CA Diaries – One Last Attempt

Long post alert! I’ll be dividing this post into parts due to its lengthy nature.

Also, to understand some of it, you will need knowledge about CA course and the marking system. Hope you get a vague idea here:

  • There are 2 groups in CA final. One group comprises of 4 papers of 100 marks each.
  • You need to get 40 marks or more for every paper and 200 (50%) aggregate in each group to clear a group (Or 400 aggregate to clear both).
  • If you get 60 marks for a paper, you get an exemption from writing it for the next 3 attempts.
  • If you fail in one paper, you have to write the entire group again (unless you have scored a 60 for a paper which alone will be exempted.)

Part 1

I am a CA student. Judge me all you want. This is my 7th attempt at my CA finals. Yes! I have failed and I got up every single time. I am writing this for all those CA students who have failed multiple times and haven’t given up and as a result face similar situations as below. Maybe, at the end of my lengthy post, I could help someone feel better. Maybe!

I completed my article-ship in 2014 Feb. I gave my CA Final first attempt in Nov 2013. The pass percentage was 3% then. I remember I had prepared well for my first group and wrote my second group unprepared, due to lack of time. When the results were out, I had similar marks for both the groups. Same marks for the group I studied well and for the group I didn’t study at all. I lost all hopes.

The next two attempts I gave were with no confidence at all. The first attempt had weakened me. The distance, between my first attempt’s 1st group results and 200 pass marks, was vast. Thinking of the distance I had to cover, drained all hopes out of me. I wrote the exams later on, but with neither hope nor confidence. I kept telling myself, ‘No matter how hard I study, I will fail. I will never make it to 200.’

The thing about hitting rock bottom is that the only way is up. Unless, you decide to stay there. For a while, I did not know the way up. I stayed there.

All my friends had jobs, they had travelled places for job purposes and otherwise. Some had married, some had kids. Their facebook timelines were in motion. It was a blur of happy and happening people, while I had come to a standstill. Not that I wasn’t happy for anyone, but the feeling of ‘being left behind’ nagged me. For the past 4-5 years when people asked me what I was doing, the answer always had been ‘CA’. I had even begun to get snide remarks like, ‘You have been saying the same thing for so long’ or ‘Will you ever clear in this lifetime?’

People kept reminding me how old I was and that I had to get a job; that I had to get married. ‘Job or no job, get married!’ they told me.

Others kept asking me how many times I was about to write my exams. They kept asking me what my next plan was; as though I HAD to do something else. Writing exams, again and again, was absurd. There had to be a ‘next’ according to them.

rel status CA fbmemes
Pic courtesy: fbookmemes.blogspot.com

‘Get a job!’

‘Get a job!

‘Get a job!’

‘Maybe I should.’

*****

I decided to go for work. I went for an interview in a multinational firm. To say that one worked there, was the highest honor. I needed a break, I needed to save some money. I needed the job. And I got it. The day of our orientation was the day of our results. I was devoid of hopes as usual. But when the marks were out, it read 193. I had pass marks in all my papers but didn’t have the aggregate of 200. I had missed by 7 marks. I was happy. I was so close. Another attempt will help me clear my first group. That is how it has always been. And then I remembered.

It was my first day at work and I had signed a contract.

I tried studying amidst my hectic work schedule. But I couldn’t. I know people who would study even after grinding 10-12 hours of work. I wasn’t made that way. I reached home by 9 pm and it was all I could do to keep my eyes open, have some food and flop onto my bed, only to be woken up next day for work. My workplace was employee-friendly. Yet, I couldn’t enjoy it. Physically, I worked. But mentally, I kept wondering how I’ll study. I was anxious. I had come so close to 200. But now, time was running low. My contract period would end just before the exams and the time would be too less to prepare. I was getting a panic attack. I wanted out. Every day was a torture for me. I regretted going for work. I felt suffocated, scared and anxious. I suspected that maybe CA wasn’t meant for me, which was why even after getting so close, I had new hurdles to face. After much thought, I quit my job.

I am a very slow learner. I need to work out problems umpteen number of times to really understand it implies. Similarly, I have to read, re-read and connect theory to get the holistic idea. It takes a lot of time for me. But once I understand, I understand it very well. Learning fast only messed up things for me.

It was too late! By the time I quit my job, I didn’t have enough time to prepare well. I didn’t clear during that attempt either. I got lower marks than my previous attempt. Now, I was truly devastated. But I had

By the time I quit my job, I didn’t have enough time to prepare well. I didn’t clear during that attempt either. I got lower marks than my previous attempt. Now, I was truly devastated. But I had learned my lesson. From the job episode, I realised that I would suffer if I took up a job and continued studying at the same time. I decided to give one last attempt, after which, if I didn’t clear, I’ll quit CA and go for a job.

(To be continued…)

PS – If you liked this, you can read more CA related posts from below or from ‘CA’ under the ‘Categories’ heading on the right side of this blog 🙂

Life of A CA Student

CA happens to be one of the toughest and the most complicated courses ever. It is very well known that a CA student sometimes takes ages to clear CA exams, that the subjects are difficult and the criteria for passing are very stringent. What people fail to realize is the tribulations undergone by a CA Student, especially the ones who don’t clear after  multiple attempts.

Long post alert: If you are my friend or relative, my blog has been hacked and someone else wrote this. If you are a CA student, I suppose you could relate to this. A group hug is in order.

WHAT PEOPLE AT HOME THINK I AM DOING

I sit comfortably in my room. No worries, no pains, no work to do. I just have to read a few written words. Anyone in their position wouldn’t understand what it takes, to open books after books full of technical and incomprehensible terminologies and read huge sentences with no punctuation whatsoever (Read ISCA). We have to remember most of it, as it is, if we need some marks. When it is about huge problems that make no sense at all, don’t get me started on them.

While learning theory, I sometimes, use certain words as milestones, to remember sentences. Sometimes, I create stories, sometimes I use mnemonics. Ask any CA student about ISCA and they’ll tell you it is a herculean task. By the time, I am halfway through the answer, I am called. For some work, or I am told something that isn’t urgent at all, I have to buy things or I have to do something else. No exaggeration, I am called at least half a dozen times in two hours. Regaining focus multiple times and getting in sync with the subject becomes very difficult.

