Boss: Exams are right around the corner. Hope you guys are studying well?
Employee One: I’m doing my best, sir!! But there is just too much to study…
Boss: The three of you were planning a combined study last weekend. How did it go?
Employee One: I’d prefer not to talk about it...
Employee Two: That’s the last time I’m studying anything with the two of them. I’m better off on my own.
Employee Three: What do you mean better off on your own? You didn’t even know what was on the syllabus!!
Boss (irritated): I didn’t expect much from the three of you in the first place. I was sure it was a bad idea. Even studious people find it hard to concentrate in a combined study. I was certain the three of you wouldn’t go far into the study part. How bad was it? How much did you manage to cover?
Employee Three: Not much, sir…
Employee Two: Nothing, not even one full chapter!!
Employee One: It didn’t go as planned, sir. We couldn’t even start on time. I was waiting for them from eight in the morning but it was almost eleven by the time they arrived.
Employee Two: I had promised to pick him up on my way over but he had overslept and kept me waiting for an hour.
Employee Three: Not all my fault. He didn’t know the way over so we kept driving in circles around the city for two hours till we finally found our way.
Boss: So, you lost three hours before you even started.
Employee One: No sir, way more than that.
Employee Two: We had decided to study together but couldn’t decide what to study. I am weak in Finance Management so wanted their help there.
Employee One: I preferred to concentrate on Accounts. I am really good there and am hoping to get an exemption!!
Employee Three: I wanted to cover the theory subjects first. Once you understand basic theory you can solve problems based on that.
Employee One: So, we argued and argued, one way and another.
Boss: And what did you decide in the end? Don’t tell me you decided not to study at all.
Employee Three: On the contrary sir, we decided to study everything!!
Employee One: Yes sir, we decided to start with Accounting for Mergers, followed by financial aspects in Mergers & Acquisitions; calculation of exchange ratios and all that, then Compromises, Arrangements and Merger provisions from Corporate Law and finally duties of an Auditor in case of Amalgamations from Auditing!!
Boss: That was such a good plan!! You connected a topic across all papers!!
Employee Three: It was my idea sir!
Employee Two: That’s why it probably didn’t work.
Employee One: It was almost lunch time by the time we decided our course of action. So, we decided to be done with lunch first rather than start right away and stop in a few minutes. It was about half past one when we started doing problems.
Employee Three: And that’s when someone realised that the problems we were working out weren’t even in his syllabus!!
Employee Two: I am attempting under the new scheme, sir. The sort of questions they were practicing have been deleted in the new scheme! I didn’t want to start another argument so I decided to let them finish a couple of problems before we started doing Finance Management.
Boss: How many did you solve? Two or three?
Employee Three: None…
Employee Two: They were back to arguing. Each did the problem in a different way and arrived at a different answer. They argued which method was easier and which answer was correct. Finally, they checked in the study material and found an altogether simpler method which gave the correct answer in fewer steps. The answer both of them got was wrong!!
Employee One: After an hour tea break we started with Finance Management.
Boss: An hour tea break? What for? What did you do that long?
Employee One: I prepared tea. Then we argued about how bad my tea was.
Employee Three: Finance Management was even worse. Again, we had a method each but this time none of us reached any answer. So, we decided to check in the study material which only left us more confused. None of us understood what they had done there. We tried to explain whatever little bit we each understood and managed to get ourselves worse off than how we were when we started with the problem!!
Boss: So much for doing problems. Please, tell me you at least studied a paragraph theory?
Employee One: No sir.
Employee Two: This time we couldn’t decide on how to study.
Boss: What do you mean how? It’s theory. There cannot be two methods or two different answers. You just had to read!!
Employee Two: But read from what, sir? I wanted to use the reference book by that expert author but…
Employee Three: But I wouldn’t agree to that. The best way to get through theory is to read from the official study material.
Employee One: I didn’t agree with either of them. The best way to study law is to read the bare act. The exact words of the Law!
Boss: So, you were back to arguing! Finally, what did you decide?
Employee Three: The best way to study is to apply things practically, sir.
Boss: What do you mean?
Employee Three: Compromise is what we wanted to study. Let me tell you (looking at employee one) it is something which is not even defined in the Companies Act. It means bringing a dispute to a suitable conclusion. We arrived at a compromise that day, that we will each study on our own and never again even bring up the topic of a combined study!!
-Ashok Sri Krishna