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Compulsory Voting  On the 16th of December 2009. Gujarat government announced that it will pass an Act on the Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2009.The amendment will voting compulsory for all citizens of Gujarat to vote to elections to a self governing...
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“I’ve got it, Bob!”, exclaims Katie (Colby, Hewitt and Richards’s pretty young graduate recruitment officer). “We can use the leftover budget to sponsor a moot in India to increase our visibility among law students, you know.” 

No sooner do the words come out of her perfect, round mouth than the taste of bile assails mine. I feel a distant pounding in my ears. For the avoidance of doubt, these phenomena are not caused by butterflies of excitement spreading their wings. 

[Please for a moment ignore the ongoing heated debate about the legitimacy of the Mooting Premier League's scoring system and LegalPoet’s good-hearted exhortation of Tom’s, Dick’s, Alice's(?) and Harry’s efforts in
15 CV TIPS: Make RECRUITERS pounce on you like DOGS ON BONES and The drunk PIPO]

[Listen to ME carefully now.]

My objection to mooting is simple-stripped to its very core, mooting is THE most overrated activity in existence, invented and indulged in by second-rate individuals with diminished libidos. 

You see, several years ago, as a fresher I succumbed to the charms of the convenor, and found myself bailiff-ing for a moot court competition. I see today why those four hours of my life were not entirely wasted- based on this harrowing experience, I can proceed forthwith to destroy myths Katie harbours about mooting. 



Certain rotten and diabolical individuals have led Katie to believe that the competition is between the two teams that are mooting. Nothing could be further from the truth. This disgraceful contest is between the fabulous mooter hero and the villainous moot judge - mano e mano. The other team is just a bonus thrown in to double the fun.

I explain to Katie that it’s the blatant unfairness of the system that gets me worked up.

Here’s the mix. Even the most magnificent mooter has, at best, a vague idea about what he’s arguing. His nemesis, on the other hand, is someone who already knows all the answers (usually by virtue of being provided with a little something called a bench memorandum). The mooter’s faked sincerity mixed with his desperation to triumph against all odds, however, lends to the contest a hint of touching romance.

The audience knows there’s only one way this can end. They may as well have ordered a pizza, rented a slasher movie and stayed at home. Their interest in proceedings is sustained by the variety of methods that are used to humiliate the student gladiator, some examples of which can be found below-

  1. Some judges are not simply content with being all-knowing and all-powerful. They feel the irresistible urge to let everyone else in the room (i.e., friends, foes and most importantly prospective beaus) know that the mooter is actually a dummy. (Well technically- they have good reason to feel smarter than the mooter, armed with that memorandum and being done with law school two decades ago, you’d think?).
  2. Another bunch of judges mistake the mooter’s grand speech for a lullaby and believe a nap would give them greater insight into the meaning of life. Since these judges then go completely dead to the world, they are immune to the mooter’s best weapons- operatic voice modulation and effective hand movements. Disaster.
  3. Another particularly bad kind of judge is the one that is starved of the company of the opposite sex. Stare as much as you want while the pretty girl is speaking, but shouldn’t the ogling stop at least when the fabulous one is strutting his stuff?
  4. By common consensus, the worst kind of judge is a sub-set of 1 and 3 above- the moot judge with great hair who takes a fancy to the mooter’s co-speaker cum prospective girlfriend. Once the mooter realises the threat, caution is cast to the wind and the moot hall becomes an amphitheatre. The only question to be decided is who has the larger manhood. At this point, the moot judge simply performs a delicate CBM operation on the mooter (more commonly known as “Castration-By-Marking”, a procedure pioneered by frustrated law school professors). 

Ergo, no team ever really wins. It's always the moot judge who goes home with his family jewels honour intact and, in most cases, takes the love of the mooter’s life along with him (courtesy: private moot-related feeback sessions for the faultless, devastated co-speaker). 