After repeated disturbances, I feel defeated on most of the days and I stop studying for the rest of the day. Sometimes, I rant like this. Sometimes, when I recover from this, I pick up my books only to be called again.

And they say, she has been studying all day, while I have been trying to regain my focus half the time.

WHAT MY NON CA FRIENDS THINK I AM DOING

“Hey! What are you upto?”

“Studying!”

“Oh! You are a padipist (slang for a nerd) always with books.”

They have blamed me many times for not attending functions, or for attending functions with books (after classes), for reaching late and so on. All they can see is no contact or no activity from my side most of the times.

thanks for the share @mlubinsky! pretty sure my graduate nurses (@mriverst) and I are tired of saying this. 8 more months.:

Some of them ask me in a mock tone, “Isn’t it over yet? It has been so long!”. I smile though my heart sinks. I believe this is a question one should never ask a CA student. We have been pursuing this for years and we are very well aware, more than anyone else, that it has been long. We don’t even know if we will reach the shore and if we don’t, god forbid, a major part of our youth go wasted with no alternate qualification.

But No! Sympathy isn’t what we look for. We may feel dejected at times, but we are strong knowing that failure is okay. Failure in CA, we wear it like the badge of honor as Cersei Lannister puts it. We are soldiers who fight no matter what. Soldiers don’t need sympathy. They need encouragement.

They think I am the most studious person in this century. The nerd of the group. :/ 😮

WHAT MY RELATIVES THINK I AM DOING

It has always been easy for me to convince my friends. But relatives? Phew!

While my family has been to many places during the last few years, I never accompanied them due to my exams. Attending functions, going for trips etc reduced over the years because of the constant nagging feeling in the back of my head that kept reminding me that I had to study.

  • The Complaining Relatives

They keep inviting us to visit their homes outside Kerala. When I say I don’t accompany my parents on any trip, it is implied that I really can’t spare a week to stay with relatives too. I cannot enjoy, knowing that I have exams coming. More often, I am asked to take my books with me. Why would anyone go on a trip & study there? Besides, have you seen a CA student’s room? It is like a book store with books old & new, small & big, we have amendments for every attempt and sometimes, we study one subject using as many as three to four books. Carrying all of them isn’t practical.

Some relatives call me up these days only to express their bitter feelings. They tell me that I’m using CA as an excuse to not visit them, that they are fed up of listening to the same excuse for years (As though I have been enjoying it). When I tell them I have classes, they ask me why can’t I go visit them after classes. They do not understand when I say I have only one month left and that itself isn’t sufficient for my preparation.

 

  • The Relatives Providing Advisory Services

Then comes the relatives who advice me to work. They ask me to stop writing and start working. They call up my mother & grandmother and keep pressurizing, forcing them to stop me from continuing my studies. They do not realize how I feel about the 6 years I have invested for this course. They do not know that I feel hopeful once again. They do not want to know what I want or what I feel.

  • The Relatives Who Are Worried About My ‘Future’

Future = Marriage

“This guy is 32 years old. Superb guy.”

“She can study after marriage.”

“They want a CA girl”

“They have no demands. They prefer a CA girl who can take care of the firm.” (Am I supposed to marry the firm?)

“He’ll take her to You Yes Yay!” (Nay!)

“She cleared inter, she’ll get awesome job. She should marry.”

“Marriage.”

I'M TRYING TO STUDY GO AWAY!!!! - When you finally hit that sweet spot where your brain actually starts working...:

“Marry!”

“Twenty – odd years old? Marry ASAP!”

“Send me the Jathakam!”

“Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, Africa, London, You Yes YAY!”

The entire world has figured out my life for me.

WHAT I ACTUALLY DO

Make up my mind to study, get called, make up my mind to study, get the door bell, make up my mind to study, listening to relatives’ abuses, get dejected, waste the day, make up my mind to study, resist the temptation to attend a function, study, get called, make up my mind… phew!

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A CA student’s challenge isn’t the exams alone. It is the entire society. It is the ignorance about the course that prevails around them. CA not only tests our knowledge. It tests our patience too.

CA STUDENTS AFTER EXAMS

The only ones who will understand this write up of mine and every word here are the CA students themselves. We are unique and we are proud of that.

Wishing all my fellow CA students all the best for the battle in May. 🙂

Read my other CA Related posts here:

  1. Even CA could be funny at times – I
  2. Another CA Post
  3. From the diary of a dishevelled CA student
  4. The end of another phase

Image source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6

Just Before I Quit

100 Happy Days – Day 80

Happiness is a Ray of Hope – Clearing a group of CA Finals after many attempts.

There were no display of emotions.

No laughter or pirouettes

No screams or exclamation of joy.

A friend asked me, ‘Aren’t you updating this on Facebook?’

‘My happiness is also someone else’s sorrow’, I said

‘I have experienced both

and I resolved not to update this on Facebook’

I sat for a couple of hours

staring at the screen before me.

Unsure of whether I should

Be rejoicing or doubting myself.

For at that moment when I decided to quit,

Time pressed something into my hands.

A Result that ended with the word ‘PASS’.


You really cannot call this a poem. This is just my feelings written in a pattern. Just a write up. This blog is my second home, a friend, a diary or you could call it a place where I keep a part of my soul. This day had to go in here. For, I had made all preparations to quit CA after writing the Finals for the fifth time when I was told that I cleared first group.

30105-thank-god-im-not-where-i-used-to-be

The journey isn’t over. But, for the first time in a couple of years I feel as though I might be able to crack this. The ray of hope is what I needed. 🙂

Now, the next half of the battle BEGINS!

Image courtesy: Here

Day 1 – A Trip to The Beach

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice

100 Happy Days – Day 1

End of exams and an evening at the beach.

My exams got over yesterday. Well, CA Finals are feared for a reason. Hence, to vent out all the pent up feelings, we went on a trip to the beach near Vypin, Kochi.

image

The moment when the fire, the water, the earth, the space and the air merged with the soul.

Hope you like the snap. Though it looks simple, I like how all the five elements have been depicted here alongwith the blissful self. 🙂

Love,
Rangelz

I am undertaking the #100HappyDays challenge. This is the Day 1 of the challenge.

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The Vicious Garland

With time, I see the chains.
With every passing day, they become more visible,
heavier and stronger.
I see more chains crawling up my legs,
creeping through my fingers and holding me in place.
I wonder how I never saw it.
It was so clear,
yet I mistook them to be
a garland made of flowers.

