My Philosophy of Studying


“If others can be University Gold Medalists, why can’t I?” was a question I challenged myself with in college.  Initially, it sounded like a difficult dream.  So what?  If I am different, nothing is difficult.

Having decided to make my dream into a reality, I met a few examiners to find out what they looked for while assessing answers?  The way I understood, they checked if –

  • all relevant points to the question are covered.
  • answers were written in own language, instead of rote answers from text books
  • new points/observations made were justified well

I figured, If properly worked out, it was not a difficult task to score well. I got excited and a burning desire to achieve this took root.  Next, I had to challenge myself to get the best out of my abilities.  My strategy was four fold –

  1. Guru Samarpan: Take maximum guidelines from my teachers
  2. Self-discipline: Be sincere to yourself and
  3. Study Plans:  Have a proper plan in place for studying
  4. Approach at Examination Hall

To elaborate –

  • 1. Guru samarpan:  I surrendered to my professors and lecturers completely. Once the teachers realised that I am devoted to them, they started taking more interest in my queries and doubts.  They were happy to share their books, their notes, their knowledge and even their home.
  • College library would lend only 2 books at a time.  But my beloved lecturers gave me a free hand to borrow more books under their names.
  • For getting any doubts clarified, I had access to their office and home at any time, on any day even during holidays and long vacations

2. Self-discipline: I created self-interest and devised my own methods of studying. I was convinced that I didn’t study to just appear for exams, but I did it to understand the subject well. It was important for me to enjoy both studying and appearing for exams rather than considering them as a strain. That was my mental make-up.

3. Study Plans;  To actually implement I devised the following Study Plans;

  • Studied each and every chapter in depth by referring to class notes and books written by various authors on the same subject. This brought new and complete insight in the topic.
  • Prepared my own notes from all the material read. This helped me retain and assimilate all the knowledge I accumulated. One cannot make own notes without understanding the subject well.
  • Made separate notes on the differences of opinion between various authors.  A mention of these differences in the answers gave an edge over others’ answers and created a “different” impression to the examiner.
  • Created hints for answers.  I summarised the notes in short hint format for each chapter and revised the short notes rather than going through the entire descriptive notes, every time I revised.  Once you remember the hint, it is easy to write on the subject in detail because you know the subject well from your earlier hardwork.  Also, it saves revision time and enables to cover all points on the subject, which is important to give complete answers.
  • Left no surprise element for the examinations.  I did not believe in studying only the ‘selected’ or ‘expected’ questions just from exams point of view.  I studied all the chapters so that I was ready to face any question.  This does wonders for your confidence.
  • Studied round the year. I did not believe in studying just 30 or 60 or 90 days before examinations.
  • Made a proper timetable of subjects to be revised on each specific day for the last 4 weeks before exams.
  • Considered tackling examinations an excitement awaited and not a fear.  Bindaas (Carefree) I would go for a movie the night before examinations, (certainly the day before the accountancy and statistics exams!)
  • Stayed cool and quiet just before exams and conserve energy.

4. Approach at Examination : At the Hall: 

  • Avoided eleventh hour revision.  I believe, a dominant part of what you retained whatever little studied at eleventh hour compared to what you have been studying throughout the year.
  • Allowed half-a-minute cool-down time before reading the question paper. That helps to balance mind, memory, and temperament.
  • Allowed about 10 minutes for unexpected long answers and last 10-15 minutes for rechecking the answers.
  • Allocated time to each question in proportion to the marks it carries.  If 180 minutes are available to cover 100 marks, after allocating for rechecking and buffer-time, I devoted about 15-16 minutes for every 10 mark question.
  • Some times the answers to a question could be long, but considering the marks it carries, the examiner didn’t expect a lengthy answer. I kept the answers’ length as per the marks allocated. No point punishing and irritating the examiner by writing irrelevant and long answers.

I implemented the above strategy and got University First Rank in my B.Com.  A similar approach helped me in getting all India level ranks in my professional exams  – CA, ICWA and CS.

