“If you go through this door now without revising Section 132 you’re walking into a wall of trouble…………… You understand ?”
“Yes I do”
“Give me that axe !”
Some readers may recall how I went about preparing for the CA Intermediate exam. If you don’t, do me a favour and please check out the epilogue of the article in this link.
My friend Shyam (name changed) and I were the last in our batch to pass the Intermediate.
Having passed the exam we again lapsed into our lackadaisical ways when our more proactive classmates were already through the final exam and in the placement zone.
After passing the intermediate the Institute of Chartered Accountants gives you a one metre thick bunch of study materials comprising all the subjects. Any chapter could be removed from the “mother ship” so that if one wants to study a particular chapter, you don’t have to hold the entire bunch.
“Now that you’ve passed CA Inter, go and collect your CA Final study materials………………and use it as a pillow” was the helpful advice of my friend Vijai (name retained). If you want to know Vijai better, again, do me a favour, and check out the link below.
I followed that advice to the T with the result that I was left wringing my hands when the day of judgement drew near.
Again Shyam and I regrouped to tackle this new menace.
This time the joint study operation was not conducted at my home but at the CA institute library.
Did I say “Joint study” ? If there was any studying done I was the one who was doing it.
Even in the era before cell phones, while waiting inside the CA institute library, Shyam mysteriously knew when he had visitors outside and excused himself umpteen times to go out of the library and have tea with the visitor at the tea stall outside the institute next to the 29C bus stop.
The portions were voluminous and just wouldn’t get through my head. I’d navigated taxation pretty well in the intermediate but the final portions were a different kettle of fish altogether.
Shyam never lost his supreme sense of assurance.
“Machcheee……….” he said with the quiet confidence of a Usain Bolt, his eyes half closed as if delivering the Sermon on the Mount.
“Kandippaa indha dhadavai Search and Seizure varudhu. Adha padichchaa poadhum” he declared.
(“Definitely a question on Search and Seizure Sec.132 will be asked this time. Just read that and go for the exam”)
I let that nugget of information sink in.
The note on Search and Seizure was less than one page but it was so dense and complex nothing would register no matter how many times I studied it.
Shyam reiterated his admonition not once but several times after that particular day.
I soldiered on but to no avail.
Come the day of the exam and I was nervous and frightful. A substantial part of my nails were gone and with it some skin and flesh too.
I don’t recall if the taxation exam was the last one but it seemed like the deciding play off.
Now there was another friend of mine, Nitin (name changed) who was the type who would sincerely read the nook and corner of every chapter in the book.
As per the seating arrangement, Nitin and I were placed in the same examination room. And just a row apart.
The unsystematic guys like yours truly were boning up on the chapters frantically upto the time we were due to enter the exam hall while the sincere Sivamanis like Nitin were blasé about the whole thing.
I told Nitin about Shyam’s prediction on Sec.132 Search and Seizure.
Nitin was dismissive and waved off that foolishness with “Adhellaam chanceay illa – varavay varaadhu” (“No way a question from that topic will come in the exam”).
After what Nitin had said I gave up and braced myself for my next attempt at the exam six months later.
A random thought struck me….a recording in my memory from a few years ago.
“Dont WAIT for it to happen”
“Dont even WANT it to happen”
when it DOES HAPPEN”
It seemed to take care of my nerves and fidgeting.
I sighed and paused to drop my bag outside the examination room and took a deep breath.
My mind cleared somewhat…..actually it was as BLANK as a white wall.
Then something else struck me.
I had this typical bourgeois mind set that if I did not know the answers I didn’t deserve to pass.
Not that I had NOT studied but it just wouldn’t enter my head.
I harked back to the ICWA Final Examination taxation paper.
I’d prepared very well for that one.
But after entering the examination hall and looking at the paper I kept staring at it for more than half an hour. My friend Bala (name changed) was seated next to me and he was in a daze too.
Then I determined to make a good fist of it and after I started scribbling some answers, ideas started expanding like a bullet in my head.
Actually I was at my creative best.
With due respect to Arun Jaitley, P.Chidambaram and other legal stalwarts and finance ministers, I did a great job of creating my own Wealth Tax Act and Gift Tax Act !!
My friend, Bala, watched me for sometime and was livid.
“Dei !! Yennadaa yezhudhara ?” he asked in a shocked hoarse whisper.
(What are you writing ??!!)
What could I tell him ?
To cut a long story short, I cleared THAT paper.
SO WHY NOT NOW ?
Just a minute before entering the CA Final examination hall, I again took out the portion of the study material on Search and Seizure and read through that damned Section 132.
It seemed to stick in my brain on this reading. I kept it back in my bag, flung it to one corner and finally entered the hall.
I was uncharacteristically casual even after the question paper was dropped by the invigilator at my table.
But one look at it and I was anything but casual………………
Actually I was cockahoop with joy !
Sure enough a question on Search and Seizure was included in the question paper…………………………….
for TWELVE MARKS !!
I muddled through the rest of the tough paper.
When the results came out in January, my mark sheet showed that I’d been given
EXACTLY 40 MARKS in taxation.
I had PASSED !!
And if not for that infernal Search and Seizure (Section 132 of the Income Tax Act) I’d have failed by a wide margin.
I was now a qualified Chartered Accountant and ready for the job market………and marriage market 🙂 🙂
Nitin didn’t clear the exam.
(And surprisingly) Neither did my “guide”, Shyam.
(Actually not so surprising considering his umpteen tea time visits)
On getting to know the result Shyam’s mother was bitterly sarcastic “(Sigh) Adhukellaam Bhagavaanoada anugraham venumdaa !”
(“To pass in the CA exam one needs the Nuclear umbrella like protective shield and all pervading grace of the Lord”)
Shyam’s response was typical of his cocksure demeanour.
“Bhagavaanoada anugraham ellaam vayndaam ……..Portions padichchaa poadhum”
(“No need for bullet proof shield….its sufficient to read the portions systematically”)
(Here endeth the Lesson)