I loved to see those tags hanging around the neck of all the proud officials working for impressive companies. They seemed like garlands – tickets for prosperity. I visualized myself there. I dreamt of working (I like working, really!), earning, saving and of course spending. I thought of the smile on the faces of my family and friends and smiled. Hardly did I know that my smiles would be numbered.

One fine day, unexpectedly, my dreams came true.

I adorned my neck with the garland they gave me. I looked at my reflection and my chest swelled with pride. I was another proud official and when asked where I worked, I said the name with pride. 

They showed me an impressive and sophisticated room and a place for myself. They gave me all that I would need. They gave me gifts, mementos, hopes and painted beautiful pictures. They said that I could go whenever I wanted, approach them if I needed anything. They said I was ‘free’ and garlanded me.

I had barely walked around with my garland for a few hours and then, I slowly felt the weight setting in. At first, I did not bother, but soon saw the colours fading. It did not take me long to see those chains forming and more chains crawling up. They were up until my knees and had me immobilised in no time. I tried running, I tried walking and tried quitting with no luck. They had my freedom locked up and dangled the keys up and beyond my reach.

My Vicioussss...
My Vicioussss…

They were watching me all the while they said I was ‘free’. They had walked me into a spacious room, locked it and synced the entrance with ‘the garland’ while they said I was ‘free’. It wasn’t about what they said. It was about what I understood. It took me  a while to realize that ‘freedom’ was a word perceived in a million different ways.

Now as I sit here, bound by umpteen chains, I do not regret my decision. If not for this experience, I would have looked longingly at the so called garlands. I do not regret my decision for I do not fear deadlines anymore. I hear the deadline whooshing by, yet here I am doing what I love, banging vigorously at the keyboard, my eyes fixed on my blog, the love of my life.

As I tell and retell this story, I know that these shackles of bondage cannot hold me still. No companies can own my freedom for my blood is fresh, my body is strong and my heart is young. I’m crawling towards the exit, towards my freedom which is not far away.

With Love, A corporate slave aka proud official!

I always knew that I wasn’t built for a corporate life. I am definitely a survivor and could adapt to any kind of surroundings. If I fall, I’m confident that I’ll fall on all fours! This internship I got, is something that 90% of the individuals aspire for. But for me, it was a lesson. The number of zeroes in my salary does not matter. Out of the 24 hours in a day, I need some time to do what I love. That is my freedom. How can one be ‘free’ if one cannot do what she wants?

If this would help you, this is what I do. The question I ask – ‘Am I doing what I like at least for an hour every day ( or a day every week)?’
I will keep trying until I say a ‘Yes’ to this question. Did you ask yourself this question? What do think? 🙂

‘And’ Is Given For A Reason; Use It.

Ask me what my ambition is and I can’t pick just one. THIS was my first post on this blog. I just read it today and realized that 4 years back, I believed that none of my ambitions would come true. The tone of my post clearly says that. But today, my mindset is entirely different. I am determined to keep an ambition-list and tick them off one by one. Someday! Soon.

It is difficult for a person with so many interests to limit themselves. It is more difficult for us to find time for all of them. But I manage. There is no hurry. There are no deadlines. I do whatever I feel like doing, whenever I feel like doing them. I follow my heart. 🙂

To start with, I love singing. I have been taking music lessons since I was 4 years old. But it kept breaking off due to my teachers or because of my exams. I still manage to try & keep up my voice though it happens very rarely.

This is the ME I'm talking about :P
This is the ME I’m talking about 😛

I Love to write, which is why I am maintaining this blog. I used to contribute around 8-10 articles for my class magazines ranging from poems to stories to drawings. I had a book where I used to write down all my poems. Sadly, the books used to disappear. Once I become an author, I hope the books would disappear from the stalls too! 😛

Drawing is another area that I find happiness in. Specially, pencil sketching. I am not very good at it. But not bad either. I know I can excel in it if I get some training. During my college days I used to make some good sketches. But now, I don’t really look in that direction. But mind you, I don’t intend to stop. 😉

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My attempt at sketching. I know it has many flaws.

 

Teaching was one among the n number of ambitions I had. My first students were – Kili, Kilimanju, Manju, Tikku, Kilitikku – my dolls. There were a dozen others for whom I had given my classmates’ names. 😛 Right now, my career is going in a very different direction. But once I get settled, I will go into teaching. We have organizations that teach children in orphanages. I will join them and follow my ambition.

Modelling is something I still want to pursue. I don’t want to become a well known model. But I’d love to be the model for a boutique or a clothing brand. As I was harboring this idea, a couple of friends decided to start their own clothing brand and asked me to join for the photoshoot. I am glad that there is something I craved for so badly and finally did! 😀

I have always wanted to do fashion designing, a course in Sanskrit, MSW & journalism. I have looked up some institutes from where I can do correspondence courses for the same. All I need is to clear CA, get a job and pursue these courses.

I am sure many of you must be thinking that the list is a bit too much. Really! I am not making this up. I want to learn and pursue every bit of things I have mentioned here. I will definitely try. After all, there is nothing to lose. There are no ‘Or’s in our lives. Only ‘And’s. I realized that when I was asked to go for the photoshoot. And by then I had made up my mind about my multiple degrees. 😀 Because, the word ‘And’ exists for a reason.

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus

I tag Sajith, Maniparna, Teny, Parul, Shruti and Anoop to blog on the topic. Click HERE to know more about it. And don’t forget to acknowledge me in your posts. Thank you 🙂

Little Things and Unexpected Opportunities

“Look at the two of you! Yikes!!! Can you at least be a bit presentable?”, my aunt chided my brother, Vinay and my cousin, Rohit.

“This is the new fashion, Aunty!”, Vinay said. I was laughing away amused listening to the conversations. It was always like this. Whenever any of us got scolded, others sat watching the show happily! That day, it was my turn.

“These days, even if you walk out of the house naked, you’ll end up saying it is fashion.”

“Amma, we are not running naked. it’s No shave November. And we just decided not to shave for a while. That is it. Just relax!”, Rohit spoke up lazily.

“Who knows about the future? You’re capable of doing anything. Look at her. She wears an anklet on one leg and says it is fashion.”, she said pointing at me.

