My trip to Varkala..

Image I was reminded of my school days, the days I used to wait for the Christmas vacation, to go on a tour with my parents. I was going on a similar tour this year, to Varkala in Kerala. I was all excited when the plan was finalised at home and I was asked to go with them. I immediately googled about the place and was stunned to see the beautiful beaches and the blue waters…

 

Varkala is a small town near Trivandrum in Kerala. It is about 3 hours from Trivandrum on the Trivandrum Central- Kollam railway line. It is known for the Sivagiri Mutt- The Ashram of Sri Narayana Guru ( Evident from the name of the Station “Varkala- Sivagiri”). We had planned a two days trip and on Day One, we reached there at around 10 AM and refreshed ourselves and visited the Sivagiri Ashram which is about 4 kms from the railway station. It was a calm place and was yet to develop and gain prominence.There was a temple there dedicated to Devi Sharadamba ( A form of Devi Saraswathy- The Goddess of Knowledge) and the place where Sri Narayana Guru lived through his samadhi. This place attracts thousands of devotees clad in Yellow, as a part of its Annual Pilgrimage during the month of December.

Our second stop was Kaapil beach. We came to know about this place from one of the Chai-wallahs in the station who kinda stressed the beauty of the place and was like ” Kaapil kaanenda sthalamaanu ..” ( Kaapil is a must-see place). It was a half hour ride by Bus from the Station. The ride was not very comfortable as the bus was kinda old and rickety but the destination was breath-takingly beautiful. I found myself standing in a narrow strip of land with the Arabian sea on one side and a Lake on the other. It was beautiful. I made a note in my mind to thank that Chai-Wallah that evening and tell him that it was indeed a must-see place. Image The day went by and on the next day, we planned a visit to Aranmula Sri ParthasarathyTemple which was about 1.5 hours from Varkala. ( Alight at Chengannur enroute Kottayam and take a bus to Aranmula). Sri Krishna is the presiding Deity there and the Alankarams is lovely to see. The temple is very old and reminded me a little of Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Trivandrum. It is said that Sri Krishna is also dressed up as Mohini here. ( Mohini Alankaram) . This was one of the less crowded and rare temples where I have actually felt some Divine Vibrations when I am in there. Image In the evening, we went to the Varkala Beach. Unlike Kaapil,this beach was famous and had a lot of resorts and hotels and shopping places. The above pic is the view of sunset in this beach. This beach is also called “Cliff Beach” because there is a cliff from which Para gliding is undertaken during summer season. The waves are quite rough and the evening time limit here is 6.30 PM.  There is also a Janardhana Swamy Temple which is in walking distance from the beach. This temple is also dedicated to Lord Krishna and is a quiet and old temple.

       Varkala is a beautiful little town in Kerala and the ideal time to visit will be from November through February. 1.5 days will be sufficient to cover the places to visit and the food is good in the Railway Canteen( Surprisingly!!). People are friendly and do strike up a conversation with the local people there to get an idea about the places to visit and better modes of transport.

      Thus, we ended our vacation in Varkala that evening and reached the Railway Station. A big Thank You was in order for that Chai Wallah and it was duly given 🙂

And , I was all smiles 🙂 

 

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What Articleship has taught me so far….

Image My two years of articleship life comes to an end which has left me thinking,” what has changed in me during  these two years ???” .. “What have i learnt during this time?” etc.  

My two years in my office has taught me a lot. It usually is the case with all CA students. We enter the office with lots of dreams and ambitions and realise that not many of those dreams are gonna happen when we are still there and slowly adapt and adjust to the “sanskar” of the office. During the second half of the second and the whole of third year of articleship, the only chanting that goes on and on in our lips is that ” Oh God!! Please get me through this safely and let me pass it in the first shot “.

         Waiting in the office, doing nothing at all until your boss comes, bestows us with a lot of Patience. It is such an important trait that many of us have been devoid of until we stepped into our offices. Everybody , the office staff, client staff, store keeper ( in case of inventory counts) ….All of them have a dominant part in teaching us this virtue. Meanwhile, when we wait, we become the subject of ridicule and slandering in the office ( courtesy: office staff) which we are supposed to bear with silence ( Mind voices are of great help here!) and yet reply to them politely without a trace of sarcasm or rudeness ( Why so? Coz they are the ones in charge of crediting our stipend and conveyance claims to our accounts- something similar to worshiping Garudazhvar  in Perumal temples and Chandikeswarar in Shiva temples). So that way, we bring in Politeness into our system.

