I Repeat and Therefore I am


This article was originally published on 25th of October, 2011.

[Arka Saha reveals all about what it is like to drop a year for the sake of the CLAT and what actually goes on in that one year despite all intentions to study. Making the choice between a lower rung NLU and dropping a year is a very tough decision for anyone to make and Arka has made the decision that he feels is best for him. He is not the only one who takes this path. In fact it is a predominant trend for people to drop a year and re-take the CLAT. We wish Arka all the best for CLAT 2012. – Saachi Kapoor, CG]

It all began on the 22nd of March, 2011. While walking out of the CBSE board exam centre I was allotted, I realized I had a major decision to make. Not only had I written the day’s math paper horribly, but the copious amount of expectations riding on me had already started to crack. It made way for the convoluted, invidious disappointment that always seemed to befall my scientist parents, after every one of my science exams. It was then that I decided to look for an alternate career.Anything. Not science. Not medicine. Not engineering. In the next few days, an aunt of an aunt (or someone to that effect) suggested law,which got me thinking. Being the HUGE Boston Legal fan I am, it seemed to be an incredibly easy choice. I too could be the contumacious,egregious, flamboyant lawyer Alan Shore is. I too could trot around in a fancy suit with all the important briefcases in hand,disseminating every other guy who would get in my way. Someone mentioned CLAT. Whatever.

The very next week, I was off to Chennai.  Apparently, they had this super awesome coaching institute there. Masters at alchemy, they could turn every other lead-headed person who attended into a golden CLAT topper. Twenty-eight days of preparation. Now this was awesome with a capital ‘A’. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Though it was intimidating to see droppers, double droppers, triple droppers and third year law students who knew everything there was to know about the CLAT, I managed to fare pretty well in the mocks. The pattern this year was revolutionary, I was told. It had leveled the playing field. No longer would the new-comers have to cram static GK and legal knowledge. CLAT was an aptitude test this time.

The paper was a total freak show.I had a choice to make. Again. Join a lower rung NLU, whose allotment list I had barely managed to creep into, courtesy of being a domicile,or to take the year off and rebuild to fight, come 2012. I opted for the latter. I was spanked thoroughly for it.

‘A lot can change in a year! Being the desultory fellow you are, you’d be out with that no good band of yours in a week, shaking your dreaded hair around at those pot smoking hippie friends of yours!’ said dadi.

Everything I said in order to justify my decision was struck down on grounds of being deleterious to my future and our family name. Quite forcefully at that. But I had made up my mind. ‘Next year pucca one of the top five law schools …mother promise’.

Slowly, their anger was replaced by a cursory equanimity, much to my delight. ‘I’ll camp at the LST centre here, study for ten hours daily,buy all the books I can and pray fifteen times a day. What could possibly go wrong?’ And with that, I was all set.

Four months in, I have already been in and out of about four major bouts of depression, eaten two hundred kilos of fried chicken, made about thirty timetables and watched around a hundred movies. Also, I have managed to lose five kilos and develop acne. Let me tell you, sitting at home all day can take its toll on anybody. Eighteen hours a day, your mind is bound to excoriate you for your mistakes, past and future. Four months in, the insecurities have also started to kick in. Big time. I barely get an hour or two of work done a day, one day a week. Rarely, motivation hits me and I draw up afresh, new, super-potent timetable. ‘CLAT 2012 SUPER ACTION PLAN’ read the timetable that is stuck to my wardrobe at the time of writing.

Oh well. I guess I still have a shot. ’CLAT 2012 SUPER ACTION PLAN’ is bound to work. Even if it does not, I am still way better off than I was last year …I know who Arun Jaitley and Fathima Bhutto are this time around. I have also added a bunch of new words to my everyday vocab and learnt by heart the multiplication tables up to 17! And that is bound to make a difference!

Arka Saha


  1. Arka, brilliant post my man. No Telebrands-style look-what-I’m-going-through bullshit. Straight confessions. At the same time, I know sometime soon you’ll realize, the harder you try the harder it becomes to get there.

    Peace. Take it easy. 

  2. rofl.!! arka… i guess ds story matchz wd d life of evry 5nd student whoz preprn to screw ds monstor cald CLAT! 😉 nywyz… do lemme knw if 1 of d 100 1000 of yaw tym table cmz to ny hlp 😉
    n ALL DA BEST!
    i dropd ds year too O.o
    letz break d jawz of CLAT ds tym! 😉 🙂

  3. Very well written! Just don’t lose hope and keep working hard. Also, don’t forget to enjoy life. Go out with friends, play sports, watch movies etc. Just keep your current affairs up-to-date and work on your weak areas more. Rest you will only study in April no matter how hard you try now.
    I can say that from experience as my journey was no different. Chucked engg to drop for CLAT. Made it to GNLU and I have absolutely nothing to regret.

    All the best 🙂

  4. rite..a dropper life is so different everyday we regret for what we have done and then again at night make up a time table to study 

  5. ‘A lot can change in a year! Being the desultory fellow you are, you’d be out with that no good band of yours in a week, shaking your dreaded hair around at those pot smoking hippie friends of yours!’
    Your dadi really said that? Cool lady she must be…

  6. dude thats why i joined Delhi Univercity’s B.com program…. 🙂 but still i wanna have a go CLAT 2012… At the end of the day we all want to see ourself at the place we always dream of…
    All the best.. 🙂

  7. hey… if you didn’t feel like an idiot everyone in a while it’d only mean you weren’t trying hard enough 😛
    just keep at it, may the force be with you 🙂

  8. “Eighteen hours a day, your mind is bound to excoriate you for your mistakes, past and future. Four months in, the insecurities have also started to kick in. Big time.”
    good luck for 2012 

  9. A very good story….it’s a very tough decision to drop a year…n its worse if u r dropping one for a ‘low rung’ nlu….u have no oder choice left!! 
    All the best for CLAT 2012!!

  10. this is wat i was luking for a true life of droppers NTHING TO SAY…………..IS THE ONLY THING I COULD SAY…………………

  11. I couldn’t help but point out in every single line “oh, that’s me”. lol.. Hell! reading this article scared me even more as if i was not already out of my mind. s AnywayLuck ! hope we meet in NLSIU 😉 😀

  12. This is really one of those articles that set your brain-cells to work. For all it’s worth – it really has gotten me thinking. May I please have your phone number as I would really find it helpful because I am somewhat facing the same dilemma. 

  13. If all fails, I suggest you seriously consider taking up writing as a career. Start out with some editorial columns, I’d read them! Good post mate, and phikar not, no one’es better off, goddamit!

  14. I can so badly relate to this piece right from the math board exam bit. The most depressing part is when people come up and say luck is a big thing too. How can I guarantee luck?

  15. I can SO relate. Used to think I’m the only one who was going through these periods of depressions where every night ended with “kal se pucca ekdum dhyaan laga ke padhenge” 😛 Nice to know I’m not alone.

  16. NICE !! His vocab has really improved ( especially the first para i had to google the meanings). TOTALLY relatable….. 🙂

  17. well, i’m more or less of the same category as u are.. even now i stick 101 plans on the wall nd fail to follow even one of it..! #respect mate to your frankness nd i’m also alan shore’s die hard fan.. well i m trying to give my best as of now.. thanks for showing dat i m not d oly one of dis sort! 

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