Dream your Best, Plan your Best and you will Achieve the Best


Written:  Badri Baldawa                             Edited: Meeta Kabra



Work Ethics Begin at the First Interview

My first job was with a company that I had audited as an article during my Chartered Accountancy. There was no formal interview. That was in 1968. After about 5 years, I wanted to go for a change of job. Here’s a snippet of my interview with the finance director of a British company with operations in India, Mr. Shepherd:

He: Badri, you have credentials good enough to get you a job with any of the top companies. How do we know that you will continue to stay with us?

Me: Mr. Shepherd, I promise you I will not leave you before completing 4 years. But I cannot promise to stay with you beyond 5 years.

He: Why do you say that?

Me: I am confident that I will train my assistant to take over my job completely within 4 years. I will have nothing new to contribute after 5 years in the same job. Unless I get a different opportunity, it will not be in your interest to retain me after 5 years.


He: What is your role in periodical management reporting with your present employer?

Me: I have introduced annual budgeting, monthly profit statement and detailed variance analysis of actual over budget.


He: What is the profit level of your present employers?

Me: The latest published financials of the company reveal a profit of  xxx crores.


He: Are they making enough profits this year, rather, what are their current profits?

Me: I am sorry Mr. Shepherd, professional ethics do not permit me to answer this question.


He: Badri, when can you join us? Can you join us tomorrow?

They gave me an appointment letter with a grade higher than the maximum scale they advertised.


In interviews, I believe it makes a better impact, if a candidate:

  • Clearly and confidently speaks about his own thoughts and intentions rather than shifting blame on those with whom he was associated so far.
  • Never spills out the trade secrets and disclose information, which the earlier employers passed on to him in good faith or he had access to while executing the duties.


Maintaining these  basic ethics gives confidence to himself and to the new employer.


Editedby Meeta Kabra

My Unexpected Well Wishers

Year 1962

I was studying in Bellary and secured 1st class in SSLC, which was an exceptional achievement during those days.  1st class passings were rare. My dad encouraged me to go for the best possible education for my bachelor course in commerce. I applied for admission to the best of the colleges in the state, St Joseph’s College at Bangalore.

I was called for an interview.  Father D’Souza, the principal of St Joseph’s College, didn’t take too long to approve my admission to the college.

The college had a large student hostel which was very difficult to get an admit to.  Normally the hostel authorities didn’t even entertain inquiries for hostel admission.  Exceptionally, of his own accord, Fr. D’Souza asked me if I’d like admission to the hostel.

Fr. D’Souza:  Do you need admission to the college’s student hostel?

Me:                 I don’t know, Father

Fr. D’Souza: Why? Oh, you have arrangements to live in Bangalore?

Me:                 No, father.  I don’t know where I’ll live.

Fr. D’Souza: In that case, take provisional admission to the hostel before it is full.

Me:                 I cannot afford it, Father.

Fr. D’Souza: Then, where will you stay?

Me:                  I don’t know.  But I know I cannot afford the hostel, Father.


Fr. D’Souza left to go to the next room.  I was worried; had my uncertain answer deprived me of an admission to the college too?  After about 5 minutes, he returned with Fr. Colaco, the college Vice Principal and Dean of the Hostel.

My head was low with slight fear as they both looked at me.

Fr. Colaco:  We don’t have any policy for free boarding seats in the Hostel

Fr. D’Souza: But we have a proposal for you.


Fr. Colaco:   The teaching faculty of the college gets free boarding at a hostel closeby.  However, they share the mess expenses.  As a very special case, I can allot you a room in that hostel.


Me:                 Thank you very much, I am obliged Father.  But, I may not be able to bear the cost of the mess expenses either.

Fr. D’Souza: Then, is there a way we can help you?

Me:                 Yes Father.  Please let me live there and waive me from having to join the hostel’s mess.