“When you’re scolding them, why pick on me? Do one thing at a time.” I sulked, got up and walked away as my brothers smirked at me.

They had taken up the No shave November challenge and as usual, they were sporting ridiculously bushy beard, with the tips of their mustache pointed upwards. I am not for or against them sporting a beard. But the elders had quite a lot to say on the topic. They kept pouring out their wisdom and my brothers kept letting the wisdom flow into a ear & out through the other. Yeah! Yeah! They are my brothers. 😉 😛

Rohit was full on into modelling in Bangalore. He had come down to Kochi for a project as well as for the annual trip to Sabarmila temple. His looks changed overnight, or sometimes on a weekly or monthly basis depending on his projects. And so, he had become immune to such comments.

“I love what I do. And no matter what they say, they can’t stop me from doing my work.”, he always said.

Vinay, was a Chartered Accountant. He had joined a mediocre audit firm. One of the partners of the firm had asked Varun why he wasn’t clean shaven. Varun informed him that he would be going to Sabarimala and requested him to be excused until the Vrath got over.

Vinay was the kind of person who almost always was well dressed. Now and then, he did get a bit carefree but when someone pointed out anything, he tried to make things perfect. But whenever Rohit joined him, Vinay just transformed from that good guy to… how do I put it? Himself? That is what I have felt. Vinay was like Rohit, but cared too much about what others had to say. His attitude wasn’t “Oh what would others say?”. It was “They are elders, they care for me and so I have to listen to them.”

I always told him that he was better off when he was himself. But some people cannot change so fast you see. It was one such instance that gave him the jackpot.

That day he was in a hurry. We were seated at the table for breakfast. He told about some new client that their firm might get and that he had some papers to prepare for the same. Knowing about CA firms, I got curious.
“If we could impress them, we might get their work.”, he said as he poured some chutney.

“Is that the Vietnam based company you were talking about?”

“Yes. Their turnover is close too 400 crores. If we get the client, they would be the biggest one.”

“Wow! Will you be going for the meeting?”

“I’m not sure! Mohan Sir asked me to join him. But on Friday, he said the same thing to John. So it might be him. Now let me run.”, he got up from the dining table and washed his hands.

He ran to his room, picked his bag and dashed out.

“Amma, I’m leaving!”

The moment he was out of the door it hit me. I ran after him and as I reached the door, he came running back,

“I forgot my keys!” and WHAM! Aaaargh!

“Why on earth are you running?”, he asked.

“Your beard. Go shave!”

“I’m going to the temple next week. I can’t.”

“Vinay, what if you’re going to the meeting?”

“I’m not. And even if I am, it wouldn’t make a difference. Mohan Sir will do all the talking.”

Listen to me. Since sir has asked you to be prepared, do that. If you don’t go, it is alright. But what if you have to? You must be presentable. You can’t risk anything. For them, you are not Vinay – the pilgrim. You are your firm. They will rate your firm through your looks.”

Those words did the job. He looked at me unsure, looked at the watch and then, rushed inside, shaved, since his shirt got wet, changed it and left.

***2 Hours later***

“Little sis, you are awesome! And I am scared. I need more advice.”

My phone rang and I had answered it. Vinay was all excited and paranoid. Apparently, Mohan Sir had another unavoidable engagement. They decided to send John. But due to his unkempt looks, unshaven face and improper dressing, the partners were hesitant to send them. Vinay not only had to go, but also had to present their part in the meeting. I encouraged him and asked him to do his best. Needless to say, my Big B nailed it! 😀

Not only that, for all the important meetings henceforth, they sent him. Not only did he bring jackpots to the firm but soon he also became a partner there. His well groomed look ensured that he struck gold on an opportunity given to him. And of course! The presence of a thoughtful and sweet sister like me 🙂

This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette. I tag Sajith, Parul, Sarita, Sunita, Aashish, Maniparna and Reema to take up teh #WillYouShave activity. Happy writing guys! 🙂

Articleship diaries

Two weeks back, on a tuesday evening I bid farewell to my articleship firm. 3 years & 49 days was indeed a roller-coaster ride there. For the last 6 months I was disturbed by the thought that I would soon leave the firm. My allegiance lie not with the work as all my colleagues would know, but it lies with the people & the atmosphere there. 😛 I kept wondering what I would tell them on my last day. Each time I thought of it, I made mental notes as to what I’ll tell them as I left.
For the last one year, I kept telling them on a lighter note, ‘On my send off, you all have to prepare a dance, song, drama & a special crying item where you all will cry asking me not to leave’. 😛 The day arrived. I tried to complete my work & by the time it was evening, my head began to ache.
At the usual send off time, friends who had gone for out audits came to office. The send-off foodies were ready & before I knew, I was asked to cut the cake, It had suddenly begun, someone smeared icing on my face, I was asked to sing, I sang & I was invited to ‘The Hot seat.’
The hot seat is where all the outgoing articles were made to sit & badgered with questions. That was the time when they were given the undivided attention of all the articles there. That was when I had to speak. I sat there and the questions began. As I sat there, approx 25 pairs of eyes looked back at me. That was when the reality hit me. I hadn’t accepted the fact that I was leaving. I kept cracking jokes about leaving, trying to convince me that I’d leave soon. But I had not come to terms with the reality.
Amidst all those questions, San asked me, ‘Can you say what you like in each one of us?’ I had nothing to say. I liked each & everyone there for certain reasons. But at that point of time I had gone blank. My brains had shut down. My mental notes had vanished. All that I thought I would say during the last few months, I had completely forgotten.
Soa  asked me ‘Rate these activities in the order of your preference – Singing, writing, dancing, drawing’. A simple question that I couldn’t answer. I gave a vague reply & escaped. They asked me if I had anything to tell them. I said nothing I wanted to. But that night I decided I’ll tell them all that I intended to say sometime soon. So here it is:

 

Let me answer your questions:
1. To say what I like in each of you, I’ll have to write it separately. So I think that could wait. I don’t intend to stop writing about my articleship in near future. Because I have so many memories in there. I’ll write them all.
2. In my order of preference – Writing, dancing, drawing & singing are on the same level.
3. I do have somethings to tell you all & here it goes

