When CLAT results were declared, I was enjoying holidays in our tharavaadu, my ancestral home tucked in the lush green folds of the countryside. There was nothing much to do but lazily stroll down the village road, make small talk with neighbours, or occasionally go for a swim in the nearby river. Lost in this limbo of village life, where the internet was a faraway fantasy, I had barely any heart to even ponder over my upcoming CLAT results. True, I had taken a year out to prepare for CLAT, but that was mainly because of the lack of energy to slog hours mugging up chemical formulae and physics equations the crazily competitive NEET entrance demanded. I would openly admit that my choice to prepare for CLAT was more or less fuelled by this reluctance for NEET than any specific passion for law. So I was never really ambitious to get into a top law school, and the break year was all about fun, friendship and the unbound freedom of city life. By the time I was giving the test, all I hoped was to procure a seat in NUALS, the law school in Kochi. In fact, I clearly remember we friends desperately wishing that we all make it to NUALS so that our college life would be as beautiful as our days in ‘Heritage’( my coaching centre) were.
But what life unveiled was a different story altogether. When mom rang up to tell me that I had secured a rank of 79 in the exam, her voice resonating the relief of a year’s worth of uncertainty, I honestly did not know how to react to it. It dawned on me that all my dreams of a ‘chill’ college life with friends have now crumpled to a mere fallacy. As everyone around me was celebrating my unexpected yet wonderful result, I remember feeling completely helpless and drained. I couldn’t express my dilemma to anyone because who would even listen to such naïve reasoning, who would understand that for me the happiness of the heart always held a higher priority than ambition in a career that I was least passionate about.
As one thing led to another, I soon found myself standing in front of the gates of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. Since the campus is located even I who was hell-bent on not liking the place, could not resist falling in love with the beauty that we beheld. The emerald trees that clad the campus grounds, the myriad of hues their flowers bloomed, the golden sunlight seeping through the rustic college walls, made me feel that this place does not deserve to be greeted with petulant tears or disdain. So as I bid goodbye to my parents, I resolved to embrace Nalsar as my reality, forgetting all dreams of love and happiness.
But it was so much easier said than done. As days rolled into weeks and I got sucked into the whirlpool of Law school life, I felt completely lost in this alien reality. Hailing from a small town in Kerala, the culture shock that hit me on the face was honestly a bit too overwhelming. Added to this was the constant fear of forever losing a world that I left behind at home. Due to all these reasons, I made the biggest blunder one could ever possibly make in Law school. I made the mistake of retreating to the recluse of my thoughts and refused to tread beyond the pages of the past. Be it the active classroom discussions or the ‘positive interactions’ with seniors I remained blatantly indifferent to it all.
On the alter side I saw all my classmates make the most of this amazing college. There was something for everyone here. Be it academics or extracurriculars Nalsar gives you the choice to excel in it. The college has a thriving moot culture, which the first years are given a gateway to, through the mandatory intro moot. Creative platforms like the Nalsar theatre club, book club, DEBSOC, etc… add colour to the otherwise monotonous legal academia. For all the sports freaks out there, Nalsar has a place for you guys too. The multipurpose stadium and basketball courts ensure that the ball is always in your court.
Though the course structure in itself is a bit hectic you will soon get used to it. Sleepless nights become the order of the day and you master the priceless art of falling asleep right in front of the professor’s nose. Our Night trips to Dhaba, and city outings add the much-needed spice to NALSAR life, charging you up for yet another week of law school shocks and surprises.
When I chose to remain stubbornly indifferent to such big things, the smaller things subtly found their way to me. The comfort of a choco cone after a midnight lecture, the taste of Bhaskaranna’s Cheese Maggie, the solace in the warmth of a friend’s heart, the lovely evenings resonating with meaningless chatter on Venky’s bench, the solitary walks in the silence of the silver night, …yes I could go on forever. Nalsar is a romantic’s dream come true. Even during the darkest of times, a walk down the campus road fills in you the zest to view life yet again in its rainbow hues.
As my first semester draws to a close and I reflect on my journey so far I realise that this place has given the courage to build home within me and taught me to let go of things or people who existed merely on the shadows of a wilted mistake. Nalsar has made me understand that life can only give you the key, it is ultimately your choice to open doors and explore beyond boundaries. Since I chose not to open any of those doors, in the fear of forgoing an echo of the past, I lost the chance to liberate myself from the pages of a tainted memory. But as the final day of the semester slips, and we stay up the entire night to welcome the promise of a new dawn, I resolve to not let even the sky define limits to my flight. Like rays of the rising sun bask our faces, and though it lacks the warmth of my faded vistas or the glow of his fallen word, I am sure that even when country roads beckon, we have found the comfort of home, here in this place where we belong.
We’d like to thank Megha Rajesh (Batch of 2023, NALSAR) for taking out time from her busy schedule and sharing her experiences.
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