It was, in Mahesh Londhe’s words, “a typical Indian celebration with sweets,” after the 21-year-old, whose father hawks bhelpuri at Pune railway station, cleared the Chartered Accountancy (CA) final examination in the very first attempt.
The exam was held in May 2015, and results were announced last Thursday. A total of 8.26 per cent candidates passed the exam from 42,847 students who had appeared for it. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) conducts the CA final exam twice a year, in May and November.
“I now have 1.5 months of articles to complete, following which I can apply for a job at a corporate house. That I am finally a CA is yet to sink in,” he said over the phone from his Shivaji Nagar home.
Other than his parents, Vishnu Vithoba and Vimal Londhe, he credits non-profit, The Akanksha Foundation and his sponsor, Mr Unnikrishnan, CEO of Thermax, for his success. Akanksha runs 16 schools for children from low-income groups across Mumbai and eight in Pune.
Although Londhe was a student of Bharat English School, Shivaji Nagar, he would spend the hours following class at the first after-school Akanksha center that opened in Wakdewadi. “Mahesh came to Akanksha when he was seven,” remembers Anandhi Yagnaraman, senior director, operations, Pune.
“I was with them for 10 years. I was keen to learn fluent English, and I managed it here. Besides, they left me with a strong value system,” says Londhe.
“He learnt English, Math and Values for 2.5 hours, Monday to Friday. This gave him an advantage and he ended up scoring better in math and English than his Marathi medium classmates, in the SSC and HSC exam,” Yagnaraman adds.
He recollects that initially, Mahesh was not inclined towards academics. “He believed that the SSC exam would mark the end of his education. He wanted to play football or cricket for a club. But when he joined BMCC junior college, we noticed a dramatic change. He grew focused, and worked sincerely towards preparing for the CA exam.”
Londhe admits it wasn’t easy. He says the challenges were many, mostly financial, but his parents, who can’t read or write, were keen that he receive a sound education. His siblings, Monica and Ratnadeep are both pursuing a Commerce degree in college.
He is looking forward to celebrating his birthday on July 24, made sweeter by the exam success. But it’s September he awaits eagerly, when he applies for his first job. “That will be the day my father won’t have to return to his stall at the station.”