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A Split-Second Decision Of Quitting CA Changed My Life Forever!

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I flunked in the CA Final Exams for the 4th time.

Every time I would appear in India’s toughest financial examination, I would pray to God, “Support me at least this time, please. I can’t disappoint my dad and mom often. They have already spent restless nights worrying about me while I was studying.”

But it was the 4th consecutive time when both God and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (my alma-mater) told me, “Better luck next time.”

Photo by Inzmam Khan from Pexels

I was dejected. I had ruined the dream of my parents, who wanted me to become the first chartered accountant in the family. I belonged to a middle-class family and had seen dad working overtime to arrange for the necessary funds required for my education.

After seeing ‘FAIL’ written in large and bold letters on the CA Results website, I was numb for a few minutes. Finally, gathering my senses, I dragged myself to the room, locked it from inside, and wept for the next two hours. I don’t even remember when I fell asleep on the floor.

In the evening, when I woke up, I decided to tell my parents, “I want to quit CA and pursue my part-time hobby of writing as a full-time profession.”

I had buried this hobby for a long time in my heart—since writing wasn’t considered a viable career back then. But it was high time I did what I wanted to do instead of doing what this society expected me to do.

But things are often easier said than done. I knew I would crush my parents’ dream and their expectations. My dad, who suffered from brain haemorrhage attack, might disturb his health even more.

It was a decision I had to take in less than a split second: convey my career choice or be stuck in this position eternally.

I thought, thought again, and then, thought for the third time. Finally, gathering all my courage, I decided to convey my career choice to dad and mom. To this date, I remember the word-to-word conversation that happened with dad that evening. He was sitting on his armed chair in his room with eyes closed and was indulged in deep thinking.

“Dad, I want to talk. I want to convey something,” I whispered.

“Yes, Hardik. Tell me, I’m listening,” he assured me with eyes still closed.

“Dad, I want to quit CA and pursue writing.”

That evening, I realized why parents are the most selfless creatures on this planet. Their love, care, and kindness towards their children are unmatchable.

I was expecting dad to open his eyes and slap me for wasting his money and my time. But instead, he opened his eyes, patted on my shoulders, and spoke, “Hardik, I’ve always believed in you and your capability. If you want to quit CA, I won’t stop you. But then I have a few questions before you take up writing as a full-time career.”

“Yes, please ask.”

“First question. Will you be happy forever with writing? Won’t the decision of quitting CA haunt you?”

“No, dad. I’ve thought about it. I genuinely want to be a writer.”

“Will you be able to earn enough for yourself and your family?”

“Yes, writing has a bright future. I will be able to give myself and the family the chances of living a good lifestyle.”

“Ok. Go ahead and do what you think is best for you. I’m standing strong with you in every decision you make,” dad assured and hugged me tightly.

Today, four years later, while sitting in a flight and travelling from Jaipur to Mumbai for a client meeting, I still think, “What if I hadn’t conveyed my decision to dad that evening? What if I had backed off?” I don’t know the answer to this question, yet. Nobody else knows, either. But that split-second decision is the reason why I’m happy and satisfied with my life at present. 😀

The Thrive recently featured me as one among the “Top 5 Content Writers in India.” 🙂

But does it mean I advise everyone, who is not succeeding, to quit? No, I don’t. Persistence and patience are highly underrated. Just because you are not succeeding in what you’re currently doing doesn’t mean you should quit and try your luck in something else.

I quit CA when I had a clear alternate career choice in my mind. I wanted to convert my part-time hobby of writing to a full-time profession of content writing. Before quitting CA, I had already worked with a few companies and startups as a freelancer, and I knew the dynamic, challenges, and opportunities of this field. That’s why I was confident that I could quit CA and make a bright career in the field of writing.

I always advise, “Quit not when you’re fed up of trying something. Quit only if you feel you can be in a better position than where you are at present.”

Don’t quit a 9-to-5 job because you’re fed up of long working hours. In entrepreneurship, fixed working hours don’t exist. Don’t quit a career option just because you failed numerous times. You need just one attempt at the right goal to clear your exams.

Quit when you want to, when you have a clear backup plan in your mind.

My question to you: Have you ever quit something when you thought it wasn’t working? It could be a relationship, job, habit, or even a place? Let me know your experience in the comment section below!

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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