This article was submitted to us by Anahita Pathak, a first year student at NLU Jodhpur.
I watch with begrudging admiration mixed with loathing which is borderline self-righteous. Such masterful ass licking has to be an inborn gift, a most useful talent. It just simply cannot be taught. And yet I watch, keenly observing, trying to pick up on the nuances of this dance, trying my absolute best to catch the rhythm, trying to stamp out the tune to which I sway to.
I know it is a disease that plagues the country in general, but being in the thick of the murky waters of the world of law school, I can only provide insight into the special brand of ‘jugaar’ that turns the cogs of a law student’s life.
It starts off even before you step into college, when the importance of having someone on the ‘inside’ is rivalled only by your own capacity to sugar coat words and people-please. I’m not saying that you’ll shrivel up into a prune and die a slow painful death if you happen to lack ‘patronage’, for want of a better word. Just that you’d probably break an arm and a leg and lose all your hair and your first few months will be you drowning and running around, not knowing where to go. Like a headless chicken.
It really isn’t as bad as I make it sound.
The only salvation you might have is if you have a way with words, or if you’re heart breakingly beautiful. As indelicate, as it may sound, it is but the truth. And I’m not even faulting the process. First impressions are based on the first layers of the person, undoubtedly. But the tiny technical glitch that I can’t get my head around is, how long before the second, third, fourth layers start to matter? I watch with bewilderment and disbelief, as the people whose intelligence I hold in the highest esteem turn into a mass of malleable putty at the hands of batting eyelids, hero worship and sickeningly obvious insincerity.
After the world of politics, if there is another place where what you do matters lesser than how many people know that you’re doing, it is law school. Here, the strength of your voice box, the organic as well as the virtual kind, is your new best friend. To hell with substance and quiet diligence. ‘Less talking and more working’ simply isn’t the motto to live by here. More like, ‘Some working and disproportionately large amount of talking about it.’ Be it work, or play, or friendship, or love- ‘Woh *insert applicable noun. And all nouns are applicable* hi kya, jo dusro ne na dekha.
However, none of that is the bane of our existence. The Grimm that brings us death is this little something called ‘ Contacts’. Its literal sense doesn’t fly in law school, no sir. Here ‘Contacts’ doesn’t mean how many people you know. It means how many people owe you. And when I say ‘owe you’, it is not by your definition, it is by their’s. This makes Contacts the wily temptress of law life- you can’t live with her, and you most certainly can’t live without her. Starting from getting smokes at ungodly hours, to the right books to garner knowledge from, to the right internships to doll up your CV- the magic ‘having connections’ can work in your life is at once despicable and the Elixir of Law Life.
In the hum drum of all of this, we lose out a lot on honest and sincere friendships. How do you even focus on the person before you, when you’re constantly glancing over your shoulder, trying to dodge the knives that come randomly flying your way? I almost am grateful for the critical remarks that come my way, almost happy when I hear someone foul mouth me, because I know then that whatever they say may be either out of spite, or out of a genuine desire to help me improve. Compliments and positive gestures leave me guessing at what possible ulterior motive could have fuelled that particular act of kindness.
Having said all of this, I do not deny the fact that in any walk of life, guidance is not just a luxury, it is a necessity. There is no shame, or harm, or moral ambiguity in requesting help. However, there needs to be a sanctity maintained in doing so. It is most unfortunate and confusing when people try and forge ‘friendships’ before getting to the real reason why they acknowledged the other person’s existence in the first place. Just be upfront, say ‘I need your help’, when you need help instead of saying disconnected and absolutely unnecessary things, like, You have pretty eyes’.
Mundane sweet talking is a curse that humanity is bearing for no particular reason at all. Understand and appreciate the difference between being nice and talking nice.
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