This is a picture of Chartered Accountancy (“CA”) exam results. These are not my results. I qualified a long time ago. This is just something I found on Google.
What triggered this post?
CA results were announced recently. Some people I knew passed the exam this time and became a Chartered Accountant. I congratulated them. But I could not help but feel sad for the ones who did not pass. It also transported me back to time to my own CA days. The time spent in preparing for the exams, studying close to 12-15 hours a day. For the benefit of those who do not know, CA exams are very tough to clear and they are conducted in three levels. The passing percentage is very low.
This picture is of the website where results are declared. This screen, this colour combination, the buzz around the expected date of results, it all still gives me the horrors. I still have nightmares that I have failed the exams although it has been years since I passed.
What was it like to fail?
How hopeless I had felt! How I felt like I would be able to achieve nothing in life! I felt like it defined me. I felt like I was a loser. When you fail an exam you also think of all the sacrifices you make to study and how it all becomes a waste. The times that I could have been out, partying, enjoying, traveling was spent in isolation in books and what did I get in return?
Some people around me qualified before me. It hurt. I also wondered what would happen if I never qualify? What if it was just not meant to be?
How I look back in time
I used to be stressed during that phase of life. I was living alone in Bombay. I had a job in a Big Four company where people took pride at leaving at 1 am 2 am on a daily basis. I was living in a PG accommodation. I did not have a lot of friends. I was not a star at work. I was probably nothing. I was struggling.
But when I look back at that time now, I look back with fondness. I think about things now which I did not think meant anything then.
How I shampooed my hair in the morning so that my curly hair looked good
How I bought my first matt lip gloss from my salary which Kareena Kapoor advertised for
How I wore branded shirts and skirts, and kurtas. I loved my formal wear collection
How I wore sneakers for the commute in the local train and how I changed to heels in office
How I went to Carter Road and enjoyed a Frankie
How I went to Juhu Chowpatti and had pao bhaji
How I went to Bandra linking road and did street shopping
How everyone in the city was always running around. It was so vibrant.
How I was so thin when I started articleship and how chubby I became by the time I was living alone eating from ‘dabbas’
How I travelled overnight on Fridays even though my father didn’t like me night travelling, just so that I could see my parents Saturday morning
I was lonely. But then there was the sea…
The sea… It was calm. It was infinite. Sometimes it got wild… But is was always there. It remained despite everything it endured….
But when I look back today, I feel good.
I feel good because it was a part of my youth. My precious youth. A precious part of my precious life.
Why I say it is the not the same anymore
I am older. I have lost interest in the things I did that time.
Shampoo hair in the morning? Nah! Too much effort! I do it after work. Who cares about my hair anyway? I know ways to hide it…
I can go to a big restaurant and order more expensive food. But there was something satisfying about having a small lunch and saving money. Saving money for something big….. Surely life must have something bigger and better to offer in the future right?
There was something about that time.. The time when you are full of dreams. Full of hope. When you thought your life could be so much more…
What I want to say to the students who did not pass the exam
Should you try try until you succeed? Should you give up? If you leave, all the time and effort you invested will be wasted. But if you keep trying and it still doesn’t happen then what? Isn’t is wiser to move on to something else?
It is quite a dilemma. And it applies not just to CA exams but to other competitive exams also. It even applies to other things in life.
Should you try more because you already tried so much?
Should you not try anymore because you already tried so much?
Are you closer to success than you think? But what is success anyway?
I would like to say this to all the students who didn’t pass this time
- Pursue your dream. But remember that your dream will change with time as you change. And that’s okay
- There is always a tradeoff in life. Everything comes at a cost.
- Don’t wait for you to pass to enjoy your life. You will never be 21 again. Or 25. Or 33. Or even 58. Your life is happening now. And you are missing out on it.
- No one thing defines your life. When one opportunity closes, another one opens. You just have to be positive and remain open minded.
- No matter what happens, you always have the power to change your life. Only you have the power. Yes you will go through the cycle of bad exam results, bad appraisals, heartbreak, humiliation, hurt but you will make it.
It also got me thinking… In my 20s I thought it was not that great, but when I look back now, I wish I was more relaxed. I could have done so many things.
I will probably feel the same when I look back at my 30s that it could have been so much more….
I think we all owe it ourselves to make our lives better. I wont say be happy, because honestly I don’t know how to just be happy. It sounds like a forcible action, when it is instead just a nudge to take that one step that you are afraid to take for fear of unknown. Maybe the better way to say it is don’t wait for anything great or different or drastic to happen for you to do something that you want to do.
Time runs out…. Good or bad this is the only life we have…