This article has been submitted by Sharwari Pandit for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think this article is a good read, ‘Like’ this article on Facebook (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘comments’ section below.
24th March 2012, Kuwait
My last board exam. Math. I prayed that it would be easy. Between applications to business schools in the US, law schools in the UK and my for-the-namesake preparation for CLAT, my boards had been, to put it modestly,’ neglected’.
A lot of people found the paper easy. I didn’t. In fact, after I failed to prove the first theorem (one of those draconian 6 markers), that familiar rush of adrenaline took over. The veins on the back of my hands popped out, heat flashes reined galore, and the familiar screaming in my head drowned every other thought that struggled to emerge from it. Borderline teenage anxiety disorder is never an advantage, but when it gives you a ‘check – mate’ like this one, few things rival the horror. So I went on autopilot for those three hours, and emerged from the examination hall as the sociopath I was to be for the next few weeks.
30th March 2012, Mumbai
My first day at the CLAT Training Centre consisted of repeatedly informing those who inquired about my origins that I had come from Kuwait –
Yes, a country near Dubai,
Yes, I was an N.R.I (eligible for N.R.I quotas in some NLSs, a few classmates promptly noted),
Yes, I had other offers from universities ‘abroad’,
and lastly , Yes , I still wanted to write the CLAT.
Why was I writing the CLAT? I always replied, “No idea!”, and truly, I hadn’t the faintest clue.
All I knew was that after years of studying Chemistry, Physics and gibberish, CLAT allowed me to do what I genuinely loved – reading, Gathering Knowledge( yes, GK could be an acronym for this too!), analyzing and most importantly – THINKING! After writing dozens of examinations which tested my ability to memorize pointless facts and formulae, and subsequently vomit them onto the answer sheet, here was an examination that just wanted to check if I could use my head and had a sound reading habit.
So, for the next 75 days, I lumbered through a tangled myriad of Logical Arguments and Series, Legal Principles , vocab boosters and of course, the G.K compendiums ( which, let me inform you were my saving grace. Having lived outside the nation for a decade, I was oblivious enough to certain facts to draw unbelieving stares from my classmates). Mock Paper after paper, practice sheet after exhausting practice sheet, I trudged on, fuelled by my love for what I was doing, and shielded from the panic, because it had done its worst. With each conquest in my preparation, I shed a little more of my fear and embraced a smile wider than the last. I made a promise unto myself – the math section of the paper, it was going to be my baby, I decided.
13th May, 2012, Mumbai
The first paper of my life I faced fearlessly. Life is a lot easier if you don’t panic, and so is the paper, I realized. G.K was my nemesis anyways, and years of quizzing in high school ensured that my score remained at the same level with static G.K as it had been with current affairs (it was miserable score anyway, a 25-26/50).
When I reached the legal aptitude section, the legal principles were missing!! But that was the trick, you see. CLAT claimed you needed no legal knowledge to solve the paper. All you had to do was remember this claim of theirs.( I didn’t remember any legal stuff anyway). The law is never unfair or unreasonable. No one expects you to recollect the principle; they simply want you to remember this and use that formidable weapon – Logic! So hand in hand, Logic and I solved the remaining paper.
And math, math was my baby as promised!! Need I say any more?
28th May, 2012, Kuwait
An enormous sense of relief swept over me as CBSE’s results portal informed me that I had not failed Math. Universities sort of snatch their offers away if you fail.
Blissfully oblivious to the CLAT result (it was a hopeless case anyway), I opened my latest Facebook message from a friend in NLIU .It read, “OH MY GOD 146 IN CLAT, AIR 47 IS JUST AMAZING”.
Forty freaking seventh????? ME??? Holy. Mother. Of.God.
I had 2 months of training and had managed to come 47th in a pool of 26,000 applicants. AIso, I was just an N.R.I a.k.a ignoramus.
Q. How on earth did I manage it???
Ans. A. Freak Accident (Scanner malfunctioning, etc.)
B. Not sleeping and maniacally studying like a nerdy zombie for 2 months.
C. Focusing on getting a high score myself, not on memorizing the scores of everyone around me and panicking every day in class.
D. Thoroughly, absolutely LOVING what I studied during those 75 days. Because it was just so much FUN!
HINT: There may be more than one correct answer. Choose the most appropriate one/ones and learn an indispensable life lesson.