This article has been submitted by Janardhan Padhupati 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.
I wrote the Common Law Admission Test 2013. The same year that those who wrote the first Test in 2008 would graduate from law school. As I sit here writing this, I do not know if five years from now I’d have the same privilege.
I have big workmen’s hands and big workmen’s shoulders, but for those two hours, I used that tool in my belt I like most, my brain. I sat there at 2.45PM on may 12th in a large comfy chair with a large comfy desk, and I thought about how I’ve spent the last year of my life preparing for these last two hours. My preparation was intermittent to the extent of almost non-existent, apart from the 8 days right before this. In those 15 minutes, I close my eyes, relax, allow myself to rest before the battle, to collect my wits.
I think about today morning, and by morning I mean 12:30 in the morning, where I’m fidgeting in my bed trying to convince myself to shut down, go to sleep. I need a well-rested mind, no amount of preparation and mock tests and guide books are going to save me if I don’t a good night’s sleep, make sure I’m awake at that big comfy desk. So, my eyes deceive me for the next 3 hours, telling me I’m asleep. I wake at 3.30. I see there’s no point in trying to tell myself to go to sleep, so I pull myself off the bed, into the kitchen with no real purpose. I drink that day’s first glass of orange juice. Before the sun’s risen, I’d have drunk 5 more.
Hoping to ease my conscience and fear, I decide I’ll study some more GK. The good thing about GK is, you can never stop studying it, and with the tiniest of effort you feel you’ve learnt a lot. The guilt will be assuaged. I know the real reason I’m starting up the big Mac isn’t to study GK. Time will be wasted as it has before, watching courtroom dramas, sitcoms, picture after picture on TrollFootball on Facebook…..anything but studying GK.
The computer’s on my login, I open up Safari, and go to clatgyan.com. I don’t wanna study compendiums, I wanna go to The Window. I wanna go to the Window and learn all there is to be known about everything I don’t need to until the CLAT results are out. But I do. I read the article on destroying my phony confidence and smile to myself….this is about a week late. I draw confidence from the fact that someone who barely prepared got Rank 52. I have no choice but to.
My mother wakes up at 6, makes me two omelets out of two eggs. I supplement that with a packet of Lays and a packet of Top Ramen. and 3 more glasses of orange juice. Usually I’d give myself hell for eating so much junk food at one go, but I don’t even have the energy to do that in my head. It’s 630AM, my nerves decide to kick it up a notch, just for fun, the way nerves do. I might as well use this time I’m awake constructively, doing some of those things I’ve been passionately postponing for the last year, like studying the 8th class level maths – that’s one of the biggest jokes the CLAT committee ever came up with, and man, those guys sure know how to make jokes. They’ve been doing it for 5 years, and this year, just to be extra funny, they decide every wrong answers gonna mean a deduction of a quarter of a mark.
I pick up these copies of another coaching centres books I’ve technically plagiarised by xeroxing, and go through the first page. The first para down my minds wandering, so I decide to move to the questions. I always learnt better by making mistakes. I do a chapter, move onto the next, time myself. I’m asleep on the table in exactly 15 minutes. I get up and go sleep on my parent’s bed, next to my little brother, to whom I’ve been promising my room once I leave for college. I don’t want to disappoint him on that.
Next thing I know it’s 12 noon, my usual waking time. I go through all those routines we do in the morning, and make the biggest decision of the day….should I shave or not?
I’m on much better spirits now, and my morbid humour has left me. I feel like Cassius Clay must have before he got into the ring with Joe Frazier. I look at this test like me at the crease, my guard taken on the middle stump, on the balls of my feet, just waiting for the baller to attack me. I’m ready to ruthlessly pull that short, slow, bouncer, the scourge of the Indian pitch out of the stadium. I’m ready to take every ball to every corner of the field, and score my double century. I guess it makes all the difference, playing like Sehwag instead of Laxman.
My father drives me to Nalsar and we talk of this and that as I let my eyes peruse Competition Success Review’s 2012 End of Year Book, something I’d been planning to do on Thursday. We reach Nalsar, and I’m relieved that there’s enough time to listen to that playlist I made of songs to pump me up before the exam. Every person from every group I’ve ever been part of has descended on Justice City that day, but I share only perfunctory greetings as I focus on those songs. I’ve got 7 text messages from friends, but I don’t bother even reading them. All that can wait. I need to focus.
It’s 2.30 and we start getting shepherded to our sea. I’ve found my comfy chair and comfy desk in the upper floor of the library, and I sit down to take that test which will decide whether or not I will be considered a merit to society this year. No pressure.There’s no one in front or behind me, no one I can cheat off.
4.45 and I’m done. Annoyed that it took 10 minutes more than I’d planned, I go back and revisit those answers I’m not sure of. Come 5.00 the paper is taken from me, and I subside into viewing the scenery around me, an advantage law as a discipline will always have over other fields.
I come out, I rejoice with friends that it’s over, and I truly am happy. I’ve done well. That’s what I tell anybody who asks, and I meant it every single time. My father and I have a thorough discussion on the way back what is going to happen, what’re my options on different contingencies. I get back to my room and play my guitar after months.
The day couldn’t have gone better and it ends with a glass of orange juice.