ADDA (અડ્ડા) while studing Chartered Accountancy
In 1992 after graduating as Bachelor of Commerce from M S University Vadodara Gujarat India the future was dull as there were no specific goals in life except want to do something which make me a better person and give pride to my parents. One of my friend Swapnil Patel told let us do Chartered Accountancy (CA) and he knew one CA firm so we just went there, and the firm absorb us as such they must be waiting for cheap labor force. I did not inform my family also and in late evening went back home and told I am pursuing CA course. I am sure my parents might be feeling this boy has gone from hand as there was no communication, no guidance, no advise and just jump whatever come in front of eyes.
Since graduation I used to study at library so when I took 3 months break to appear for 2 groups of intermediate CA exam, I went to CA library at productivity road and that time I did not know anyone who were studying in library. It was chaotic place as due to some issue with building management there was no electricity power so no fan no light but I survived with others and then we made union (few seniors and few juniors like me) and went to CA chairman of Vadodara and demand for electricity to be restored. After few unsuccessful protests our demand met, and we got electricity back and we started studying with full luxury of fan and light.
Those who don’t know the CA students have to do article ship (in plain language part of cheap labor force who go and try to do audit of books of account so get practical experience before they officially become CA). The stipend prescribed by CA Institute of India was INR 150 per month at first year, INR 225 in second and INR 350 in third year. One can imagine how cheap labor force a CA student used to be. Now as I wanted to be independent and live on my own so-called stipend, I must survive on this stipend saving for 3 months of study. (during exam leave you don’t get stipend). I used to study from morning 9 am to 12 am night so require 2 tea breaks one in morning and one in evening. I met bunch of friends who become lifetime friends and we all have same issue to survive on that stipend. During those days a cup of tea cost INR 1 so we were 5 together so one time cost INR 5 and sometime we ordered some snacks of 2 dollar (sing bhujiya, sev) and when time comes to make payment everyone look at each other and finally one of us will pay with heavy heart. The tea stall vendor also knows our gang so he will give full cup of tea and once in a month the tea used to be free. I used to keep some snacks from home but eating in library was not allowed so we used that snacks only at night when there were very few of us.
I met few amazing humans there and two of them are so close to my life. Raghvendrasinh Jhala (we call him Bapu with love) and Sanjay Bhatt (half of the time I cannot understand what he is saying in high coded language). When first time I saw Sanjay at library he had long beard and he was repairing a watch. For 30 minutes I kept watching him as I was wondering whether this English gentleman came to library by mistake as he must be a genuine craftsman. Then he looked at me and told with big smile when I get bored from study, I do all these. Then he took a pipe tobacco pouch and asked me to walk with him. He smokes pipe and I was watching him as such he is from different planet. Then after few days I met Bapu and we become 3 musketeers of library. In few days I started first taste of pipe and I got used to the smoking pipe with different flavor of tobacco. I did not have enough money to buy so Sanjay used to sponsor and he gifted me 2 pipes also (one of them still with me). Then one fine late evening Sanjay came with big cigar which I had seen only on photos of Winston Churchill and English movies. I tried and I coughed so much that I thought I am going to die but I survived, and life moves on between pipe, cigar and cigarettes.
