Darr Ke Aage Jeet Hai- Ep. 3: All In – The Study ‘Break’ Saga

Meet the Author – CA Hetvi Valia

A freshly qualified professional pursuing her career in the field of finance (Alumni Pinnacle Education). Other than an apparent unique sense of humor, she manages to break-free from the definitive ‘Stereotypical CA’ with her happy go lucky attitude towards life coupled with a keen interest for various dance forms and a natural flair for writing.
For all the Bollywood aficionados reading this, meet the real life version of Geet – just a lot smarter!

Hetvi is also pursuing her CFA Level 3 and is preparing for her next journey at a B School.

Darr Ke Aage Jeet Hai


*Stolen from Mountain Dew. To be read in Hindi.

Ep. 3: All In – The Study ‘Break’ Saga.

A silver haired gentleman with a pleasant smile on his face dressed in a smart white suit greeted us as the door swung open. We were ushered through the grandeur to the three booths that were lit up at the back of the hall. The machines beeped as the neat files of people surged forward in a methodical fashion.

Deciphering the look of confusion etched on our faces, he let out a tinkling laugh. “This, my dears, is the check-in for Afterlife. You will be given your designated booth number based on the preliminary questions – MCQs, don’t worry – that you shall answer right now.” As if awaiting this cue, a board appeared in our hands, with a pen attached of course. Besides the standard KYC yes-or-no questions, there was one which stated ‘Are you a Chartered Accountant? If yes, then did you become one during the pandemic era?’

The silver haired gentleman raised his eyebrows when he saw that I was the only one in the group who ticked that box. He waived his hand and suddenly a fourth booth popped up. He beckoned me to go ahead. When I asked why I was the only one to do so, he replied. “Darling, we already have an account of your mental strength from the year 2020, the year of your Final CA exam. There is no need for you to go through a bunch of stress tests again. Run along now!”

Satisfied with the answer, I stepped through the fourth booth and white light engulfed me.

When my eyes opened, I was back at my desk. My neck stiff from sleeping uncomfortably. The daydream motivated me to pick up the Audit standard – SA 250 and study for a good 30 minutes. Then the yawns resumed.

Guess I’ll just have to do some more daydreaming to continue the motivation. It was studying for CA Final after all.

Episode #1 and #2 readers already know the drill so let us just skip the recap completely. I have full faith that the new readers (if any) will catch up with Episode #3 – All In: The Study ‘Break’ Saga.

I don’t understand why this term was coined in the first place – ‘Break’. There is nothing remotely relaxing in these 5 months.  In fact, it is even more stressful than the articleship days. Those studying and those whose family / friends are studying know that the studiers go underground for almost half a year and resurface only once their exams are over. Hence, THE norm has been set: all plans involving their attendance made before May / November, permissions to be an attendee sorted out, tearful (cheerful) goodbyes to office colleagues, deleting social media apps with training your mind to study 12 hours a day.

For 5 months, this sounds doable right?

Of course, this is for the people who signed up for it. But just because they signed up for it, doesn’t mean that they have no right to crib and complain and cry and fall once in a while. The course is intimidating in the sense that it is vast. 8 different subjects are equivalent to doing 8 majors at a university abroad. And most universities don’t even offer more than 4 majors in their entire 4-year course. To retain even 50% of the syllabus requires two full ‘readings’ of the entire coursework at the least. In 5 months. The scariest feeling was when you start the second reading only to find that the first reading has magically evaporated from your brain. Something, I am sure, all students would agree to.

Now imagine doing this for 12 months.

That’s what the pandemic did to us; as it did to others too. What sucker-punched us, though, was that the Institute baited us with the exams. An almost-there phenomenon. After all, they postponed the exams THRICE; making sure that the fear of not passing would ensure that we are studying for every extra month that the exams were pushed back.

You will have more time to study, they said.

You will be able to revise the portion at least two more times, they said.

You should be grateful for this extension, they said.

Don’t think about the pandemic so much, they said.

The exams will definitely happen this time around, they said.

Well, we all know how that panned out, don’t we? But with all due respect, ‘they’ were just trying to keep us motivated and give us some sort respite amidst the swirl of anxiety, fear and helplessness. My batch did not have to just deal with the Prep-Stress but also with Whether-the-Exam-will-Happen-Stress. And unless you are the direct party, you cannot empathize let alone fathom our ‘stresses’.

No one said that CA Final would be as easy as jumping on a trampoline. It’s a long-wrought battle that is half won only if started right. And starting right is the ultimate challenge. While some say that disciplined regular studying over 2 years was the key to their success; others believe that brute effort in those 5 months of study leave was more than enough. As each student runs on a different frequency, so does each strategy. This uniqueness is always realized in the hindsight. According to my personal experience, stressbusters like dancing and exercising and daydreaming sprinkled with the rigorous studying makes the perfect combination like waffle cone and ice cream#.

But with the pandemic, this wasn’t a bootcamp we signed up for. What we had imagined and how it ended up! A shoutout to all those students who even showed up for the exam amidst the pandemic. You guys killed it; we killed it!

To those who study at the library – Cheers to y’all for adjusting at home!

To those who don’t study at the library – Cheers to y’all for studying with a Full House!

To those who had their first attempt in May 2020 – Cheers to y’all for being the first batch to have experienced this!

To those who had to repeat an attempt in May 2020 – Cheers and a standing ovation for holding out until the very end!

To those who have their attempt in the future – Cheers to not being the May 2020 attempters!

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, we managed THIS with being part-time house helps. I am not certain which one I wanted to give up more!

#Just a Tip for Sprinkles on the Ice Cream in Waffle Cone: There will be a time when you want to give up sometime in the middle. Do that. For half a day. For one day. So that you can return stronger and sharper. Invincible. Choose one day in the week to stress so that you are stress-free the remaining six days. Oh, and while studying, make your own notes – little scribbles that are legible to you. No need to sit with a 12-shade highlighter pack and 20 different colored pens and fancy post-its.

The End.

This episode will self-destruct in 5 seconds if you have downloaded it and lesser if you choose to stream it. So, I shall just end with a more sophisticated (Latin) version of the title – ‘Veni. Vidi. Vici.’. which translates toI came. I saw. I conquered.’

I hope you do too!

Stay tuned for the Final Episode #4: The What-Now Saga soon on the journey ahead, if you have missed the trail please do check Episode #1: The Articleship Saga & Episode #2: To Do or Not to Do- The Final Classes Saga.

*Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of the people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company or individual.


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