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As a grade VII student, I dreamt of going to a law school and the image in my head was that of a prim and proper disciplined university, where the students would be updating themselves with current affairs 24x7, where there would be truck-loads of academic tasks at hand all the time, where extra-curricular activities would be essential and the act of juggling between that and academics would make or break careers. The seeming reality was that coping with the routine there would be the short term and the long term goal, the competition there would kill and thus, I had concluded that my lifestyle there would traumatically take a turn for the worse.

Well, to my disappointment but fortunately, my “oh-so dreamy” National Law School turned out to be almost opposite.

My law school is like a whale. It scares most, it is a dream for others to touch it but it sure as hell makes everybody curious. From afar, it seems intimidating and the dream of being associated with it, well, a far-fetched dream but once I was close enough I  learnt that all I needed to do was to identify the loop-holes, as in every law, and just work around it. All its charms then, seemed like hypnosis to me. I realised that it is really not all that strenuous, one just has to survive.

Its inhabitants (i.e. my species) are characterised by the fact that we have multiple “mates” (please don your imagination hats),  we make a system of teaching, learning, co-operating and scheming work by having a strong sense of solidarity amongst ourselves. Popular anti-institutional feelings also exist in us and respect for seniors of our own species is evident through our conduct. The “non-student” species don’t really command a lot of attention or respect by virtue of being regarded redundant with respect to their skills.

A fun fact, whales can’t sleep for long lest they should drown as they need to keep breathing consciously. This is the best definition of a law student that has ever come my way. While we are there, we can, mostly, afford to slack but when “the time” comes (i.e. 2-3 days before exams or submissions), we become “conscious” of how screwed we are and so we start to splash some water here and there. We wriggle our way through by working just enough to get our head above the water.

The “giggling” is what 90% of any law school is made of. The ratio of the instant case is “no play makes jack a dull boy” (the ‘all work’ part is obiter dicta). The contention of the ‘learned’ seniors is that after 5 years we will be carrying the ancillary burdens of a firm, we will be the donkey working for 15 hours a day, so with regards to the present, we should use some good quality herbs, drink some strong ferments, take in the aroma, sit back and have the time of our life and if the above is not really our choice, we could get high on good food (NOT what we get in the mess), hostel drama, bad jokes, our late night chat sessions and constructively pass our time by finding proxy sites that further our freedom of speech and expression.

Over-imaginative analogies aside, according to me, law is not something that can be learnt in the classroom or applied once you wrote-learn it. The actual learning of law happens during the non-graded exams. Its application may be learnt through moots, skill of argumentation may be developed through quarrels within the same species, a habit of working hard may be inculcated by learning to comply with the deadlines, tactics to make the system work may be learnt through pestering the administration to fulfil our needs but most of all we are trained to win by surviving this law school, not because the law is hard but because the life that we have while learning it, makes the best of us sweat.

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