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Writing Competition - 2013
‘My CLAT Story’ – by Pallavi Panigrahi (AIR 2 – CLAT 2012)
Friday, June 29, 2012, 0:20
28th May 2012 – CLAT and CBSE results to be announced on the same day.
Oh no! This was exactly the combination that I dreaded most.
How will I fare in the exams?
Is it going to be a lose-lose, lose-win or win-win situation ?
The anxiety was mounting.
The unsparing summer was making things no better.
I was travelling from my home town Cuttack to Bhubaneswar, a distance of about 20 kms, to be at my school in time for the CBSE results.
I kept on giving myself the auto-suggestion – keep cool and hope for the best.
I remembered something that I had read in Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist”- It is about something called the “beginner’s luck”, something that you get because life wants you to achieve your destiny.
And I was a beginner – at the threshold of a career and adult life.
Maybe I would also have “the beginner’s luck”.
By the time I reached my school, both the results were out.
CBSE – 93.4%
What about CLAT?
Rumours had started making the rounds that I had got the AIR 2nd rank.
But there were no means of confirming it myself.
- The official site isn’t opening…
- Yes! CLATGyan has a link… But it’s taking too long to open.
- It still hasn’t opened.
- It’s opening, it’s opening… WHAT?
I found my name and rank and it reminded me of “the beginner’s luck” that I had thought of some time back about cracking the CLAT, a mission that my family had codenamed as ‘chak de clat’
* * *
Hello, everybody. This is how my CLAT story goes.
Teacher: Pallavi, what is your aim in life?
Me: Ma’am, I want to become a lawyer.
Teacher: A what?
Me: A lawyer.
Teacher: Do you want to waste your life? You should grow up to be an engineer! Thinking about anything else is just a waste of time.
This is how the second conversation about my career choice went. Needless to say, the first time I had talked about this was with my parents. Fortunately, my parents were supportive from the very beginning. They understood that I had neither the aptitude nor the inclination towards science. They understood my need to do something that I thought I would be good at. But then, convincing my parents about my career choice was the only easy part in my CLAT journey.
Going against the advice of countless relatives and numerous supposed well wishers, I opted for commerce after 10th (another cardinal sin in my part of the world) and enrolled myself in a CLAT coaching centre.
I always believed that two years of sustained labour would get me into any of the top ranked law schools. I went through coaching material, made regular notes from newspaper, took about fifty on-line and OMR sheet mock tests.
It was difficult to handle the twin pressures of CBSE and CLAT. I took a two days break after the CBSE exam and for the next 40 days, time just flew. I stuck to an eight hour study schedule with a few breaks in between; but hardly missed my favourite TV serial or reading my favourite book, checking my mail or chatting a little on Facebook.
Would you believe it, on the night before CLAT, I actually saw a movie!
This time CLAT had a centre in my hometown Cuttack. I reached the centre well in time. Once I entered the exam hall, I tried to compose myself, took a long breath, muttered my prayers to God and then came the time of real test. I concentrated hard, finished about twelve minutes before time and made a quick revision of a couple of sections. And then it was all over.
I had given it the best that I was capable of.
I heaved a sigh of relief. At last, the exams were off my shoulder. But the relief was short lived and with every passing day, as D-day approached, the wait was getting more and more agonising.
Finally, the CLAT results were out and I landed the 2nd rank (the rank came as a pleasant surprise though I hoped that I would do reasonably well)
* * *
Happy ending, right? But does anything ever really end?
A random aunt: What’s there in CLAT? It’s so easy.
A random uncle: You took the easier way out. Didn’t have to walk that extra mile.
But I am happy. I am happy because my hard work was vindicated. I am happy because I have achieved what I have always wanted to. I am happy because ultimately the mission ‘chak de clat’ is accomplished.
I had my share of heart-breaks. Many a time, there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel.
There’s still a long way to go. There are many more mountains to climb. There are a lot more exams to be taken.
But I am hopeful.
I have even started believing in those life changing lines from ‘The Alchemist’ with greater conviction – “When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it.”
So, follow your heart, pursue your dream and be part of the beautiful conspiracy of the universe.
All India Rank 2 – CLAT 2012.
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