“If you are not able to convince your boss, confuse him.”

Hmmm… This is something very crucial for the very survival of articled assistants. I am sure all of us might have encountered such a sticky situation where how much ever we try, there remains a huge gap between our understanding and our superior’s understanding of the same situation. In such scenarios, the above given line is golden! This might as well be one of the best Corporate Mantras I have come across.

           Decision-making is another quality that we imbibe in the course of time. It is 4 pm now and we still have only the documentation( ONLY??????) part to be done and tomorrow we are closing the audit ( Sounds familiar?? Arre!! Happens everywhere).So by 2-3 hours today, I ll have to decide and get all those papers ready and what all figures to freeze and all. That is how it is learnt.

          And a lot other traits like time-management ( u have 24 hours in day and ur hands are over-flowing with 28 jobs), Cash management ( Bank balance is all time pathetic and the Banker – if he gets a chance , is ready to spit on our face) and people management ( Boss, Co-workers, Managers, Clients, Office staff, Teachers, Friends, Parents, Relatives……. Ellarayum samalippom la….. !! ).

         For that’s the noble quality of CA. It doesn’t teach you anything… But it pushes you into various deepest and darkest places and tests each and every ounce of our perseverance. Failure is common here and its not the number of failures that count ultimately, its how much higher we have gone with each re-emergence that counts. 

Its always ” survival of the fittest”.

   

 

 

 

A day in the life of a CA student… :)

Image 5.10 am : Beep beep…. Beep beep…..!!!!!!! There goes the alarm clock ( the phone, obviously!) and I switch it off with a few well chosen curses on my lips and a fervent prayer that the day should be fine in my thoughts. Slowly I get dressed for the day’s class that starts at 6.15 am. The class goes fairly well and I am happy that I didn’t sleep much during the class. ( It is quite natural for any normal person to doze off after having slept for 3-4 hours at night.). The class ends after 3 solid hours after which I find myself waiting at the Traffic signal at some famous road junction. I am on my way to the Client’s Office ( “On-site” in IT sector lingo) which is where all the activities are supposed to happen for any person of my kind. 

I reach the destination and pass by a few “Good morning Madam!!”s ( In case it is a statutory audit) and little more of “The stare says it all” kind of cold glares ( In case it is an Internal audit) and reach my desk just to find my junior colleagues  already in their places , looking gravely into the laptop screens. I make my presence known and start off with the day’s work by discussing the day’s schedule. Files upon files lay untouched on the table and yet we, the audit team are in need of “details” and “clarifications”. The fore-noon session passes by without a sound of work-related discussion and predominantly with the energy given by the coffee that was placed on our table earlier.

And then comes the lunch break where the team discusses more and more strategies to outwit the rigid staff in the client’s place and obtain some more data from them. Post-lunch session mostly sees us trying to put those well-thought-out strategies into actions and getting rock-bottom results out of them. Then we google for some latest acts and provisions related to the industry and knock off the remaining work planned in the day’s schedule. The last 1-1.5 hours of the work typically is fueled by the energy from the evening-coffee and also a lil bit of Office gossips and updations from the juniors (Ultimately ,They are better informed than I am).

Finally, its 6 pm and I pack my bags and head for my evening class. 3 hours there and with a lot more information, sections of Law,formulae, Concepts and homework I reach my room at around 9-9.15 pm. I silently eat the saved food ( Thanks to  room mates) and browse through the phone for any calls from home or messages from friends. With a heavy heart , I see the message from the junior reminding me to complete the extra work that we had planned ( Value addition to the assignment!!!! ) and sit down to work for a while. After about 2-2.5 hours of outright slogging with the existing raw data of the client , I finalise certain values and close the laptop and open my books. Skimming through the day’s notes ( skimming alone takes 2 hours full), my breath becomes calmer and steadier than it has been all day long and I wind up for the day with smile in my lips and  satisfaction in my heart, determined to wake up tomorrow morning without grumbling.

Thus ends my day . Not just mine, but of many other similar CA students across the country.