Saturday, July 11, 2015

THE OX AND AN EIGHTH PASS


















Pic.:Chetna Shetty



In the evening, yesterday, I had been to a friend’s office. He is a very skilled and efficient accountant, who has employed in his office half-a-dozen staff. Some of them are graduates and some of them are undergraduates – obviously, all from the Commerce stream. I was there in my friend’s office for twenty minutes. Later, my friend came out to see me off. We walked for a short distance. On the way, my friend introduced me to a young-man, who seemed to be in his late twenties. His name was Sanjay.

“Sir, I want to tell you about Sanjay,” my friend’s face lit up, “He had started working as a peon in an accounting firm when he was in eighth standard. Due to his house situation, he couldn’t’ study beyond eight standard. But, today, for most of us, the professional accountants, he is a very resourceful person… He can do our entries, with super-speed and super-efficiency, get the Trial Balance ready for us… help us with our Income-tax, Sales-tax and Service-tax work… Give him any work relating to accounts and tax, he can carry it out a hundred times better than those Commerce graduates.”

Well, I had to look at this young-man, all over again. “What did you say is your name?” I wanted this name to ‘register’ very well in my mind!

“Sir, my name is Sanjay,” the young-man replied with shyness.

“I am very happy to hear about you Sanjay,” I patted the young-man, “Please keep it up.”


I have been teaching Commerce students right since I was in FY B’Com. That is close to four decades! But, all that I can claim about my Accountancy teaching is: My own teacher, my idol, Prof. B.S. Raman, had taught me the Accountancy basics so well, that all that I did in my own teaching career was to teach my students the basics well… Very, very well…. That’s all.  And, I seriously think, that Accountancy being an analytical and practical subject, if one gets the initial story well, he gets it all right, yes all his life.

So, I keep hammering in my class to my own students – HSC, CBSC, ISC and all that – “Remember, Accountancy is an analytical subject… think practically.”

In the morning, yesterday, in the midst of my own frustration (looking at the mechanical work of most of my students), I had used that statement, once again. Then, something made me ask a couple of them as to what they had understood by the phrase ‘analytical subject’…

A mild shock was awaiting me: most of them had not even registered in their minds my pet phrase ‘Remember, Accountancy is an analytical subject’. It had gone in through one ear, and gone out through the other.  Like the oil-man’s ox, they have been busy doing their ‘routine… Yes, just like the ox, so mechanically!

My friend was upset with his own staff – the Commerce graduates and undergraduates… But, when we bumped into Sanjay – the eighth pass – his face had lit up…

And, yes, yes, mine, too!


GERALD D’CUNHA

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