You pump your right hand in the air to show your happiness and then you celebrate by gulping down a coke. With a somewhat modest 12th standard average and a non-zero score in the C.E.E., you land yourself in a law seat at one of the four colleges in Kerala. You feel you have emerged victor in your war against reservation-be it for females, S.E.B.C’s or the divine combination of both. But if by any chance you are in it only because mom insisted and your interest is in the dough you think of making after a long treacherous road as a lawyer, think again!
You report to your college, bright-eyed and merry. You notice this person standing outside your class- he has combed hair, is sprouting out a moustache and wearing khadi ‘mundu’ and shirt (both white, as if straight out of a detergent add). His appearance suggests he is a Gandhi devotee. So you go up close to him only to find that he is an imposter. It’s only the first of your surprises. Slowly you start adapting to the professors, obsolete syllabus and the environment. The Photostat guy in the next building becomes your best friend, coz most books are expensive and then not even the experts in the university could decipher the syllabus and suggest a basic textbook.
Seniors look at you like insects (not all the majority). The reason they hate you is that they think that you are getting ahead of them in life. Now you can’t blame them, with the entire course lagging and waiting for almost 8 months to appear for a semester exam, you too would’ve felt the same way. Their frustration comes out in the form of abuse (lots of new words to learn from). They soon check you inside out for dough, getting their hands into your meager funds, they find a momentary victory- they’ve got the better of you. You try and take a fresh breath outside the campus and the cold-blooded seniors further irritates you. Attendance becomes a liability and dreaming about school is the only thing you do in the ambiguously orated lectures.
Your first smile surfaces when you manage to go (without being followed by seniors) to the so-called ‘happening place’ in the neighbourhood- a coffee shop. But when you see the girls from the nearby college harmonizing their claps in sync with the rock beats, you wish to yourself that dinosaurs weren’t extinct and they could be whistled to come and gulp you. And as they clap their hands (the Mallu substitute for head banging) you argue to your city bread friend: “as long as they are enjoying,” only to be shouted down by loud demands to the guy near the music system for K3G songs.
Now your social life is struck, but heart beats on. You pacify yourself by saying that a social life is secondary in a professional college, and it’s what you learn that matters. Thus in the hope of attaining a worthy L.L.B. degree, you stay on. But in five years of last minute journal submissions, xeroxed notes, suddenly announced assignment dates, unpredictable and fluctuating university rules, exam postponements, outrageous examinations, display of results when least expected, backlogs, year drops, protest marches and protest sleepovers, you know for sure: Regardless of whether or not you are ready to be a professional liar, you are ready for the bitch, that is life.