The snakes and ladders of study

A lamp and laptop with University of London International Programmes portal.My London LLB box was opened a month back. With all arrangements complete, books placed tidily on shelves, stationery of all kinds neatly arranged in drawers, laptop powered and connected to the net… it’s time for lights, camera, action!

I pick up my new jet-black Waterman and ink the first word on my new exercise notebook, almost in school-like cursive writing, when… pause! Water.

Back at the desk with glass in hand, the meandering mind starts wandering, eventually finding its way inside the hall for the graduation ceremony in the Barbican Centre, academically attired in the flowing silk gown as Her Royal Highness rises to speak. A sense of pride flashes by as the thunderous applause of the audience greats The Princess Royal. Dream within dreams, the journey moves on to Senate House, Russell Square and on, for hours together, till… snap!

Caesar, the little pet beagle has been licking furiously at his masters’ ears to try and rouse him from his slumber. Staring sheepishly at the dog, I realise I had fallen asleep before even starting my first study session. Guilt takes over from pride and hands over the baton to remorse!

With Caesar on constant vigil, my daydreams slowly start drying up. As Professor Wilson guides me into the kaleidoscopic crimes of Criminal Law; guilty acts (Actus Reus) and guilty minds (mens rea) assume new dimensions and context. Professor Geary takes turns etching common law and reasoning into my hardened grey matter through a labyrinth of cases in the courts of law. And Caesar too learns to wag his tail every time the learned judge hits the hammer!

The caravan progresses through Chapters 1 to 2 to 3 and back to Chapter 1. Case laws start getting intertwined into flesh and blood of daily life, so much so that if Lord Hope raises expectations one day, Baroness Hale dashes them on another (of course, vice versa as well).

Snakes and ladders gameAudi alterem partem (right to be heard) and nemo iudex in causa sua (rule against bias) moves out of legal texts and merge into the social side of my character. Live legal cases of terrorism and high profile murders become more relevant for their argumentative values and ratio decidendi (reason for deciding) beyond the fictional excitement of television ‘breaking news’!

Alas, beyond the warmth of the subject lies reality of the exams! Soon the burning need for acceleration will kick in, and kick out this luxury of leisure walks around the magnificent lawns of legal philosophy. It will then be time to look out for new ladders of tenacity, discipline, hard work, sincerity and regularity. It will then be time to courageously pick up and throw the dice again whenever shoved back by the snakes of panic, impatience, overconfidence and laziness!

Cheers, KK

KK is studying the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) by distance learning in Kolkata, India. He is in his first year.

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