It is not unusual for full-time investors to read through multiple books at a given point of time. For private investor and voracious reader Chaitanya Dalmia, though, one particular book has consumed a good part of his reading time for the past two years. Vedanta Treatise by Swami Parthasarathy first caught Chaitanya’s attention — you guessed it — when he was reading another book, Success vs. Joy by Geet Sethi.
Considering Parthasarathy’s book is only about 340 pages thick, why has Chaitanya taken so long to finish reading it? Hear it from Chaitanya himself, “The beauty of the book is that it makes you contemplate. That is why after every 15 to 20 pages, you tend to reflect and relate it to life, read it again and then try to make sense of the subtle point being driven home.”
For those who have known the 38-year-old for long, that answer also contains the secret to his investment success. Despite handling a multitude of asset classes with his elder brother Abhishek, Chaitanya has never been the type to rush into an investment and is obsessed with not losing capital. He elaborates, “Our investing philosophy is to be opportunistic yet safeguard capital. If there is no opportunity, we will stay in a liquid fund and do nothing, for years if it comes to that. That has happened for six to 12 months, sometimes 18 but not longer.”
He also likes to keep a low profile and has an unassuming air about him. Rahul Saraogi, managing director, Atyant Capital Advisors, has known Chaitanya for about 10 years now and says being low-key is classic Chaitanya. They met through Amitabh Singhi, another common friend and investor, and the friendship has grown since then. Saraogi recalls, “Amitabh told me that he has this friend, who belongs to the Dalmia group. We decided to meet for lunch and, having known some of the other Dalmias, I was expecting someone who was a bit of a high-flier. Chaitanya arrived in a beat-up Honda City. Over the next couple of hours, he spent most of his time listening and laughing and spoke only occasionally.”
This stance of not attracting attention to oneself also spill