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An estimated 6-minute read

Legal Poet's STORY- Kaun Banega Crorepati: 1000 words of an EMOTIVE BIOGRAPHY

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Legal Poet’s story- Kaun Banega Crorepati: 1000 words of an emotive biography

Someone had inadvertently disclosed my identity in a comment on the previous ’15 CV Tips’ posts. I was a bit anxious for I had blasted a law firm here before and hope to continue giving a free rein to my pen in future. Eager to divert from the topic I replied with the ‘Bulla ki Jana main Kaun’ song.  

Not remaining anonymous might harm me, I had thought. That thought has changed. Here I am. Thread-bare; bare-hearted.


A.     Hey! You write well!

I’ll leave the very early childhood part and come to that fork in the road when someone said “Hey! You write well”. It was in grade five. The teacher had asked us to write on ‘My favourite television show’. I wrote on ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’. When the teacher had corrected the essays, she asked “So who do you think has written the best essay?

The name of the rank 1 holder was uttered loud and clear by the class. “So you all think only he can write?” the teacher asked. Now, the name of the rank 2 holder (yours truly) was murmured; a feeble murmur.

Hey Tanuj! You write well”, she said, “I have given your essay to the class monitor of the 10th grade for the students of that class to read”! I felt honoured by the comment.

She also gave me two éclairs as a prize. Those two éclairs have been the sweetest eclairs I have had till now.


Poetry came pretty early to me. How? I don’t know. I was in class five, aged around nine or ten when out of the blue I wrote a poem called ‘My Dog’. I was reading a lot on breeds of dogs etc and even had two Boxers as pets, but a poem seemed a bit too far-fetched.

The poem got published in The Tribune, for which I received rupees 50/- as a token of appreciation. The poems: ‘My Cat’, ‘A Sad Monkey’, ‘My Parents’ and ‘My Grandmother’ too fetched me 50/- each.

With 250 bucks earned through poems, the 10 year old that I was, felt pretty rich.


C.      Blood is thicker than water

My father made it a point to let the Principal of the school know of all of these poems; and the big hearted nuns (that my Principals were) were ever generous gifting me cheap key rings with Jesus’s photos inscribed on them. My dad also used to secretly phone the school principal and tell her about my poems. The principal used to call me in the office and discuss the poem with me:

So Taenooj what do you mean by Alsation”? I know my Dad used to put these questions in the Principal’s ear. My dad was enthusiastic about my poems; the Principal took a feigned interest and I hated the whole exercise.


D.     A lot of poems and specialisation

In grade five and six, I wrote a lot of poems. I had dreams that someday my little poems would be used for LKG and UKG classes as a part of their course just like ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ or ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ were.

I thought this was a very opportune moment, and I, all of eleven I started writing small four liners, specially catering to the toddlers and according to me, a perfect fit for the LKG texts.

Sadly, those 30 odd masterpieces were mercilessly torn up by my younger brother, in one of those fights. Ah!


E.      The break and the mentor (Kian, that’s not you. You were probably in Oxford then)

In grades seven and eight and till the end of grade nine I didn’t write any poem. Why? I don’t know. But I was lucky enough to be taught, tutored and mentored by a brilliant English teacher. He allowed me to be as creative as I could be, fanned the flames of my adolescent ego and even made me research on ‘the Nobel Prize for Literature’.

As a student, I never learned any grammar, never felt the need. However, I read like a locust eats. Even when I was too young to go to school, I read through my mother, courtesy the NBT (Nehru Bal Pustakalya) books. The story of ‘Kachra’ (how a boy from the slums is taught by a nice family on how to brush his teeth and bathe his body) still is responsible for the very hygienic me.


F.       Q. Career?

I was pathetic at Maths. My grade 10 mathematics score of 83% sounds good. It is bad. I worked like a donkey. With that sort of work, even a Rhesus monkey would have got an 83%. Some of the questions that I cried over were solved by my younger brother in a jiffy*.

Because I was bad in Maths, that made me bad at Physics and Chemistry too. I liked Biology and though my calculations were lightning quick, (they still are) and quicker than anybody (of my age, older and younger) maths simply was not my cuppa. English was!

So in class nine, the discussions which happen in every middle class family, happened.

Career? “No Engineering. No medicine”. I took the decision. My parents supported me wholeheartedly. In India, this happens in a very few households. I consider myself fortunate. (The expensive Brilliant Tutorials modules subscribed to were left for the insects).


G.     Answer- Law.

Then my parents asked ‘Umm...So what’? They began searching for the answers too. Dad got this book called ‘Careers in Law’ by Manish Arora. Like the locust which eats everything, I read everything. By the time I could say ‘Law’, I had devoured Manish Arora.

NLSIU, entrance test 2004 was before my eyes pretty soon. I saw the paper. ‘Hey! I am game for this’, I said to myself. ‘Yes’! I said to my parents.

The NLS paper then had a lot of short notes/ essays etc. which I and my dad thought would be the perfect foil for my language skills. We both knew how good drafting skills were needed to be a good lawyer. And dad had done law, so I presumed the soundness of what he said.

But an image in the backdrop still flashes before my eyes. The image of my mother asking meekly: ‘Shouldn’t we put him in the writing line (career)?’ And meek words they remained.

That I didn’t do a BA English or a journalism course is proving to be a blessing, a very apparent blessing, without any disguise. That’s another long story...(CLAT, Law and NUJS).


*My brother: IIT-JEE rank 24 (2009), AIEEE rank 59 (2009). I am not dumb at maths. I was probably up against a genious.

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