MY FIRST SON IS ADMITTED TO BITS
1972 - 1975
Though I was a fully qualified Cost Accountant, my basic qualification was only SSLC. This was sometimes a drawback when applying for jobs where a basic requirement was a degree in Arts, Science or Commerce followed by other qualifications. Those days I couldn’t enrol myself for a correspondence course leading to a B.Com degree. However Ranchi University permitted external candidates who had to spend on home study as many years as the regular students. I registered for the Intermediate Examination in Commerce in early 1972. I could write the examination in only in April 1973 which I passed in the first division.
I had registered with the External Affairs Ministry of the Government of India for employment opportunities in foreign countries. I was a qualified Cost Accountant and had also passed the P & T Accountants’ Service Examination. About 1972 I was offered a job as Accountant in one of the departments of the Government of Tanzania. The remuneration offered, in equivalent Indian rupees, was in the range of 3000 to 4000. There was Exchange Control in Tanzania and I could send only fifty percent of the amount to India. And I could not possibly take my wife and children as the education of children would be affected. Considering all these factors I did not accept the offer and informed the Ministry accordingly. One of my colleagues who was writing the ICWA (UK) examinations had landed a job in Tanzania but this was at a higher level with better emoluments
My first son was to write the Intermediate Examination in the year 1975. Before the commencement of the examination he wrote the entrance test for admission to the Birla Institute of Technology at Mesra near Ranchi. He passed the examination but we were not sure of seeing him through engineering college for four years. My take home pay as Accounts Officer was about one thousand rupees and we had two more children to be educated. The younger son was also ready for college. My wife and I deliberated on this for quite sometime and finally decided we would somehow see him through engineering college. We paid the fees and completed the other formalities for his admission to BITS Mesra. There was one hurdle though. He had not cleared the Intermediate examination. Those were days of the Jaiprakash Movement against the emergency ( 25 June 1975 – 21 March 1977) and students were boycotting examinations. Consequently he could not write the examination in March-April of that year. The position was explained to the Institute and he was allowed to join on condition that he cleared the supplementary Examination in October 1975. He passed the Intermediate examination in the first division. Later he cleared the first year examination of the College.
Only once did I visit BITS at Mesra. The Institute was situated in sylvan surroundings with lots of trees and plants. The semester system was not in operation those days. The first year was common to all students whichever the branch. In the second year my son opted for Mechanical Engineering. He could come home on week ends since Mesra was not far from Ranchi. He used to bring a couple of his close friends who were away from their homes. My wife used to entertain them with South Indian delicacies like idli, dosa and sambar. The boys used to relish them and profusely thank my wife for her hospitality. The college used to arrange excursions to many places of interest but my son used to avoid taking part in such outings. He did not want to put on us more financial burden than what was absolutely necessary. We were sorry for this but we appreciated his gesture. He, however, used to participate in sports organised by the college. He won prizes in long distance running.
Those days XISS Ranchi had started a Management School to offer MBA degree to students. They were looking for part time faculty to teach Financial Accounting, Financial Management, costing and allied subjects. Since I had qualified as a Cost Accountant from the Institute of Cost and Works Accounts, London and was an Associate Member of that Institute, I was offered the part time faculty position. Each lecture of one and a half hour duration earned me seventy five rupees. With two lectures a week, I was earning six hundred rupees a month which was sufficient to meet the hostel expenses and fees of my son at BIT, Mesra those days. Another incidental advantage of the faculty position was the depth of knowledge I gained as I had to read up on the subjects and prepare notes for the students. Most of the students in the class were engineers from HEC. Answer papers for tests conducted had to be valued the same night and results sent in to the Director to avoid students contacting me to influence the marking.
My second son was not so serious about his studies until he reached the tenth class. He used to engage himself in extra-curricular activities such as buying knitting wool in bulk from Ranchi during winter and selling the wool to women in the colony. He used to do odd jobs for the neighbours and our friends. Once he took orders for picture calendars for the new year from a firm of printers at Sivakasi and earned commission on the sales. Though he was fifteen his growth was not commensurate with his age. One of her friends used to ask my wife tauntingly whether she was feeding her son enough. From class ten onward he started taking serious interest in his studies. He grew taller and put on some weight. I tried to improve his English by giving him lessons in grammar. I used to tell him to make the best effort and write the exam without fear. I was not going to blame him if he failed in spite of his efforts. He worked hard and secured 59% in the higher secondary examination. The percentage was pulled down by the marks in Hindi. Otherwise he had scored more than 60 percent in the other subjects. My financial position did not permit me to put him also in engineering college. Instead I got him admission in B.Com in one of the colleges at Ranchi. He could, after B.Com, enrol for articleship with an Auditing firm and qualify as a full-fledged chartered accountant. That was what I had visualised for him at that point in time.
By this time I had registered as an external candidate for the B.Com examination of Ranchi University in April 1976.