This article has been submitted by Samarth Singh Rajawat for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think it’s a good read, ‘Like’ the article (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘Comments’ section below.
I was chatting with my internship superior today at lunch when he asked me about my CLAT rank. That question led me down a memory lane and I remembered the journey of the last three years and before. Life is good right now, and I would not trade it for anything else in the world. After all, I’ll be starting my 4th year in July at one of the best law schools in the country, National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR), Hyderabad. And, this is my story.
Being born and raised in Kota (yeah, that IIT place we all have heard of, and dreaded), it would have been almost blasphemous if I hadn’t chosen PCM in XI standard. So like a sanskari, parent-respecting bachha, I followed most of my friends and took the plunge. Bansal Classes and Allen Career Institute hit me like how a tsunami hits an unsuspecting coastal village. Calculus, thermodynamics and benzene structures never became my best friends (to say the least, I hated them) for I was a boy who was used to drown himself in novels and TV shows (read Seinfeld). I sincerely regret screwing up my XII boards, scoring a measly 75% as a consequence of joining (but not attending) a dummy school. It’s one of those things that stay with you forever, but you somehow wish you could go back in time and make things right. Anyway, as expected, I failed miserably at engineering entrances (even the private ones) and was in no man’s land. Dad somehow got the novel idea to get me to fill the CLAT-2012 form (I would be eternally grateful to him for this). My best reaction to that was of nonchalance like, “itne saare form bhar diye hain, ye exam bhi deke dekh lete hain.”
I sat for the NLU-J organized CLAT-2012 with barely five days of self-preparation. As I progressed through the 200 questions, I felt a strange satisfaction of finally being comfortable with and good at something. After handing over the OMR to the invigilator in that hot Jaipur centre, I knew I had done reasonably well. I returned to Kota by the afternoon train and after days of anxiety and nerve-wracking exams, I slept peacefully. It wasn’t long before the results came out and I had secured 123 marks (although my rank was in thousands, because legal aptitude). Whoa! I was astonished at the score considering the time and the resources I had for preparation. My sister and I were finally able to convince dad to let me take a year off and prepare seriously for CLAT-2013. And then came Jaipur.
I joined the best coaching on offer in Rajasthan (presently, the team of CLATPrep in Jaipur), hoping to realize my “national law school dream”. I had to live in a tiny single Lal Kothi PG, even though I had relatives in Jaipur. There, I set the pedal to the metal and devoted myself to solving legal aptitude modules, mugging up current affairs magazines, taking time-bound tests for numerical ability, etc. December arrived and it was time for the mock test season to begin. I braced myself for the All-India mock results and in the first one, I got a rank of 12. It was only onwards and upwards from there as I never let my rank slip out of the top 10 for the remaining mocks. This entire ruckus went on till February and soon AILET loomed large. I was confident of doing well in NLU-D but alas, it wasn’t my day. I made some silly mistakes for which I could do little more than pull my hair out in abject despair. SLS-Pune was amazing and I hoped to make it to the PI stage. At last, came the big one, CLAT-2013. The exam centre was the same as in 2012 and I thought myself to be lucky. I coasted through the paper and after the exam I knew that I had done well enough to secure top four. For the first time in a year, I had a stress-free sleep on that fateful Sunday night.
Then came the results day and I started checking the website from morning. I was trembling throughout as the CLAT people decided to delay the results till the evening. I was battling thoughts like “what if I attempted too many questions wrongly?”, “what if life screws me over yet again?” and “what if I don’t get anything above Patiala?”. My heart skipped beats as I scrolled down the PDF file which contained the results. 1 to 40, nothing; 41 to 60, zilch; 61 to 80, nada. I was sinking but then I saw a familiar name. Marks-138, Rank-94, NALSAR. I made it to the best law school in the country. I went batshitcrazy, punched the wall and yelled out a hindi expletive (read bhench**d) but my mom didn’t care about it. She was the proudest mom on the planet that moment. I called dad and he congratulated me. That night, for the first time in my life, he offered me a drink. It was priceless!
The rest of the journey has been amazing and will continue to be. I have completed three years in Shamirpet and had all the fun: be it academics, classes, submissions, internships, football, dhaba trips, booze and dope. NALSAR has polished me as a person and made me a lot wiser. It has given me a multitude of perspectives and has improved my overall personality. To this day, I keep telling myself to never back down.
Samarth Singh Rajawat
IV year, NALSAR
PS- The author’s drunk and stoned shenanigans in Jaipur while preparing for CLAT have deliberately been omitted, for obvious reasons. Be good kids and study sincerely.