Bapu and me were staying nearby and he always gives me ride on his 737 Boeing (Bajaj scooter but he had number plate 737). Sometime when we did not had money for petrol, we either ride on bicycle or walk back. During Navaratri one night we both were going back home on bicycle and all beautiful girls were passing through us for garba and no one notice us. It hurt our ego very badly and we decided that from next day we walk back home so girls feel we are just roaming from one place to another place. Bapu always comes with brilliant ideas. We both used to smoke a lot so sometime at night we don’t have matchbox (lighter was luxury) so he decided that in morning we should throw some matchsticks on stair case so at night when we are running out of it, we just grab those and it was working amazing some of the time. (I require another long article to write about Bapu so just stopping here)
After completing 3 years of article ship and completing intermediator groups, I tried my luck at Deloitte Bombay, but they rejected me as such I was from 3rd world citizen who don’t know what Deloitte standards is. Then I joined Deloitte Baroda and met my life Purvi there. She was appearing for first group of CA and to become closer to her I encouraged (indirectly forced her) to start reading in library. Initially she was hesitant but then she became regular and our love story started flourishing. She was shy and used to speak very few words and I am chatterbox. In evening we both planned to go back home same time and then we had found a small department store where we used to sit for half an hour. Everyday we sat there and either have double decker or Thumbs up. We both don’t recall how many Cadburys and thumbs up we had, and the young storekeeper was witness of our chitchat. The moment we reached his store he used to keep both things in hand, and I picked up one of it. During those days my scooter got spoiled and I requested Purvi to drop for lunch in noon and evening at home. In morning and night Bapu always there to gave me ride. I was so mean that I asked Purvi to follow my timing (if I am hungry early, she had to get up early, if I am not hungry, she must keep studying till I finished). Whenever we talked about those days Purvi keep saying you are always boss in timing hahahahahha. Purvi never liked my smoking habits so whenever I smoked outside, she will not come outside library to talked to me. For 2 months Purvi had given me ride on her kinetic honda (3132 the number plate) and that was golden period of life as it were days when I had proposed her to become life partner. Till now she is keep giving me ride and safely bringing me to home whenever I lost the way or goes out of box to explore unknown roads.
Purvi’s friend Sachi Biyani started coming to library and we 3 become friends. Before going home in evening, I used to smoke pipe to relax mind and the moment I smoke pipe, Sachi used to come out and start reading there. She asked me same question every day. What you starting and thinking while smoking pipe? My standard answer used to be blank sky, rising moon and the smoke of pipe keep me alive. I still don’t understand why she used to ask me same question every day and I keep answering her every day. She now become very famous spiritual writer and speaker. Me, Purvi and Sachi used to go for tea on Sunday at one store (as whole place surrounding our library remain closed on Sunday) with most strange and weird tea vendor. He never smiles, he never talks, we order tea and he serve the tea with so much anger that every Sunday we discuss why he is always angry and why he never smiles. I remembered one of the Sundays he had talked to me and asked why we always come Sunday to his tea store. I replied oh all others store remains closed on Sunday and he was again in angry mood. That Sunday he made worst of worst tea and we 3 laughed a lot. I think that was the last cup of tea at his stall.
Sunday when the whole area remained quiet, we used to go and study anywhere on staircase of shopping mall, near tree trunk or someone vehicle parked onside road. We were throwing our tantrum of boredom as we hate study on Sunday whenever one is enjoying the relax life and we bunch of non-humans were busy with books.
I still remembered one of the most idiotic acts which would have cost me my life. One night I thought my scooter had not enough petrol for to reach back home. While studying my mind was keep thinking for it so I decided to go and check how much petrol is there. The parking place had dim light so I could not see anything. Without thinking anything I took one matchstick and light and try to check petrol with its light. Suddenly the flame started, and I had no idea what to do and I was blowing like idiot which was bringing more flame and I had little burns on my hand and my head. So, I thought let me run away so I just closed the petrol tank and the flame stopped. For few days I remained quiet on this then one day I told Bapu and he was shocked and kept looking me as such I am monkey of zoo. Then he just put hand on my shoulder and told in future if you don’t know what to do then call me but don’t use your brain and then we both smoke a big cigar to celebrate my stupidity.
After completing CA, I used to go to library as member and when I saw other students reading, I was just keep smiling and the caretaker Ketan always asked me whenever you come then why you keep smiling. How to explain him that this is the place which had given me my life, the best of best friends I have and the golden moments of life which is remain alive in each cell of my mind and heart. I remembered the day me and Bapu both became CA (though I qualified few weeks later as I passed in re-examination. That re-examination was also thanks to Purvi as she done all submission) we both went there late evening and smoked a lot of cigarette as there is no tomorrow as we wanted to tell the world that we did it and we are now CA. For some reason Sanjay could not joined us that day (maybe he was frustrated that he could not complete with us) otherwise the whole area would have been full of smoke)
The adda of CA library will remain always inside me. Me and Purvi frequently talks about those days and keep smiling and finally I penned down my memories. Now waiting to find another adda where I can just relax and spend rest of my retirement life