On Balance

On the 14th of September 2016, Bangalore was slowly limping from a riot stricken reality to some semblance of normalcy. After two days at home for precautionary measures, it was definitely time to get back to business. It started out to be like any given day at work, until late morning when I encountered what I will definitely remember as one of those days when you have to summon all your inner strength and just get through the day, somehow.

An inconspicuous email from my auditor hit my inbox a little before noon. In that moment, it didn’t seem so important to read immediately, so I marked it for follow up. After sometime, it dawned on me that an email marked “Financials ‘15-’16” probably warranted a quicker response from me. Grudgingly and somewhat inattentively, I opened the attachment in his mail. There it was… staring me in the face with the ‘I gotcha, didn’t I?’ look. I could see my auditor’s face smirking in the background as a watermark on the document.

I sank deep in my seat, giddy in my stomach. Head dizzy, hands cold and shaky for some reason. My memory fails me when I try to remember when a simple document had the power to make my insides churn. Somehow I mustered up the courage to go through the thirteen paged, code laden monster that stared back at me from the desktop.

I got up, took a stroll around the room aimlessly, gazing into empty spaces, the nooks and corners of our office room upstairs. I found Hema, my colleague who is generally glued to her screen also shoot a confused yet disconcerted gaze my way. In that moment, I didn’t think anyone in office had seen my face so pale… ever. I washed my face with icy cold water. Went back to my desk and decided to take on this monster. It was time. I had to do it. I was going to do it. (Nooooooooooo. I can’t. But I should) I stared at the title again — ‘Erstwhile Designs Private Limited: Statement of Profit and Loss for the year ended 31st March 2016’.

It took me a few hours and scouring the Internet to rejig my memory on how to read a balance sheet. Frankly, if you are like me… fearful of numbers and generally steering conversations more towards emotions rather than rationality that lies in numbers, I am sure you’ll empathize with me.

It’s not easy to be friends with numbers and that’s why we know people who are chartered accountants. They are very important people to know.

So I called my father in law and told him to don on his CA hat and help me out, and found a whole new respect for the phrase “Charity begins at home.”