It started as a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I felt as if someone had kicked me hard and left me breathless. I squinted hard at the laptop screen, everything blurred except for a four letter word in bold green letters. FAIL. That four letter word was a label I was terrified to attach to myself. I had failed my Final Chartered accountancy exam. I felt numb. A numbness so profound that I was relieved I couldn’t feel as yet the pain of shame, guilt and humiliation that usually follows the heel of failure.
I knew crying was not the solution to this disaster that had rocked my world, but my tear glands had a volition of their own. They itched, threatening to spill hot, angry tears of indignation. What had happened to my life? How could I fail? I had never before seen failure of such a gargantuan proportion in my life. I had seen success in academics throughout school and college life. I excelled at whatever I chose to do until 16th July, 2015. This day stood like an ugly black mole on my face.
My mother gently put a hand on the curve of my cheek. That simple gesture was all the love and support I needed to brave the storm. It was also my undoing. My pent up emotions imploded like a flood that breaks the dam walls. I cried for all the sacrifices I had made in the last four years. I mourned for the hours I had locked myself in a room surrounded by only books for company. I keened in pain for every desire and wish that I had quashed, all in the name of becoming a Chartered Accountant. Angry, desperate sobs racked my body and I cried till I was drained of every last tear.
After crying I felt lighter in spirit. As the days went by I realized that failing CA was not as bad as it seemed. Thankfully, I am an optimist and I’m wired to look at life with a positive perspective so it wasn’t long till I had an epiphany.
I realized that failing the final CA exam was an opportunity to begin a new chapter in my life. In a bid to fulfill my mother’s dream of becoming a Chartered Accountant, I had overlooked the most pertinent questions of my life: What was my passion? What was my calling? I had figured out during the two and a half years of articleship that CA was something I was not even remotely passionate about, but the fear of being labeled a quitter and becoming a laughing stock among friends and relatives had me dig my heels in and endure the grueling course.
I had let the expectations of my family smother every desire I had of being a writer. I had sacrificed my dream, with the thought that I would write ‘someday’. Failing CA had brought that ‘someday’ closer than ever. With nothing more to lose, I found the courage to start over and chase my dream.
As I thought more and more about becoming a full-time writer, the scars healed, the pain faded. My heart felt at peace after a long time. It bubbled with happiness at the prospect that someone somewhere would read MY published stories and might sigh in contentment and smile with the kind of incandescent smile that lights up a face after a good book comes to an end.
Still unanswered questions would often annoy me. Why did this happen? Couldn’t somebody just tell me that CA was not the right choice for me? After a lot of introspection I finally got my answer.
I realized that sometimes you need to choose the wrong path to realize what the right path is. Earlier, I always thought that doing CA was the biggest mistake of my life. An aberration that cost me four precious years, but now I don’t think that way. As strange as this may sound, I’m going to say that CA was not a mistake: it was a ‘mustake’, the kind of mistake that I must make so that I would grow as a human and get ahead in life.
My mustake taught me that before I take any decision, I need to consult my heart and ask myself what makes me happy and what I really want, as opposed to launching into something without a thought. It taught me that it’s ok to fail because it makes you stronger and motivates you to try harder. So the next time you feel like you’ve made a monumental mistake… think again- it’s actually a mustake that may lead you to your happy ever after, just like mine did!