Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint

Occupation: Chartered Accountant

Father’s Name: K N Nagaraja Shetty

Occupation: Farmer

Right through his growing years in the Kunigal taluk of Tumkur district, north of Bangalore, K.N. Sujay heard his father’s life lesson delivered through a farming analogy: “Unless you till the land under the hot sun, how will you reap what you sow?" It’s a dictum Sujay has stuck to fiercely.

Armed perhaps with that early wisdom, the 24-year-old topped the chartered accountancy exams in November.

“I am grateful to my parents for whatever I have achieved so far," says Sujay. “Though the family circumstances were tough, my father always used to encourage and motivate me to do well in academics, but without pressuring me or comparing my performance with others’," he says.

The focus on academics was fortunate for Sujay. He was part of a family of four, including his parents and younger sister. His father, K.N. Nagaraja Shetty, had studied till class VIII, and cultivated ragi (finger millet), coconut and bananas. The average monthly income was roughly Rs7,500, which, Sujay says, managed to keep the family “afloat". His mother, Rajalakshmi, was a homemaker. No one remembers how far she went in school.

Having cracked the CA exams, Sujay is now doing his “articleship" with a financial firm in Bangalore. “I wanted to become an engineer," Sujay says. “After my Secondary School Leaving Certificate (exams), I opted for the physics-chemistry-math-biology combination."

However, his schooling had until then been helped along by government scholarships. “But I knew engineering would be expensive and I might not get the financial backing required." So, after his second year in the Government Pre-University College in Kunigal, the equivalent of Class XI, Sujay switched to a B.Com course.

Much of Sujay’s schooling had been in Kannada, but the move to B.Com also entailed improving his grasp over English. “I wanted to push myself. I would not have been happy just becoming a commerce graduate. So I took up the challenge of CA. Many teachers told me how tough the exam was. But I was determined and knew that if I did well, I would be able to ease the burden on my parents a bit."

In college, Sujay topped in the Kunigal taluk. That gave a further fillip to his CA dreams. However, it also implied more money required for coaching classes.

“My father somehow managed to fund me for coaching classes for CA inter and final exam preparations," says Sujay. “Rs15,000 for the first and Rs32,000 for the other. With such support, I would have felt guilty if I did not do well in the exam."

As it turned out, guilt wasn’t necessary. “Topping the exam is just the beginning," Sujay says. “I want to achieve a lot more."

—Rahul Jayaram

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