By Harjass Singh
One night in our third year, as a group of us shared our internship-related worries over chicken rolls and cold-coffee at “Goutam’s”, Javed remarked: “At least our kids won’t have to face such a predicament. We’ll just have to make a few phone calls … by then, our batch mates will probably be the who’s who of their professions.”
Javed’s wishful thinking helped take our minds off our immediate concerns that night. On the one hand, it provided some much-needed humour in an otherwise tense environment; and on the other, it humoured our hitherto insecure ‘National Law School’ egos.
The renowned journalist Ian Jack correctly pointed out that writing about places often becomes possible only when a writer has left them.
As I count down to my first day as a legal professional in Delhi, I find myself reminiscing about such instances from my five eventful years in Calcutta.
The distance, I believe, has lent some perspective to these memories.
On May 29th 2008, over a hundred of us stepped into the esteemed corridors of NUJS with unjaded minds, sporting broad smiles. Long gone were the troublesome “mock” tests, and tireless balancing of board exams with competitive entrance tests.
We were finally living the dream of studying in a top-notch National Law School.
Despite this sense of satisfaction, I remember nervously wondering whether, having been admitted into one of India’s elite legal institutions, I would be able to match the competition and carve a niche for myself.
Five years on, I believe this initial anxiety was redundant. You see, from the outside, one tends to view education at these institutions as a race between hordes of people trying to accomplish the same goal. Studying at NUJS taught me that nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, our five years in NUJS turned out to be an extremely fruitful exercise in self-realisation. A chunk of the graduating batch will be remembered as teachers’ pets that, to our bewilderment, scored straight ‘E’s on a regular basis.
Others utilized time vigourously perfecting their skill in sports, music, dance and drama.
Then, there were those who devoted more attention to their moot memos, debate practices, and MUN position papers than to their course modules.
We also had the wildly popular pranksters who managed to throw fire-crackers into teachers’ offices and the occasional milk packet on the professors themselves.
Yet, despite such a diverse confluence of interests and characters, there was (for the most part) mutual respect for each other’s talents and aspirations.
Not to mention, law school always had an innate ability to throw up fodder for gossip and controversy just as things started falling into a routine.
It also provided the perfect platform for sports buffs to enjoy an amazingly charged viewing experience with everyone willing to voice their opinions and participate wholeheartedly in ensuing arguments. One could also always count on numerous parties, fests and celebrations to break the monotony of hostel life.
To a large extent, each of us had the opportunity and freedom to find our calling and foster our hobbies in law school. I, for one, have always enjoyed the lure of co-curricular activities.
Moreover, travelling and experiencing new places, foods and cultures remains a favourite pass-time. So through paper presentations at international Conferences, Debates, MUNs, and a somewhat delayed foray into Mooting; I tried to combine these twin passions during my time at NUJS.
Thus, in hindsight, our years in law school weren’t about finding the ‘best’ amongst us. They were about recognizing and respecting the qualities each of us brought to the table.
Today, while some among our batch of fresh graduates are joining law firms and companies (in India and abroad), others are getting busy with their fledgling litigation practices.
A few of my friends have started their own pioneering business ventures, others are preparing for government service as regulators and future civil servants, while some have chosen to study further (be it LLMs, JDs or even foreign languages).
Having witnessed immense potential over five years, as I watch my friends mould their post-law school lives around their own unique ambitions; I am optimistic that Javed’s nonchalant remark about our batch mates’ long-term success that tense summer evening, might end up becoming a pretty accurate prophecy.
Harjass Singh is an alumnus of NUJS, Kolkata.
CLATapult is a CLAT Coaching Institute based out of Kolkata and Bhubaneswar. It was started in 2012 by some students of NUJS.