The mooter swears revenge on the judge and the cycle repeats itself ten years later- only this time, the villainous judge is the ex-mooter himself.



Still reeling from this earth-shattering revelation, poor Katie bravely makes the argument that (despite enduring humiliation on such a regular basis) mooters are still revered as the masters of the law school universe.

I hate to burst this one. I explain gently to Katie that “Coolness” does not associate with an individual who:

  1. has vivid dreams of winning the award for best 'oralist' (not aware that the word actually pertains to the hearing-impaired who communicate by lip-reading, not to mention the word's new-age definition: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=oralist).
  2. has answered a "Whats up?" question at two ‘levels’ (like a duplex apartment);
  3. has worn borrowed spectacles for the intellectual effect;
  4. has sweated profusely in the same black suit several times;
  5. has owned three black ties and never heard of a cummerbund;
  6. shaves rarely, only to miss a spot resulting in a Hitler-Chaplin moustache on D-Day (and a cracked rib for the silently chuckling bailiff);
  7. has never been wrong (especially at interviews where openness to new ideas is assessed);
  8. has carried little post-it notes in his/her pocket on vacations.
  9. cannot tell the difference between non-mooters and annoying insects.
  10. has devoted serious thought and research on whether non-mooters turn out completely normal later in life.
  11. was tolerated in law school solely for his value as a source of late-night cigarettes (so much stress, so many choices- Vienna? Jessup? Lachs?) 


I could go on. But I stop- pretty Katie is crestfallen. I think she realises her graduate recruitment plan isn’t all that grand (or humane) anymore. As a reward for showing her the light, she suggests we spend the excess graduate recruitment budget on dinner for two at Le Gavroche tonight. 

Modern Bob's your uncle (wink wink).

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  Once there was a thirsty crow. It was so very thirsty that it could have drunk the whole pond in which my buffaloes and I bathe. But unlike other stories like these, this crow thought himself to be too cool....
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As I smoke my morning cigarette (admittedly a disgusting habit I picked up back in college), I suddenly miss India. I shiver against the wind in cold, dark, damp London. It’s 7.30 a.m. and its pitch dark. Even after three and a half years, I still have times when I wonder what I am doing here.

What makes this the Promised Land? A question I have asked myself (and others) a million times before and one I still haven't found an answer to.

Since there are a couple of hours to go for work, I set out to make a list of things that could explain possibly why a young wide-eyed law student comes over to (quite literally) the dark side.

Here is what I came up with (in no particular order):


  1. has been morbidly fascinated by Yashraj movies from an early age (i.e., ever since he/she learnt what NRI means);
  2. has had dangerous levels of exposure to Monty Python’s Flying Circus;
  3. believes James Bond is a real person;
  4. hopes to get with a hot foreign chick/guy (a separate blog entry shall have to be devoted to this rather fond hope);
  5. is charmed by the accent of the hot chick/guy in 4 above (which he/she later realises is closer to Geoffrey Boycott being strangled than Yes Minister);
  6. wishes that the great tan he/she was born with be appreciated (while his/her friends still use Fair & Lovely/Handsome);
  7. finds out that Europe is closer to London than Bangalore;
  8. wants to be the automatic choice for best leg-spinner in the firm's cricket team (and he/she wants to rub it in when India beats the South African second XI);
  9. needs more grocery money than the obscene amounts Indian firms pay graduates;
  10. appreciates human-prototype billable hour targets (because donkey-testing is banned in the UK);
  11. wants to sweat less (logical corollary to 10 above. Also related to the weather, although there was a 33 degree Celsius heat wave in the UK last year); or
  12. is certifiable and wants to multi-task (or build his/her CV, which has forever been a favourite hobby of law students- please refer to Multitasking- The 'certified' way).

I feel a lot better about things having undertaken this much-needed analysis. I whistle softly to myself as I put on my suit and knot my tie.

The next lot of eager starry-eyed Indian trainees is due to start at Colby, Hewitt and Richards LLP today.


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