I have been friends with most of you. We have witnessed some of the best days as well as the worst times together. Many of you have seen me at my best & my worst. Sometimes you changed, sometimes I changed. Sometimes we fought like it was the end of our friendship but soon we resolved it. Sometimes I hated you, sometimes you hated me but at the end, the ice melted. Sometimes I never got what i expected, sometimes I never gave you what you expected. The day I left, I had no permanent enemies, I had no complains but one, some of them who I expected would come for my send off, didn’t turn up. It hurt me so much. Anyway, to all those with whom I shared smiles, tears & audits, to all those who intend to stay or leave with time, to all those who crossed my path there, Thank you for the bunch of memories. 🙂

During the last 3 years many changes happened in many of our lives. Some were revealed, some kept secret. Clashes happened, groups were formed, mistakes were made & we blamed each other, but at the end of the year, somehow we all bonded together again. Our strength & happiness revolved around just one element – Unity. Whatever may happen, make sure you don’t ruin the unity. Make sure there are no groups formed. School groups, institute groups, room groups, audit groups should all disintegrate & merge into one office team. Groups create barriers. They brew secrets. People who aren’t a part of your group feel uncomfortable to come amidst you. It is my humble request to all, if you’re a part of a group, loosen the bond & let everyone join your group. Let the entire crew row the boat in one direction.

I believe during the last few years, I did apologise each time I hurt someone. Sometimes I didn’t apologise but told you the reason why I didn’t. I honestly didn’t feel I was wrong. But now, a note to those whom I hurt, I never knew that I did & who either hold grudges still or who have forgotten & forgiven, whatever the mistake was, I’m sorry. It must have been unintentional.

Another note to those at whose cost I cracked jokes. Damn! You guys were hilarious! How could I stop myself from sharing something that was so funny. I really can’t apologise to you because I intend to retell those jokes everytime I see you. Thank you for making us laugh. Specially Layana, Jennifer, Tojo, Amal, Afsal etc. You people made those tea times lively.

A special note to BB & the whatsapp team at office! Thanks for making me famous through that edited pic ;). I was overwhelmed to see most of my recent contacts having that yellow profile pic. Now I believe half the world population (Binu sir’s whatsapp contacts constituting 90%) 😛 knows me, a handful thought something awful had happened to me, a few thought I were a celebrity & I thought you guys were awesome! I felt loved & pampered. It really brought tears to my eyes. I wasn’t ‘Reddy’ for any of those 😉

Thanks for all the wonderful times. I had fun practising dance, music, skit, mad ads, badminton, organising trips, programmes & parties. I enjoyed playing pranks and being subject to your pranks. Never stop fighting over ‘audit with food claims’, fighting over office laptops, fighting over chairs, making evening plans for chaats, ice creams & kulukkis, plans for movies, trips & tours, lunch meetings during out-audits, fighting over food, forcing to give treats, joining in gossips, making up stories, finding second meanings in almost everything & playing pranks. Let the spirit burn. Love you guys!! 😉 😛

PS – I wasn’t kidding when I requested that we meet twice a year. I don’t know how many of you took it seriously. I’m waiting to find out by 18th Feb 2015. 🙂

The end of another phase

Have you ever felt that happy things end very soon? Having thoroughly enjoyed my College life for 3 wonderful years let me tell you this. This was not what I had expected when I walked into the immaculately furnished CA firm. It had a pleasant & a workable atmosphere. ‘A typical office. Now I have to behave lika a professional.’ These were the thoughts I had then. It was only later that I understood who wrong I had been.

I was introduced to a bunch of articled assistants/staff whose names I couldn’t remember at all & I feared I’d never learn them all in the next 3 years. For the next 6 months approx, the work allotted to me was such that, I hadn’t spoken to more than two-thirds of the people there. I always had out-audits & so I knew only the ones who had come with me. I thought, ‘This is the end of all fun & frolic. Life has taken a damned serious turn. Wish these 3 years would get over soon.’

With time, things changed. The office that concentrated only on work, began participating in programmes. The year which was marked by Individual tax season, Company tax season, MCA season, KVAT season etc, now was marked by footbal tournament, cricket tournament, Indoor games, Encore, Ekah, Onam, Christmas etc with birthday & send off treats in between. Every month, we had a reason to celebrate. We won, we celebrated. We lost, we grieved, we celebrated.

We were a crazy lot. Each day began by planning pranks. We had our own bunch of scapegoats. We had our own team of pranksters. We had our own language. No one understood what we spoke, not even us. But the message was conveyed. Working in an audit firm, we never fought for out audits that gave good exposure. We fought for out audits near which we had good restaurants. Our serious fights were solved within a day or two. But we held grudges against those who stole our chocolates. We fought like minions 😀 when it came to food.

We never had any groups formed in an office of about 40 articles. All of us formed one group irrespective of place or gender.  Ofcourse, there were some loose ends here & there who hardly blended in. But ultimately at some point or the other, we were all one single unit. It always amazed me as to how there were no groups formed. But all the same I was happy. We did have silly fights & misunderstandings, but no permanent grudges held. After a while, everything would be forgotten. Our Sirs doubted our friendship many times. They were annoyed by the noise & lack of professionalism. New rule came up that girls should occupy one half of the office & boys, the other half. What they didn’t notice was all of us were simply behaving in the same manner with everyone. There were no pretences. You just had to put any two of us together at work & we simply gelled in.

World’s best specimens were in our office. We have named them too. English motta, chullikambu, aarogya keralam, kuruttu panni, kaduku, Abhaas R Singh Khan, Kindi, Kokkapuzhu, Achaar manager & many more. All were cartoon characters in a single story. 😀

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Now, after 3 years, when just 2 days are remaining for my send off, I realise that I really don’t want to leave. It’s not because of the work or the atmosphere. It Is because of the friends I have got there. During the last week, many of my friends asked me, when I would be leaving. Beaming, I said the date. Some of them asked, ‘You are very happy to leave right?’. That is how it looks from the outside, but after my exams got over, my only prayer was that these 3 months should go slowly. I really did not want to leave.

Once I leave, few of them in my office would miss me for a while & soon get back to their routine, enjoying the company, pretending to do work, and being the naughty pranksters they always were. But I would be stuck somewhere with a bunch of memories, willing those days to come back.  Many places in Cochin would remind me of our times together. I know I will be miserable for a long while. And then after few years, our contacts would dwindle down & god knows who all will be in touch with me & who all I will be in touch with.

