Darr Ke Aage Jeet Hai- Ep. 4: The What-Now 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. 4: The What-Now Saga.

Anxiety slithered in. The under-eye bags and dark circles were proof of no sleep the night before. With my heart beating over 150 beats per minute, I could hardly hear my own voice. Even running fast wouldn’t elevate the heart rate as much. It felt like this feeling was mirrored by the entire house. That one message flashed on one of the WhatsApp groups – ‘I passed.’ This was the trigger for the bomb to go off. Fear was palpable as stress skyrocketed to DEFCON 1. Result day had officially begun.

Of course, being a part of the pandemic attempt, our results had to have a different touch as well. Instead of refreshing the site and despairing due to the site-crash, everybody opted for the SMS route. After 2 failed attempts, I entrusted the phone to my sister and asked her to announce whether I had failed or passed. She shouted when she received the message and started reading. She. Read. For. 2. Whole. Minutes. I mean for just ONE word; how much time does one take anyway? I must have died and come back to life multiple times in those 2 minutes. I would never wish that on anyone; except maybe on my worst enemy. After an eternity, she hugged me with tears in her eyes. I thought I had failed. Thankfully, she was just very very happy that I passed.

“Oh, I couldn’t find the word ‘Passed’ for one of the groups; so, I was re-checking,” she commented nonchalantly while I was stacking my books (yes, the same day), one over the other, to confirm my suspicions that they definitely towered over me. And I am 5 ft tall.

I am pleased to announce that we are officially at the end of my CA journey. And I want to propose my Vote of Thanks before I plunge into Episode #4 – The What-Now Saga.

The Vote of Thanks

Episode #1, #2, #3 and #4 readers – y’all are the real MVPs.

Episode #2, #3 and #4 readers – y’all are the MVPs.

Episode #3 and #4 readers – y’all have caught up after being fashionably late.

Episode #4 readers – y’all have to go back to the previous episodes after reading this.

And thank you to my editors – who I am choosing not to name – for giving me honest yet delayed feedback for this season.

End of Vote of Thanks

Oh, the question marks are indeed a part of the title. Let me start with the process of convincing you that this particular punctuation fulfills its job of replacing any other word used instead.

Pick a student who has cleared. Interview him / her. After congratulating him / her, maybe asking the marks, the third question will inevitably be ‘What are you planning to do now?’ or a modified ‘Are you going to continue working here?’. 43 out of 50 students will just smile and give a vague response or pass over the question. Actually, even a student who hasn’t cleared or partially cleared or is a non-CA will conform to this. The lucky 7, who have their answers all ready and drafted and formatted, belong to the rare species of I-know-what-I-want-to-do-in-life-because-that-is-my-passion. And out of all the people I know (my age or thereabout), there’s only one who fits this bill.

What of the other 43, including me, then?

The main issue stems from the fact that there are so many options to choose from the list of What to do After You are Done with CApolish your soft skills (which is a must), take on an Audit profile, become a Taxation expert, try your hand in litigation, specialize in International Taxation, write Research Papers, switch to Consultancy or to other pure Finance industries, start your own practice, fly a plane as a Pilot, undergo a complete makeover and model or design interiors, do a PhD or an MBA, be the next founder of a unicorn start-up or just end up as a pahadi. Our luxury and privilege of ‘choosing’ is what makes this decision-making process even more complex.

My cheat code is (overly) simplified. You maybe one of those few who resonates with this philosophy; while many others don’t. Identify yourself in one of the 2 categories – the Pursue your Passion Category and the Hobby-fy your Passion Category.

In the first category, recognize your passion#. Then pick a job / business whose foundation is this passion. Keep building and bettering and earning from this job. It’s something you are (almost) never going to get tired of simply because you fall in love with it. And that’s the advantage of this category. Being passionate about your job / business is akin to the popcorn at theatres – it never runs out.

In the second category, recognize your passion# and the second-most favorite thing you like to do. Then pick a job / business whose foundation is the second-most favorite thing you like to do; while turning your passion into your hobby. Because you have settled for the second-best, you might end up hating it on the bad days. But that is okay, because your first love is always going to have your back regardless of those low days. You keep doing what you love because you just really really really enjoy it without the (added) stress of having to earn from it. It’s the perfect see-saw! And I prefer the see-saw to the endless supply of popcorn.

Life is NOT a race. Unlike what Mr. Viru Sahastrabuddhe (Virus) would have us believe. We don’t have to prove anything to society; we don’t have to be the first or the fastest or the youngest to reach a so-called pedestal set by stalwarts. We have all the time in the world to choose what WE want to do and not what the society wants us to do. I want to make sure that I don’t regret, in 10 years, that I didn’t take that one extra month to explore and discover and research, just because I didn’t want to “waste” time.

After the results in February 2021, the imminent ‘What Now?’ questions activated my Overthinking Mode. While I was sure that I wanted to do my MBA from India, I was confused (an understatement) between working as a tax advisor, working with my dad, interning in a pure finance firm; or merely studying for the entrance exams for B-schools for the brief period of 8 months.

What I ended up doing was this: Trained in skiing at Gulmarg, trekked to 13,100 ft and saw the Marsar Lake in Kashmir, took up teaching for a couple of kids only to learn that patience is indeed a virtue that everyone is not blessed with, picked up writing again as a hobby and attended CAT classes to realize that my brain is a little rusty despite CA Final. So, at the moment, besides writing this Episode, I am studying for CAT 2021; hoping that if I manage to crack the exam, I will be one step closer to get into B-school I have dreamt about. Maybe this will happen, maybe it won’t, only the future can tell. But the one thing that I am sure about is that I won’t regret my choices or think about the what-ifs.

People ask: ‘If you are ultimately doing an MBA, why CA in the first place?’, ‘Will you even make use of what you learnt during articleship?’, ‘Why study more? Is CA not enough?’.

Maybe after 10 years, you will read about it in a blog.

#Just a Tip to Recognize your Passion (meant for people who are lost or can’t pick just one): The Trial-and-Error Method. Make a list of your potential passions. Toss in a few random ones just for the heck of it. Try each listed item. For a sufficient stretch of time. It’s an all-Pros method – you either really like it, which means that its your number #1; or you really don’t think it’s your thing, which means you can chuck it out of the window. At least your list gets shorter and you get to have fun in the process.

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 to I came. I saw. I conquered.’

And I hope we can!

For previous episodes:

Ep. 1: The Articleship Saga

Ep. 2: To Do or Not to Do- The Final Classes Saga

Ep. 3: All In – The Study ‘Break’ 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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