by Sunny Ahlawat 25 August 2020

Chartered Accountant at the age of 48 after 30 years of not giving up

How I Began My Career In CA?

I was born and brought up in a small town, Bhusawal in Maharashtra (India) in a lower-middle-class family with very limited resources.  I was a good student at school and always dreamt of becoming a doctor however because of the high tuition fees pursuing medicine was ruled out! Observing my interest in studies, my father advised me to prepare for Chartered Accountancy exams because of the prestige this course held and also the career opportunities one has after qualifying. Back then (1978), becoming a Chartered Accountant was considered a great feat as only a few people managed to clear the exams. I loved challenges and so decided to go for it.  Also, CA was well known for being one of the most economical qualifications in India where one could work while studying. Just perfect for me! And here started my CA journey in 1978.

I kept going forward with little support 
Since I came from a lower-middle-class family, I had a lot of financial responsibilities. I did not have the luxury to focus 100% on ‘just’ studying! So along with my articles and CA preparation, I helped my dad in his small business and on certain days even gave tuitions to earn some extra income! For a few years this was my routine – Wake up at 4 am, prepare for my lectures, then attend articles, give tuitions and later study for CA! All of this left me very exhausted with little time to study and obviously I kept failing my CA Exams. A few years later I completed my CA articles but was still not able to clear my CA Final exams!

Working full time and still pursuing CA

Fast forward, I got married and as my family grew (we have 3 children) my responsibilities increased and the study time for CA reduced!
  Initially teaching was the only source of income, but later, I realized I had to hustle a lot more to make ends meet!   That’s when I decided to start a few businesses on the side to earn some extra income…so I started washing milk bags and selling them, trading shirt pieces, and spices, etc.   Eventually, I learned the craft of furniture making and started this business (of course while still teaching!). Luckily this took off and life got better financially!   So now my day started with giving lectures on Accountancy, managing my business, and then taking care of my family.

Did I give up on my CA dream in the midst of all this? NO.
Even after a hectic workday, I would study and prepare for my CA exams every night! My parents, my wife- Shubhangi, and children supported me in every way they could. There were days when I would be sitting in the same exam hall as my students but nothing demotivated me.   I knew CA was a challenge I had taken and strived hard to give in all the efforts I could. Nothing else bothered ever. Finally qualifying as a CA after 30 long years! Almost 20 years into my CA journey, in 1998, I met with an accident; and unfortunately, had badly damaged a finger on my right hand! (Even today it still doesn’t bend.)
Everything came to a standstill and my dream of becoming a Chartered Accountant seemed impossible!   It was then that my wife encouraged me to use my left hand to write. It was not easy at all but somehow, with every passing day; my conviction grew stronger and I continued with my CA preparation.   After almost 6 years, I was able to use my right hand again!   In the meanwhile, I kept appearing for the exams and would fail by a few short marks! In fact, by now I had even given up on checking the exam results! Finally, on the 16th of January 2008 (the golden day of my life)

In Conclusion…

Life may look perfect today but I had my own share of challenges. My NEVER GIVE UP attitude helped me through it all.  No matter what the circumstances, I was not ready to give up.   It was not easy pursuing CA for so long. But this strong desire for becoming a Chartered Accountant helped me overcome all challenges.   Giving up was a very easy option but I wanted to pursue my desire. I wasn’t looking for instant gratification. And I am so glad my perseverance paid off.   My journey of becoming a CA came with surprises of its own, but today I can proudly say that it is because of this course that I became the man I am today!