At this point of time, I wish we had a pensieve, we could draw out are memories using a wand and watch them whenever we wanted. To those who didn’t understand what I wrote now, please ask a Harry Potter fan what it is. I badly wish the pensieve was real. One thing is sure though, this would be another phase of my life I would hold close to my heart. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy, I am leaving with my hands full of gifts – Of friendship & Love.  A post wouldn’t suffice to describe these 3 years. A book could be written – A really amusing one. 🙂

From the diary of a dishevelled CA student.

Look at you! Yes you! With spectacles which you never had until 2 years ago and the tan that has doubled over the period. Your calender has got only financial year and previous year consisting of interim, final & concurrent audits. The only festivals you celebrate are, the end of individual tax season, company tax season, KVAT etc. You have almost forgotten your friends’ & family’s birthdays and depend facebook for the same, while you remember the last day for remitting TDS, Service tax, VAT, ESI, EPF etc. :/

You who loved to roam around the city, wish or rather crave to spend some time home. You cannot say ‘Yes’ to a function invitation, be it after a week or a year, be it at night or the weekends. Because, who knows, you might get an audit just the day before the function or a class might get scheduled. Your friends call for a tour, your relatives ask you to visit & the only dates available in your diary are ‘during study holidays’ or ‘after articleship’. Ultimately, even if you get a long leave, you are on all fours counting your ‘leave credit.’ Kodumai saaar!

At some point of time in a CA student’s life, we reach a stage where it all gets too much. I mean really too much! Just few minutes ago, I felt like I am about to burst with all the burdens & so I grabbed my pen & scrapbook and began scribbling this stuff. Let us take this schedule for instance;

Mon – Fri
7am -9am: Class 1
9.30am to whenever (normally 5pm): Office

Sat
7am-9am: Class 2
10am -5pm: Class 3

Sun
7am-9am: Class 4
2pm-5pm: Class 2

This is just the case of someone who postponed attending classes till the end (myself :P). Else it isn’t so bad. But still, simply thinking about this schedule gives me a headache. I feel like I am in the middle of a sea. Having covered half the distance I am tired & worn off there. Either way, (forward or backward) I have the same distance left.

Think of it. We have 3 choices;

a)      Go back – Crazy? You can as well move forward, cover the same distance and reach the destination.

b)      Go forward – Your reward awaits there (obviously)

c)       Sink – Someone who has got the guts to choose this profession can’t even think of sinking in his wildest of dreams.

d)      Get help from a ship/boat that passes by – Literally means switching your profession halfway through coward!

So move on with your terrors. There isn’t anything wrong in freaking out at times. Instead of worrying, try finding out what your stress-busters are. I’ll give you some of mine for a start. I find these helpful;

a)      I simply write what I feel. Literally scribble on some book. It lets me spill my thoughts on a piece of paper & clear my head.

b)      Take a shower (It could be the umpteenth time. But still.) It cools me down.

c)       Take a walk, go to the terrace or call up my friends.

d)      Sleeeeeeeeeeeep. What is the big use of studying if nothings stays in your head?

e)      Create a drama! 😛 The only ingredient in this recipe is your closestest friend.

‘What the hell where you doing when I joined this course!? You and I knew this was how it was going to be. You could have stopped me! But you pushed me into this & you took another course!? Shame on you! I am not a person who should get wasted in classrooms and among academic books. You know that! Now better get me out of here you moron! I am in trouble damn it! Help! 😦
Find him/her, find some stupid, funny, reason-less reason & create a drama. I assure you this will make you feel better. Disclaimer: If your reasons get serious, you’re gonna get screwed up dude!
Go animated, expressive & dramatic at times. Simply let go. These are just few of my home remedies. You can find yours when you get messed up the next time. Hope you get lucky!

Tadaaa! I feel much better now that I have scribbled down so much! 😉

So, it’s rangelz signing off for now.
Bye!

Life is crazy

What would happen if you had a series of amazing events in a row? It would sound like fiction. The first fiction that happened yesterday was me winning a couple of ‘sports’ competitions. Every time I think of that I blink and laugh within. Me! And Sports!? 😀 At school, I was the stray member running in the opposite direction of basketball or Volleyball or whatever. I was the easy bait for the kho-kho chasers and my knees were ready to buckle at the sight of a dodge ball. The very same me, after witnessing a funny stream of events and a bit of effort, came second in something. This has still not registered in my mind. Meanwhile, something interesting happened. My partner Soa and myself were getting prepared for a game of carroms when our opponents asked our names. One of them showed a sign of recognition and asked me, ‘Ranju?’ I smiled quizzically, ‘Yes’ ‘Your blog!?’ A bigger smile (Did I leave my pic in my blog? How did she just relate the name?) ‘Yes’ She extended her hand and introduced herself. I couldn’t place her anywhere. Then she said ‘Accrossmylife‘ A sudden recognition dawned on my face ‘Oh!’ and I shook hands with her. A fellow blogger! On a random day, in a random event, meeting a random blogging friend whom I never saw or spoke to, it wasn’t something that happened often! And so our meeting began at a competition and had a friendly game. My partner played sitting on top of three chairs. And we parted saying I would write about the game and name it ‘Soa and her three chairs’ 😛 After immense support and encouragement from our friends, after a thoroughly enjoyable day, we returned home dead tired and happy. It was a memorable day! But it didn’t end there. Today, our CS results were out. What could someone who studied exactly half the portion and wrote her own stories expect? But the result was astonishing! Again I laugh within, thinking of the days I wrote those papers. I wrote whatever I felt like and walked out after my peak gassing point. On a serious note, that definitely is the constant invisible hand that helps me always. That is the only explanation I have. Once I got home, I got a call from one of my close buddies. Close, but we rarely kept contact. And then an unexpected turn of events again. Discussing what she said here, would take another para or two, so let it be. She just threw a proposal at my face, took time to explain and gave me time and space to decide. It was the rare, well thought and handpicked proposal that only close family or friends normally give. Most importantly, it was a proposal which would have created different reactions in different people. Yet, she was ready to face anything from me and placed it before me. I just respect her and love her for that. A gesture just strengthened a bond. After these crazy two days, I couldn’t help but think of all the unrelated craziness around me. Life couldn’t me more dynamic, could it? 😉

Another CA post

I can’t help it. Somehow I keep getting back to this topic. But CA is one intriguing profession that keeps astounding me every now and then. Now that I am in the last phase of my article-ship life, It just made me wonder how the most insignificant things have become such an important part of our life.

