It was hot at first and it started drizzling once the kids were in the halls. Parents and their friends, siblings, cousins, uncles and everyone who knew that the candidate existed came along. Even more disturbing were the few who came along with a blanket and spread it out over the lawns to stretch themselves over it and take a nap. I’m talking about how CLAT went at NALSAR and the miserable scene where a place like Justice City was infested with traffic jams.
Our summer vacations start on the 1st of May every year. Almost everyone leaves for one of the prime cities of the country to build a make shift base there for an internship. I didn’t, partly because I was too lazy to apply for one and partly because I’ve done eight of them already. So, this time, I decided to take a break and stay back home, which happens to be Hyderabad itself. But the boredom caused restlessness. All the nothingness and the mangoes weren’t enough. While I was wondering if there’s something I could do, a good friend and batchmate, Aymen, suggested that we go witness the CLAT. And we did, for weekends don’t count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.
The place was weird. It wasn’t normal at all. The calmness, serenity, batchmates, seniors, juniors, faculty – every little thing that added to the NALSAR experience was missing. Not that it wasn’t expected. But, it needs to be said that it wasn’t the same place I had left a fortnight ago. And now, we had so many strange faces walking in, almost everyone wishing to spend their five years there. This was one amazing scene to track down social behaviour. So, Aymen and I sat down near the Dining Hall entrance to see how people carry themselves. People pay more attention to you when they think you’re up to something. And as discreet as it may sound, we were really up to something, judging every bucko walking around. At the back of my mind, I was thinking of my own CLAT at the very same place, realizing the weirdness of how something can be so plausible in the moment and so idiotic in retrospect. Anyhoo, the populace there could be classified into these groups:
1. The neatly dressed types. These people are tensed. But not all that much. They are coming to take CLAT after having taken IIT-JEE, AIEEE and a gazillion Engineering/Medicine entrance exams. For them, CLAT looks like an exam which requires hours and hours of coaching, just like any other exam they ever took. Their parents don’t give rat’s ass about what their kid wants. Wait. Even the kid doesn’t know what he wants. All the kid has been hearing was how well the IIT or NLU passouts get paid. And that’s not because they researched. It’s because their parents passed all this information which they got from their colleagues at work.
2. The ‘we-know-it-all’ people. These are real active. They have done some crash course and everyone in those classes got irritated because of the over-load of information they supply. These people are, by no means, dumb. They just have a command over thoroughly useless information. They know how many seats each of the 15 NLUs have. They know everything about them from their fee structure to the placements. They dream of passing out in style too. The only problem they’ve always had was to stick their bums in one place and study. They’ve read everything that CG put up, but nothing academic. These too aren’t any good to make it through.
3. The extremely religious ones. Kids under this category know bullcrap. They have pinned all their hopes to the Gods/Saints they believe in. Identifying them is quite simple. There’s either a huge vertical red/orange line on their forehead or they’re emitting some strong fragrance out of their rarely but exuberantly applied Ittar (A supposedly ‘Islamic’ perfume). I don’t have anything against them, for I myself believe in the Almighty. But, there’s an inherent flaw in lazing around doing nothing and hoping that some miracle will occur. They try to listen to the inscrutable exhortations of their soul and decipher them to mean success.
4. The dedicated ones. I’ve always failed to understand how fate works for this kind. They do well at school, they do well at their mock tests and they do the same at CLAT. Highly composed, these kids are easily identifiable for their intolerance of other humans. They simply don’t want anyone to come and talk to them. They either come alone to the centre or at most, with one other person. They neither discuss the paper later nor look for cut-offs. They are somehow sure to have done well, but want to drift their mind with books/movies. And there’s one place they are never found – social networks. Facebook is simply not where they are active. And to say the very least, they induce respect. I’ve always loved such kind.
5. The hipsters. These are real cool (and I mean ‘kewl!’) dudes. They shaved themselves clean leaving out a tiny fertile patch on their chin. They aren’t found alone. Never. Forcing themselves into some or the other group and cracking jokes that make you poop, these are real crackpots. These lads aren’t making it anywhere and the best part of it is that they all know it. They cannot contain from waving their stupidity and ‘chill – dude!’ attitude. Pardon me for my rudeness, but these are the loser kinds, to say the least. Even during the exam, reading goes faster for them as they rarely sweat comprehension.
6. The eleventh hour people. From the time they step into the car at home till the time they enter the hall, they glue their eye balls to some or the other ‘CLAT Guide’. You will, more often than not, see Universal’s and LexisNexis guides being carried. I’ve never understood these utterly confused people. Looking at them looks like they are the most desperate to get through, for they don’t want to waste even a single second. But, if that was the case – these guides were supposed to be completed some nine months ago, weren’t they? They also have parents/uncles/siblings with them who stay really calm and stand close to, erm.., supply moral support, I guess. These, in fact, are the most hopeless of all. I mean, at least the hipsters I spoke about above know they are screwed. These people’s marginal utility derived every single second bests the total utility they’ve had so far.
7. The chickens. These are those who were never fascinated by law. Everything in their life has been in slow motion. Lazy morning, lazy afternoons and dull nights. These are the silent non-existent-like people in the coaching classes who stare at the second’s hand of their watches out of utmost boredom. The best they can do is to eat and sleep. And the only thing that fascinates them about law schools is the amount of partying that happens around here. These are the ones who generally end up getting a four/five digit rank in CLAT and join places like Lloyd which sends an admission letter to their house, out of nowhere. Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?
8. The rabbits. Clever, but a little shy. They know their stuff pretty well. They’ve prepared well. Most of these have dropped a year and carry butterflies in their tummies. Low on confidence, but they aren’t bad when they start doing the paper. While doing so, they get tired, sweat and feel thirsty. They aren’t any happy after the exam either. There’s always that one question that they messed up which magnifies itself so much that they assume to have messed the entire paper up. Most of the kids who make it through are of this kind.
9. The pampered cats. These people have rarely looked out at the real world. All along the way, till the hall’s entrance, their parents carry water bottles for them. They have such worried parents who give them a feel of going to the war front. Carrying Mazaa/Frooti in one hand and packets of Lays/Kurkure in another, they make sure that they express all the love they have for their kids at that very place. While the kids go in, these parents talk to other parents about alternative career options. They discuss how it will be to make it and otherwise. And all these phony concerns burst when the results are released, disappointing them.
10. Even after placing everyone who takes CLAT into these nine compartments, there are a few who are left uncategorized. These are a minority. I couldn’t really find the appropriate term for these. The most that happens with them is that they get stared at for anything that others might find weird. They look constipated and it’s really tough for them to realize that they are going to take an exam. There are very few of this kind. Either they are so good that they’ll crack the test or so bad that their ranks stink.
While staring at everyone who passed by to figure out his/her kind, I managed to get a few stares back. A lot of them. But then, this is exactly why I had been to NALSAR at such an odd time. Oh boy, it was fun!