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An estimated 3-minute read

The Usual Salutation: Why are you studying in Lucknow, not Bangalore?

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After few years of studying in a college outside your home town, time and again one has to put up with some prefatory questions whenever you meet anyone- be it the co-passengers on the train or family friends who come home or mentors during internship. This post is about those salutations which become so common to you.

The first question people put to you is- “kya kar rahe ho beta?” “kahan padh rahe ho?”. When I tell one that I am studying in RML National Law University, Lucknow, out of curiosity the first thing I am asked is - Are you from Lucknow? Without giving a second thought, people tend to conclude that I am from Lucknow. The second question in alternate is put as – “oh! So you must be from Lucknow then?”

I frown while answering this question in a negative and tell them I am from Bangalore but studying in Lucknow, I get an unusual surprised look. It is a look which one gets when he is caught shoplifting in front of other shoppers, the ' what were you thinking? Are you out of your mind? Might be a bozo to commit such a blunder?

All this running in ‘quizzer’s’ head, with their eyes scrolling up and down as if identifying me by my physical appearance. The immediate question which comes out is “Why Lucknow of all the places? People go all the way to Bangalore to study”, this is their way if making me feel guilty. You have left a paradise!

Bangalore being an education hub, even the best law school in Asia is in Bangalore. The ones who are aware of the national law schools phenomenon then put a million dollar question that would find you dumbstruck- “Isn’t there a National Law School in Bangalore? Why did you leave that and come here?”

I then humbly begin to explain my dumbness to my fellow questioner. At first I used to give answers like “No we have to make sacrifices for education” which used to be better answer cause I would avoid the whole question in a way. Now, I create a comparative analysis with the known universities- I tell them that There are the IITs and the IIMs and a fairly young category called National Law schools.

As the IITs and IIMs have been created for excellence in science and business respectively, National Law Schools have been created for excellence in legal education. I move on to say that there are about 12-14 universities across the country, the students write an entrance test called CLAT (like the CAT) and then we are allotted in various universities.

And as per my dumbness I did not get into NLSIU because there were about 13,000 people who write the exam and there were only 80 seats in that university. It is then that I get the longest O I have ever heard (I have now heard 63 different Ohs! with many variations in their vocal cords). “OoOoOoo (the capital letters are the high pitch)… So is Lucknow better than Bangalore?”

“By this time I realize this person is not worth talking to—so what would you do? Or what can you do? They just want to prolong the conversation. So I just change the topic- "Great weather today!"

I have faced these questions just so many times that I can predict what is coming up next in my mind. I am already prepared with all my answers and strangely 90% of the times I get the same reaction and I give the same answer.

I appreciate the 5% who appreciate my decision and the 5% who don’t care the what, why, where. I wish punching someone in the face was a salutation so that I could just hit them in the eye and say “That’s where I come from”

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