Meet Odisha samosa seller Sashikant who cracked CA final exam
Till the other day, Sashikant Sharma was like any other pavement vendor, selling fried snacks like samosas from a handcart near Jhanda Chowk in western Odisha town of Jharsuguda. With scant resources and no jobs, 27-year-old Sharma would help out his older brother Manoj at the snack cart, the paltry income from which ran their household.
But on August 13, life changed for Sharma, when he cleared the final exam of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), one of the toughest professional tests in the country. It was Sharma’s sixth crack at passing the CA Final exam, which fewer than 20% of examinees manage to clear.
The younger son of a poor temple priest, Sharma’s father earns just about Rs 200 a day, by conducting pujas and other rituals in people’s houses. It is to augment their father’s income that the Sashikant and Manoj began making and selling snacks. Despite the tough times, Sharma completed his matriculation in 2009. Five years later, he graduated in commerce from a local college in Jharsuguda. It was one of his teachers who advised him to try his luck at the CA exam.
“No one else in my family has studied as much as I have, “ Sharma said. “But I was very poor in English and couldn’t afford regular tuition. So I started referring to English dictionaries regularly and gradually improved my English vocabulary,” said Sharma.
The lack of money also proved to be an impediment for his preparation for the CA exam, since coaching classes are needed to tackle each of the eight papers. “I calculated that I could take coaching for only 4 papers,” Sharma said. adding that he took a loan from his maternal uncle to pay for the lessons. “As for the other four, I realised I would have to manage myself.”
Sharma then started studying for longer hours, even as he helped out his brother with the handcart. Sharma failed the first five attempts but didn’t give up. “There were several moments when I thought like throwing in the towel. But I always knew I had to crack the exam, come what may. In the evening, I would be at my brother’s handcart. But he would ensure that I am not held up for too long there,” Sharma said.
Sharma’s mother, Indra Devi Sharma, said her son would study for 18 to 19 hours a day and even forsake his dinner at times. “But more than anyone, it was his brother who stood by him like a rock. Whenever he required any money for his coaching classes and irrespective of his own difficulties, his elder brother would help Sashikant out,” she said.
Having cracked the exam, Sharma now wants to join a corporate entity like Vedanta Alumina that has a plant in Jharsuguda.
Sharma’s former teacher, SK Sharma is a proud man. “Shashikant’s achievement is a lesson for students who are traditionally afraid of the CA course. It shows that patience and hard work are the keys to success.”
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