Year 2007. Council of Higher Secondary Education’s 12th exam. Otherwise, known as +2. Exams go miserably bad.
This kid goes to appear the NALSAR exam. By the way, there was no Common Law Admission Test back in the day. There were individual entrance exams for these national law universities.
Now, the kid had persuaded his parents that this National Law School business is too cool. And this is something he is tailor-made to do.
He is in Calcutta to appear the NALSAR entrance exam. He is there 30 hours before the exam because he genuinely believes that he will revise whatever he has studied so far. He goes off to sleep to get rid of his lethargy after hours of travel.
He wakes up after a few hours. His friend, who had accompanied him for this exam, tells him that there is this very cool water park around. And it is cheap. They would not have the time to go there after the exam because they already have their tickets booked for their way back home. The kid, with a bit of initial hesitation, leaves.
They stay inside the pools for hours, go for roller coasters umpteen number of times, tubes, etc. for hours, come back, are tired, go off to sleep. They wake up 4 hours before the exam. The kid has a running nose, with a terrible cold. His entire plan of revising whatever he had studied in the past one month goes haywire.
He goes for the exam, answers the paper for an hour, sneezes and cleans his nose for an hour, screws up his paper and gets back. He manages to get a rank of 1300 in that exam.
His family tells him that these law schools are not his cup of tea.
Still, the kid discovers something new in his life. He discovers, after his entire stint with the NALSAR exam and the preparation for it prior to the exam, that he is naturally good at the subjects these national law schools’ entrance exams have to offer.
He feels good. Is this his destiny? Is he meant to become a lawyer? He feels better after he tops in English in his entire Junior College. He, actually, feels great. But 3 of his paternal uncles, 2 maternal uncles and almost every aunt do not, as usual, have this feel-good factor.
And each one of them had, amongst many other noble things, one common thing to say, “tere is rishtedaar ke us rishterdaar ke woh uncle ko dekh na! Har din Court mein baithkar chana chabaate rehte hain! Tujhe bhi banna hai unki tarah?” [Look at that relative’s relative’s uncle. He idly munches on chana at the court everyday. Do you want to end up like him?]
Meanwhile, he had appeared every medical entrance exam that were there in his state because his parents, paternal grandparents, maternal grandparents, every person in his family, his first neighbor, second neighbor and so on and so forth, ‘dreamt’ of seeing him become a doctor.
But by now he was sure that he is not going to do anything apart from law.
The first person he managed to convince was his dad. And unfortunately, the last person also. His mom, uncles, aunts, blah, blah, blah and blah, all of them still continue to believe that it was a wrong decision on his part to become a lawyer.
With his dad’s approval and defense against the entire ‘khaandaan’ and ‘extended khaandaan’, he decided to drop a year, joined a law entrance coaching institute and started preparing hard. All hell broke loose when he got intimation from a Medical College to do ‘Dental’ with them. Words spread.
In this kid’s case, it spread like a wild forest fire. The word medical (or ‘dental’) was like Beethoven’s symphony to his relatives’ ears.
They started giving thanksgiving prayers for their kid’s achievement. They were ecstatic.
But the kid…he had his own plans. He goes to his dad. And tells him what ‘he’ wants to do in ‘his’ life. What ‘he’ is comfortable with. How ‘he’ loves English and General Knowledge and not Biology and Chemistry. He told him why ‘he’ himself has the sole right to decide his future and not anybody else.
His dad, being ‘his’ dad, lets him go ahead with it.
Next year, in 2008, CLAT came in place for the first time. He appeared that exam.
Today, the kid is a graduate from NUJS. And is still doing with his life what he always wanted to do with his life.