Twenty three years ago, Renuka Murali, a fresh B.Com graduate then, had pleaded with her father to let her study chartered accountancy (CA). To this he had replied, “If you become a chartered accountant, it will only be a costly affair for me. Where will I find a groom?”

On Tuesday, when the results of the nation-wide chartered accountancy final exam were announced, the 42-year-old’s long forgotten dream stood fulfilled. She had passed, in her first attempt.

“My only regret is that my father is not here to see this,” said the homemaker and mother of a teenager.

Married at the age of 23 into a joint family comprising 14 members, Renuka said that for a long time, she did not think about studies at all.

“I had a commerce background and had worked as a lecturer for six years. But once I had a daughter, I was quite clear about my goals – my family would always come first,” she said.

It was only when her daughter entered class III and started attending school all day that she had time to think about herself.

“I used to go to my husband’s office sometimes, but I was always a back-up,” she said, about assisting her husband, who is a practising chartered accountant.

“I saw many women who were chartered accountants at a seminar once, and I was surprised. I decided that even if did become one and began work, I wouldn’t be just another staff member. I wanted to be more qualified,” she said. That was in 2009, and her husband immediately had her registered at an institute.

Support from the family, especially one with many members was crucial and Renuka said she found it hard to find work out a study plan.

“Every timetable I devised to plan my studies would invariably fail. There was cooking, cleaning, social functions to attend, people to care for. My free time was my study time and I would compensate for lost time, by studying longer,” she said, talking about the three-year ordeal during which she cleared the common proficiency test as well as group I of the intermediate level of the exam. She cleared her group II exams this year.

“My articleship of one-and-a-half years was very challenging. The syllabus of CA is such that practical work is very important,” she said.

Only 12.97 per cent of the 29,337 candidates who took the exam in November cleared it in their fist attempt.

Ms. Murali now plans to partner with her husband. Pursuing the CA dream was memorable in many ways. “I learnt to manage my time so well,” she said.

About the one thing that drove her, she added, “Everyone around warned me that CA was bound to make people fail. And I was entering it at an age when most aspirants give up. I wanted to tell them all, nothing is impossible.”

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