs 250,000 every month. On a day like Wednesday, September 19, 2007, when the Nifty was up 186 points, Sujata made a cool Rs 600,000 in a single day. She has still not sold her position.

"I expect the Nifty to touch 4800 in the next two, three trading days. I will sell my position then," Sujata told this correspondent in a telephone conversation from her home in Hyderabad.

Sujata moves around in a wheelchair and does not regret this fact. Financial independence is what she strove for and that is exactly what she has got through sheer determination and discipline.

How do you cope with such a trauma?

Before, I could not even write or type. Now I have got used to it. I can easily type and trade on my computer and laptop.

In the first four months after my accident I did not even know I would never be able to walk again. I went into a depression feeling that this was the end of life for me.

Does your condition make you dependant on others?

I am the kind of person who doesn't like to depend on anybody -- whether financially, physically or mentally. So, it was very tough for me to physically depend on somebody. I soon realised that financial independence could get me much more freedom in life.

So I started thinking how I could earn money. I worked with my sister, who is a fashion designer, and learned a bit about it. I soon started a textile workshop where I employed 10 people. However, the workers took undue advantage of my physical disability leading to losses. Since I wanted to be independent I started moving towards stock market trading. The textile workshop business is now my secondary business.

How did you get into the stock markets?

I realised that if at all I have to succeed in life I would have to do something for which I don't have to depend on anybody. Through a friend of mine I came to know about the stock markets in 2004. It took me almost a year to understand the various nuances of the stock market and it was in 2005 that I actually started trading.

What was your first trading/investment experience like?

My first investment was in blue chip companies like Reliance Industries [Get Quote], Hero Honda, ACC and IDBI. However, the Rs 100,000 that I invested did not earn me any returns. It was my first investment and I did not know when to sell or the right time to sell my stocks. That learning experience helped me to hone my skills in the stock markets.

How much do you make from trading in stocks now?

My turnover for a month is over Rs 3 crore. But my actual investment is only Rs 15 lakhs. I make anywhere between 10 to 15 per cent per of this investment per month. It is like I earn 20 to 30 per cent sometimes and lose 10 per cent at other times. This takes my average monthly return to 10 to 15 per cent every month of my total investment of Rs 15 lakhs.

Could you share your success mantras for our readers?

  • Read all the advice that you get from various business television channels, newspapers, friends who understand the stock markets but be extremely cautious and disciplined when you act on this advice.
  • Never extend your trading bets beyond your means. I speak to my friends; get investment and trading ideas from my brokerages (she is registered for online trading with Reliance Money, Indiabulls [Get Quote] and Kotak Securities).

How would you identify yourself as a stock market player?

I am a short-term trader; I am surely not a long-term investor.

Do you trade intra-day?

Well, if my bets appreciate considerably then I take home my profits on the same day. Otherwise, I wait for my investments to bear at least 7 to 8 per cent returns before I actually sell it.

Intra-day trading, though, is very risky as most traders tend to burn their fingers trying to time the market. And I have lost quite a bit of money trading intra-day in the cash market, believe me.

How much have you deposited with all these brokerage companies?

As I told you earlier, my total deposit with all the three brokers is Rs 15 lakhs. Using this amount I buy Call Options within my overall limits. There is no concept of margin money in options. Whatever money I have earned till now is only through Option trading. You can do risk-less trading in Options using a small amount.

As a safe strategy I never write a Put Option. Put Options are very risky. That way I am a very safe trader. In Puts I can even make 50 per cent a month on my investments; but then I can lose the same amount too. My principle is if I make money I make it; I shouldn't lose money at all.

I usually write a Call Option on the Nifty. I am always long (buying first and then selling at a higher price to make profit) on the markets and whenever the market is too overbought I wait for the markets to cool down.

The last two days turned out to be very good for the stock markets. How much did you make in these two days?

Actually, it is celebration time for me. I made 80 per cent returns today (September 19, the Nifty was up 186 points or 4.09 per cent). Most of the Nifty Calls went up by 80 per cent today. However, I did not invest the entire Rs 15 lakhs because I am sitting on a bit of cash as the markets have run up too fast in the recent past. I invested only 50 per cent of Rs 15 lakhs on which I made an 80 per cent return (Editor's note: That's a cool Rs 600,000; don't rub your eyes in disbelief; you read it right!).

However, there are times when I lose a big amount of money in trading. Such gains happen only once in a lifetime. The losses that I make during the year sort of offsets such gains.

But remember that these things don't happen every other day. I have still not booked my profits. I am still holding on my positions. I plan to sell them after a day or two because I feel that the markets can still go up -- at least for the next two, three days -- based on the strong momentum. I am expecting the Nifty to go up to 4800 at least.

Actually, the target given by one of my brokerage houses is 4900 but I am going to book profits at 4800 levels. Too much greed is also not good, is it?

Moreover, it is the festive season and Diwali is just round the corner. Normally, the markets go up during Diwali. There will be some profit booking (a situation when a trader sells her/his stocks at a profit) tomorrow and the day after that but the general mood is likely to remain bullish till Diwali. I don't expect a market crash or correction till Diwali.

Do you stay with your family?

I stay with my mother and cousin Priya. My father passed away on March 20, 2004. I have a sister and two brothers but they are all married and lead separate lives.

Do you have friends?

Before the accident I had many friends but they all ran away after my accident. They were all false friends. People like this go where there is money, success and happiness. People like these don't chase failures.

After my accident I have a different set of friends. I have a few friends now but they are my true friends. They have been with me through my bad times. They really care for me. I can count Pradeep and Ashish amongst my true friends now.

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