I became a Chartered Accountant at the age of 48 after 30 years of not giving up. Here is my story.
- Are you thinking of quitting after facing several failures?
- Hi, I am Dinesh Rathi. On January 16, 2008, I became a Chartered Accountant at the age of 48.
- My CA journey started in 1978 and it took me 30 long years to finally have the honorable title of CA before my name.
- Here my story of determination, resoluteness, and an undying spirit to carve out a niche for self.
- Why am I telling this story? Because even if one individual gets inspired by my journey, it would be worth it.
Tracing Back Roots – 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!
Forging my own path: 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 realised 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 learnt 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), my phone was ringing.
My youngest daughter Neha (she was 14 at that time) answered the call. On the other side, was a relative (Mrs. Darak) whose son had appeared for the exam along with me.
Here is the conservation:
Mrs. Darak: Hello Neha, is anybody elder at home?
Neha: Yes, Dad is there.
Mrs. Darak: Anyone other than him?
Neha: No, it’s only both of us at home.
Mrs. Darak: Ok. no problem. Tc!
Now the relative called up my uncle who lives in the next building.
Mrs. Darak: Congratulations! Dinesh is a CA now.
Uncle: What ??? Repeat please.
(He was waiting for this day for 30 years!)
Relative: Yes! It’s CA Dinesh Rathi. Please go and tell him in person.
My uncle immediately rushed home, asked me to sit down and gave me a glass of water. (They were concerned that I should not get an emotional shock!)
Uncle softly said, “Beta Dinesh, tu CA ban gayo !” (Dear Dinesh, you have become a CA!)
As always, I had expected to fail. So when he told me I passed the exams, I couldn’t believe myself. I hugged my daughter and started crying.
Everyone from my wife to my children to my neighbours and even my students were so overjoyed...after all, it was a 30-year long journey!
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 of 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!
My advice to young professionals is - Life is all about the journey and not just the destination.
Dinesh Rathi has completed 40 years of his teaching career! And now is an elected Municipal Corporator and also an author of more than 8 academic books. He is more than happy to guide professionals and CA aspirants with his experiences. You can write to him at email@example.com.
Now It's Your Turn...
Are you happy with what you are doing in life? Do you have a dream which you are about to give up?
Are you motivated by reading my story?
Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to share it with your friends who need that push in life.