It all began with the universal  Alt+Tab which helps us juggle umpteen numbers of windows; excel sheets, tally, word etc & any other windows for recreational purposes. Though the applicability isn’t restricted to CA students, it definitely is one of the handiest tips. It is the first thing we learn in our articleship.

Here are some of them;

  1. Claim
  2. Leave credit
  3. Excel sheet & colors
  4. May and November

Let me explain;

1.    Claim: Basically, the food claim. A very very very important part, it is the basis of our very existence. It is how we rate the audits :P.

5 stars for the audits with claim.

X1: Bro! Sir is calling you.

X2: Any idea why?

X1: He is sending you to @#$ Pvt Ltd for audit.

X2: (The most important question) Do they have claim?

The question is asked with all eagerness and twinkling eyes hoping a thousand times that the answer will be yes.

X1 keeps his hand on X2’s shoulder in an attempt to console and soothe him, unable to look him in the eye; he looks down and tells that fateful answer.

X1:   No bro!

NO!!! The two letters resonate in X2’s head and a thousand Shehnais play in the background indicating the death of hope that was surging just a while ago. He clutches his heart and just one word escapes him,

Ohh!

And with that he walks to the cabin knowing that his fate has been decided for about 1 month or so.

I know dear people! It is very tragic.

2.   Leave credit: What do I say about this? This is all about accumulating our leave credit. We work hard, day in and day out. Leave credit is like money, no! It is all the more valuable. We count every bit of our minutes and hours we worked overtime using calculators and -like little birds that make nests- we add it up to our existing credit. If we take one leave, we aspire to get two days of leave credit/overtime and ultimately when the D day is about to dawn (Exams), we utilise all those days at a stretch for preparing for our exams.

There is this funny but true saying ‘Humans are those fools who during the first half of their life, lose health to gain wealth and later use the wealth to regain health.’

It is the same here, ‘CA students are those hardworking people who utilise 3 years (day and night) of articleship to earn leave credit and utilise the leave credit to study for exams during the last minute, which we could have done systematically during articleship. (I am not preaching, coz I am no exception) 😛

3.   Excel sheet & colours

If you are next to a CA student, check if he has an excel sheet open before him.
If yes, look at the excel sheet.
If the excel sheet is filled with myriad wild senseless colours, don’t mistake that he is jobless and playing with colours.
Move aside immediately. Coz it shows the state of his mind. Wild and calculating, meaningless and in search of a solution and mad!
Let me explain the intricacies. Personally, I decide with 2 colours. 1 for yes, another for No. Yes meaning it is alright, No meaning, it is not. But then I reach a stage where I need to refer with the accountant and a 3rd colour manifests. Meanwhile, I have another one about which I need to consult a senior or sir and there is another colour.
A grave, material problem – a darker colour.
A perfectly alright, no need to check again stuff-a lighter and happy colour.
So on and so forth…

Capture

I look at the whole worksheet and am clueless! The whole day’s work has ultimately become utter waste! My brain is all eaten up, I close for the day and start fresh again tomorrow on a white worksheet. 😀

4.     May and November

It sends the chill down the CA students’ spine. The month of exams when all of us are stuffed with knowledge, ready to be puked in the exam hall. On the day of exam, midst all the anxiety, fear, tension and sleeplessness, the mind takes census of which of your friends you will be meeting today in the exam hall and the excitement creeps in.

Those are not just the days of examination. They are also days of meeting old friends after a long gap. Once the exam gets over, all walk out of the exam hall prepared to meet friends and shriek with excitement knowing that many of their old friends and rivals haven’t cleared the exams. And it isn’t taken as an offence when your friend smiles at the fact that you failed the last time. 😛 That’s us!
Sometimes we even make weird promises of meeting during the next exams.
On the last day of Nov exams,

“How was your exam?”

“I will be coming back, next May. Sure!”

“Wow! That’s great! See you then” 😀 😛

The Spirit of Onam

‘The first prize goes to… ‘

My heart was beating fast. If it wasn’t us… I couldn’t think of what would happen. The efforts taken – day and night, every working day and holiday would all be in vain.

The one who was announcing the prize was looking at the second pookalam & saying the words. Like she wanted to see it one last time before announcing the prize. Like it was the one that deserved the prize.

‘goes to… ‘

Ohh it’s gone. The prize is not for us…

‘Pookalam number three!!!’

It took a second for me to register the fact that we! We had got the first prize. For, there were indications which said we wouldn’t. Besides, we werent satisfied with our performance. Two rows of students got up, showered handful of flowers around , cheered, screamed, jumped, shook hands, threw up anything and everything they could get their hands on.

‘I request the team leaders to come and collect the trophy.’

Few of us went & collected the prize & then it was celebration.

The one line we craved for, ‘The first prize goes to…’, the moment when the prize was collected, it was all too quick. But the efforts taken by the whole team was remarkable. Strategy, hardwork & teamwork, has always led to amazing results.

There were five pookalams totally. Each one of them was beautiful in their own way and I know each of the teams have their own stories of hard work & perseverance. So do we;

Strategies are never meant to be discussed. 😉

Hard work & Teamwork. There were many who volunteered to take up each work, many who accepted the work they were allotted. Many who gave their ideas, suggestions & corrections required. To start with, the design. We had expert opinions on it. Our ex-seniors in spite of their tight schedule took time to help us out. The flowers were arranged & the responsibility for it was taken by one. He was out day & night giving informations on it. There were two who managed the overall arrangements, making sure everything was fine & in place. There was our accounts & measurement section too. He would have been bugged up of me. The changes I kept bringing in… 😀

A whole set of people stayed overnight for taking care of cutting the flowers, two of us carried on with the strategies (unspeakable)  ;), there was one in charge of arranging the side attachments to pookalam & many who contributed for that.

The whole day we had a team ever ready to supply us with the unending flow of flowers – beautifully cut according to our requirements, with patience. If not for them, none of this would have worked. Last year and this year, we won the first and I doubt we would have got that, if they weren’t there. A set of flowers were even sent back to be cut into smaller pieces & without hesitation or a word to blame, in seconds they gave us what we had asked for.