They looked at each other and maybe they signaled.

Fr. Colaco:    That is possible.  We can give you just a place to stay.

Fr. D’Souza: How will you manage food though?

Me:                I will manage with some economical arrangement outside.

Fr. Colaco:   But you will not get good food outside.

Me:               Father, my intention is to get the best of education here.  Food doesn’t matter much.

Fr. Colaco:  Ok. I will send a note to Victoria Hostel. God Bless You, my son.

Fr. D’Souza: God Bless You.

Me:              Thank you Father (D’Souza).  Thank you Father (Colaco)

When I came out of the Principal’s room, I had tears in my eyes reflecting my happiness.  Why they had tears, I do not fully know.

I carry those blessings to date.

I arranged for food on monthly coupon package system with an Udipi Restaurant, located between the College and the Hostel.

I was living in a hostel where I could associate and interact with some of not only well-known Commerce professors but also of other faculties. This I guess is what they call, a blessing in disguise.

Written by Badri Baldawa

Edited by: Meeta Kabra

How Lies Boomrang:


The year was 1972-73.

Pushpa and I were married for about 10 years or so and lived at Ruwi, Sultanate of Oman. Pushpa was down with cold, cough, and fever. She was in no mood to go to the clinic to get the medication prescribed. Now, the corporate doctor on duty, Dr Samuel,  gave prescriptions only after examining the patient.  She would never budge from this principle.

A brilliant brainwave struck! Why not go to the Doctor and present myself to her as the patient. I could act out all the symptoms that Pushpa had and the doctor would prescribe/provide the medicines which Pushpa can have.

I acted convincingly.

Doctor said, “Loosen your waist belt and lie face down”. I had to do what she asked me to do, even if I didn’t understand why. She came up and injected the medicines, “Go, you will be alright today. You don’t need any other medicines.”


Edited by Meeta Kabra


My First Lessons in Finance


“Badri, can you go to Hiralal Bhai and tell him that I need Rs.50 loan to get some grocery. There are no grains at home for Maa to cook”, my father, known as Kakaji to most youngsters in the family, told me. The year, 1957.

Hiralal Babaji was my dad’s cousin. His grocery shop was about half a kilometer away from home. This 70 year old, respected gentleman was kind-hearted and very helpful person. I loved him.

I was immensely happy, as a 12 year old boy, I was recognized and given a responsibility. I ran to Babaji with the message.

Pat was the reply from Babaji, “Pirthya* na jaar bol, peli ka liyeda rupya peli laar deveju.  Rupya muft ma padya ha kai? …… Rupya Jhhaad par koni laga”.  (Tell your father to return the money that he owes me already!  Is money lying around?  ….. Money does not grow on trees).

I was shocked and left speechless.  I never expected that reply.  I went there thinking it was my right to get that Rs.50. I left, my head hanging in shame – a shame not just for me, but for my dad. I communicated the message to kakaji without lifting my head since I didn’t have the courage to watch Kakaji’s face.  This incident was my first major disappointment. A sense of rejection made me analyze the event seriously and formed my first lessons in Finance Management.

  • Develop a status where one can extend financial support to others and know when to say ‘yes’
  • Believe in financial discipline: Know your own limitations
  • Know when to say “no” even to your beloved ones, for their good.
  • Money is not freely available, one has to earn it.
  • Do not take the availability of finance for granted.
  • Wealth and status can be earned by maintaining low profile.
  • One can share love without limits, but not money.

This small incident had a major impact on my philosophy on financial matters. I valued every paisa – what it rightly deserved.

I had just accepted a self-imposed challenge. Life now, had a purpose –

I will plan and create a situation where we achieve a status not only to take care of ourselves, but to help the needy.

I am indebted to my Babaji Hiralalji for inspiring me by teaching the first lessons in my life

* * *

 * My dad Prithviraj Baldawa was called “Pirthya” by rest of the eldermembers of the family.


Edited by: Meeta Kabra