It’s 10.30 pm and investment banker Mukund Multani’s smartphone pings with an email from the boss. He looks up from the clear vegetable soup he is eating and focuses on his phone with eyes that have been scanning two computer screens since 10 am.
“He wants me to handle an issue tomorrow morning,” says the 24-year-old. Typically, this means additional homework, getting to the office early and sorting out reams of complex data. But Multani isn’t complaining.
An analyst with one of India’s leading financial services groups, he began as a management trainee three years ago, his first job after he graduated with a finance degree from Fordham University, New York.
“I always knew that this was what I wanted to do,” he says. “When I was seven, my father, a real-estate and stock-market investor, used to encourage me to pick stocks for him. If they made money, I would get a bonus in my monthly allowance.”
Today, the bonuses have grown incrementally and so has the responsibility. Multani’s day usually begins at 7.30 am in the three-bedroom Breach Candy home he shares with his parents.
After a quick bath and, if time permits, a yoga session, he sits down for some quality time with the family over breakfast. He then puts on a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of neatly pressed pants and heads to his car, parked 11 storeys below, to begin his half-hour drive to Nariman Point.
At his desk by 10 am, he is ready to pick up where he left off, usually just a few hours earlier.
“My job is to cut through the banking jargon for our clients and provide them with industry analysis and other advice. I also broker deals between companies, collaborating with lawyers, auditors and other analysts,” he says. “It may sound dull, but I love the work.”
Sometimes a single deal involves up to 60 people and coordination becomes a full-time job in itself.
For most of the day, therefore, he juggles phone calls, meetings and pages of complex data while maintaining total confidentiality such that even the name of the client is not disclosed to anyone outside the immediate team.
Multani’s only break is lunchtime, when he and a few colleagues step out for a bite. With erratic work hours, he sometimes spends all night in the office, especially in the closing stages of a transaction.
“Just recently, while wrapping up a major deal, I stayed at work for an excruciating 30 hours straight,” he says. On good days he is home by 10 pm for a quiet dinner in front of the TV and then bed.
“My friends have given up on me,” he says, laughing. “Sundays are typically the only time I am able to catch up with them and with the world outside work.”
To ensure that his schedule doesn’t take a toll on his health, he takes care to eat right, choosing only vegetarian fare, generally home-cooked, with lots of fruits, soups and juices in his diet.
“I’ve enrolled in a gym too, and I have a personal yoga trainer who comes over every Sunday,” he says. “I’m also interested in organic farming and horse-riding.” Vacations are rare, but every Diwali, Multani takes time off to visit an ashram in Mathura.
“It may sound tough, and many people do burn out after two or three years, but I wake up every morning excited to meet the day,” he says. “The moment I lose that feeling, I’ll know it’s time to rethink my situation.”
(This weekly feature explores the lives of those unseen Mumbaiites essential to your day)