Entry to the University of London LLB programme @ 41 was a watershed event for me last year, and the six following months… a roller coaster ride. From sleepy beginnings (The snakes and ladders of study) through wake-up moments (A Journey to the Centre of the Mind) it has been pulsating, right up to the finishing line.
The last time I ran this race was two decades back during my Chartered Accountancy Finals. Those were different days though. In early 20s, youthful potential energy was in abundance. Devoid of any serious responsibility, life was relatively uncomplicated. In short, those were days when the heart thumped more in anticipation of love and life rather than apprehension of failure and fear..!
My transformation in 20 years is best reflected in my handwriting! What then used to be alphabetical gems…crafted ornamentally for communicating special messages to special people, now appear to be the work of cockroaches running around with their legs dipped in ink!
Years of detachment from active studies had taken its toll on me. On D-Day at my exam center, wearing a somber look reminiscent of the proverbial sacrificial lamb awaiting its turn, my mind raced repulsively away from the question paper at hand. As case laws mangled into each other beyond cognition, drops of sweat oozed out of my forehead in the air conditioned hall. I could feel the ground slipping away from beneath my feet. “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water”… Tagore had said. I had to take the plunge. Closing my eyes, I tried to clear the mind of confused strains with a two-minute meditation and a few deep breaths, managing to direct all my resolve to the narrow tip of my pen. All my grey hair acquired in the last 20 years had by now come to my rescue. Slowly the wheat separated from chaff and I could clearly see through the mist to what the examiner was looking for. And the rest, they say, is history.
After a three-month agonizing wait, the storm has passed over and my shelves look spruced up once again with new books.
Sipping a fresh round of coffee, I like the idea of warming up for the next lap once more, this time as an 18-year old with 24 years experience!
KK is studying the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) by distance learning in Kolkata, India. He is about to start his second year.