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An Ode to NLS from a Bollywood Fan

This piece has been written by Rhea Prasad (Batch of 2024). This piece is the first of a mini-series: ‘Missing Law School’.

Ever since I was a child, I have been a huge Bollywood fan. My earliest memories are dancing to Kajra Re and Kanta Laga, much to the horror of my parents. The downside of this, however, was having unrealistic expectations. I had always imagined that my college life would be like that in Main Hoon Na. Not the being-held-hostage-by-a-terrorist part, but the living-each-frame-like-it’s-a-musical part. For those who are unacquainted with this masterpiece of a movie, it is similar to High School Musical, except it has an India-Pakistan angle, SRK in a romantic lead role and Sushmita Sen conveniently located next to a hairdryer in each scene. But I digress. Basically, in my head, college was one big party with immaculate outfits, little to no academics, and Gori Gori playing in the background.

NLS however, to my disappointment, felt much more like 3 Idiots. It was not only the academic rigour and strenuous trimester system that provoked this comparison. Rather, it was the complete lack of empathy towards student concerns and a very competitive, suffocating environment. Coming into college, I admit I was a bit naive and deluded about what to expect and my expectations were a bit far-fetched, but nothing could prepare me for the initial monotony and dislike I experienced for this institution. Apart from a very energized Rang de Basanti-esque student protest, most of law school life is centred around either academics or “legit” co-curriculars. Extra-curriculars and sports are given little to no importance. My first realization of this was during Spiritus, which far from living up to its hype and resembling Chak de India, just became an excuse for seniors to take a three day vacation.

This initial disenchantment was not easy to look beyond. Especially when most of my friends were running from one DU fest to another. However it took six months of being in NLS to realise that although it is definitely not a Bollywood movie, it does have its Bollywood moments.

What NLS does give you, is exposure. I had come from a very sheltered bubble and NLS made me realise that not everybody shares the same privileges and background that I do. I learnt how to acknowledge where I had come from, its benefits and also its drawbacks. Moreover, NLS allows you to think in ways that you have never thought before. Whether it’s a formidable professor like Prof. Elizabeth or one like Prof. Rahul Choragudi, you begin to hold yourself to a higher standard and think beyond what you’ve been taught your entire life. You begin to understand issues that have been explored in Pink and Article 15 from an academic lens. And let’s be honest, Prof. Somashekhar in his pink t-shirt is no less than a Bollywood heartthrob.

Moreover, you begin to realise the vast expanses of opportunities that are available at your disposal. Whether you want a Suits career or the opportunity to make a ‘Tareekh pe Tareekh‘ dialogue, you have all the resources at your behest to do so.

Lastly and most importantly, it is the people you choose to engage with and befriend that really contribute to your Bollywood moments. Law School is a scary place and much like 3 Idiots, we all need some Ranchos in our life. My Yeh Jawaani Hain Deewani memories of NLS involve chilling at Chetta with my friends, dancing on the field to (you guessed it) Kajra Re and exploring Bangalore on the back of a Bounce.

Also much like a Bollywood movie, NLS has moments where you feel like it’s all going to go to shit, but miraculously it doesn’t, and all is well and good (if only for the next half an hour). Whether it’s a History viva or an Eco exam paper, things do go from bad to worse, but somehow they always manage to get a little bit better.

By this point I sound more sappy and cringe than I intended to. It also seems like I’ve fallen into the classic Law School trap of giving unsolicited and unnecessary advice. But what I ultimately want to end with (and yes there will be a Bollywood reference) is that I’ve come to understand that NLS is like Shah Rukh Khan’s career- spanning a very long period of time and a very mediocre body of work, but when it brings you the occasional good movie, it really really is worth it.

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