This year we faced additional challenges due to lack of time. The designs were changed, decisions were made in seconds & the team was working along another direction which was unanticipated.

The flexibility was charming.  Like one mind, all tuned to the change without questions & kept continuing their work even at the last moment.

All the complications happened during the last ten minutes due to which it has its own flaws. We are well aware of our flaws and accept it with all the humility. Yet however imperfect it may seem, we are proud of the outcome – A pretty design, united minds and A Happy Onam. 🙂

Unique & beautiful design                         Our Trophy

 

 

 

 

 

PS: This post I wrote because I was inspired by the unity. I haven’t seen this kind of unity much & I pray that this remains always.

PPS: Noticed the lavender portion on the pookalam? Pretty na!? 😛

Even CA could be funny at times-II

…Contd

As I mentioned earlier, there are some really funny and unbelievable questions faced by any CA student at some point of time or the other- FAQs (lol).

So here I am taking the trouble of making a list of FAQs from my relatives & friends and the apparent answers I wanted to give but never managed to.

THEY:  What are you doing now dear?

ME: CA

THEY: Wow! Very good very good. (My proud smile.  And relief.  Apparently he or she knows about it, which saves me a good deal of explanation)

Which college?

(College? Oh no no. Not again! I feel my heart sinking deep within)

ME:  Ehh… Actually there is no college but just one institute and that’s ICAI. It is everywhere in India and abroad. I go to the one nearby here.

THEY: Yeah right right. So how many semesters left now?

(Wish I could secretly bang my head somewhere. Ask me how many years damn it! Years!)

ME:  It is not semester system. It is for 3.5 years. We either do self study or attend private classes, clear inters, do articleship and clear finals. I have cleared my inters and am undergoing article-ship.

THEY: Yes, article-ship is like you have to work with someone right? I know one CA who is supposed to be my sister’s friend’s uncle’s cousin’s neighbor. If you want I will suggest taking you in his…

ME: No No that’s fine. I have already started mine a couple of months back. I am satisfied with it.

(And for heaven’s sake get some knowledge about CA if you are going to suggest your sister’s brother-in-law’s whatever’s firm to a CA student. CA student is already in neck deep waters. His/ her articleship firm shouldn’t submerge him!)

THEY: So when will yours get over?

ME: (Should I answer you taking into consideration the probability that I fail a couple of times in my exams, or provided I get through my term of article-ship alive or considering that the world wont end in 2012?)

(In any case it will take at least 3 years which if I say, would lead to their favorite topic of marriage, which is the last thing I want. So I say)-

Around 1 .5 years.

THEY: Clear your course in your first attempt itself ok? It is really important.

ME: (A convincing smile) Sure sure!

(Whether you know about the course or not, never fail to give the first-attempt-clearing advice.)

And some other frustrating situations where-

THEY: You are working right?

ME: Well, it’s articleship.

THEY: I know I know. How much are you paid?

ME: As I said it is articleship so we don’t get much payment. We get stipend just to satisfy our personal require…

THEY: You should be happy with that. You are learning work and earning. Stipend shouldn’t bother you. So how much is it like?

ME: Around thousand or two…

(And the hell starts dangling, you will know why.)

THEY: (Bewildered) Thousand!!! Even construction workers get Five thousand per month!(But they are not learning work. Besides, the five thousand doesn’t turn into lakhs after few years.)

ME: But as you said I am learning work. They give us reimbursement for food and…

(The hell broke lose. Remember it was dangling earlier?)

 

THEY: What reimbursement? A few hundreds? That person’s daughter did ‘some-complicated-management’ and she earns around ‘1 followed by five zeroes’ per month!!! And look at you…

(By this time, I control all the fury raging within me. It takes a hell lot of effort. Don’t know how on earth she crept into the topic, but in any case as if she will look after me throughout my life. The irony being, after around few months I get to know that a couple of zeroes have gone on vacation from her monthly salary.) 😀

When all these FAQs bother me, two things I am sure of;Firstly, it will be a hell of a job to get through my finals, answering not only my question paper but also my friends’ and relatives’.Secondly, once I am through, I’ll have sufficient number of zeroes in my salary which will not reduce and probably the zeroes will answer all the unanswered questions.Meanwhile I wait as the lord weaves through my destiny.  😀

Even CA could be funny at times-I

CA or Chartered Accountancy often misunderstood as Computer Application was alien to me even when I had completed my high school. At some point of time in college I happened to hear about it and the idea of anybody, I repeat, ANYBODY going for the course, was revolting!

I was just giving it a try when I chose Sanskrit as my 3rd language in my third-grade. (You may think that I am using this opportunity to boast that I was a Sanskrit topper at school. Hehe, well you are not wrong   :P). It was another try when I opted for commerce group in my eleventh-grade. And so after college when I was torn between MBA and CA, I gave another try – this time, a daring one – and took up CA.

Believe me; it took around one year just to get an idea about what I was venturing into. I knew it wasn’t something simple. Most of it I could handle, and what I couldn’t was, the questions thrown at me by those, not familiar with the course.

Few phone calls from my friends, ‘What are you doing?’
My unchanging reply: ‘Studying’
‘You free next weekend?’
My standard reply: ‘Got classes’ or ‘Got to study’
OR
A friend’s engagement and I come directly to the hall, from class, on a Sunday, with heavy books. (They would have been glad to throw my books away I know.) And, I was named a near-nerd!!! First time in my life!!!  But the whole point is they neither know how lengthy and tough our syllabus is nor do they know how ugly our question papers are.
(Suppressing a smile) My school friends would know that I was just an average student during my schooldays and my close friends would know how deranged I am, the freaking crazy types. My college mates still can’t think of CA and me together :D. Even I know, it doesn’t suit the person I am. But eventually I am here.

My friends always say that I never let go of a chance to make fun of anything that comes my way. Though it is out of ignorance on their part, I could never get over the umpteen number of questions that were thrown to me regarding CA.

I have made a compilation of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Frequently Faced Situations (FFS) by a CA student. I dedicate this and the next post to all those pursuing CA, my friends who were fed up of my bookaholic (Don’t look up in a dictionary. It’s my invention. Hee! :D) behavior last year during my exams and to those who like humor and believe there is some in these posts. Continued with FAQs and FFS. 😛

To be contd…