• Quirk NLS

Love in the Times of Corona – Is this Goodbye?

This piece has been written by Unnati Ghia (Batch of 2020). This is the final piece in our mini-series: ‘Missing Law School’.

For those of you who thought this would be a meta article based on my Marquez-esque title, you’re wrong. I just had to show off a little to begin with. Although I adore the author, the only people I currently identify with are Ross and Rachel, as quarantine forces me into a slowly decaying potato state of mind (and body) in the middle of my 10th rerun of this ghisa-pita hua show. For context, Ross is a cocky weirdo who likes Rachel, and Rachel, like a true Law School girl with no options, inevitably falls for him. Then they break up and make up and break up and make up and break up and make up (yes, I have put the exact number of times).

Why do I currently feel like them? Something is oddly familiar about the way they yell “We are SO over,” “We were on a break,” “I don’t need your stupid ship” and the like, only to fall in a limbo of uncertain feelings again and again. After all, I’ve had my own love-hate, on-off, toxic, full of incredible highs (hehe) and painful lows relationship over the last 5 years. This is not a romantic expose — I speak of Law School. And much like Rachel, only now that the ship has finally sailed, do I realise how much I will miss the stupid ship.

This ship has a lovely exterior, full of green and white and red, and it draws you into its fold immediately, like a beautiful green Venus fly-trap. The exterior of course conceals the air of anxiety, the unsteady ceiling of ridiculously high expectations, and the noxious environment of gossip and judgment that surrounds the entrant. Not to mention the institutionalised structural hierarchies and stigma that shape most interactions here. The bad times here are bad to say the least — but never fear because now we have not one but TWO counsellors (*orgasm*) to get us through it.

But perhaps my ship is more than just a well of cloying bitterness.

My ship is purple-orange skies that appear on cold evenings with the warmth of the laughter of your friends around you. My ship is evenings spent at Chetta doing the one leg dance (girls you get it) discussing anything from the CAA to the fond memories from a trip to Gokarna. My ship is the hungover smile on faces when they pass the newly muddy, brown Quad on mornings after a raging party. My ship is the genuine happiness on a beloved professor’s face when an entire batch surprises him one evening with a cake. My ship is the hours spent in exertion training batchmates to dance to Bollywood songs from 2 am the night before Eastern Dance.

My ship also has these tiny corners of light that I’ve often taken for granted. The pleasure (lol) of being woken up at 12 pm by loud, giggling ammas rather than your irate family screeching your name. The hours you spend talking about everything and nothing in your neighbour’s room, that you’ve made your own. The moment a professor exclaims in excitement because of a fierce but fulfilling academic fight in class. And most importantly – Atithi’s aloo parathas that can make any horrible day okay.

And CUT. Feel nostalgic? Yes, I do too. Now imagine someone throws you off this ship into the depths of the open sea with no warning. For context, watch Shah Rukh Khan throw Shilpa Shetty off a terrace in Baazigar in slow-mo (who wouldn’t?). The sea is cold, it is uncertain and you see no direction or relief. Yet you are expected to leave your beloved ship and home of several years, and begin to swim away from it. Except due to our friend Karuna, you can’t begin swimming away, and you’re immobilized in a position where your beloved ship is right there in front of you and you could have been on it, but it is now also beyond your reach.

People tell me this is adulting and this is the way of life, but as a good friend recently told me — yeh sab capitalist construct aka mohmaya hai. So, screw being mature about leaving Law School. We are going to whine and weep and prolong our stay when we come back for our luggage (lol sorry first years). Because this is our home.

This is not to say our experiences here are not shaped by who we are. As an upper caste cis-woman from a metropolitan city, I acknowledge my experiences are positive because of my privilege and background. Law School has a long way to go to make this ship a steady and joyful ride for more than just a few. Yet, Law School is also a people, and for them I am most grateful.

A Quirk article would be incomplete without gyaan, because Quirk articles are usually gyaan/ woke movie reviews/ cool rock sing-alongs no one gets, and we love it. My gyaan is simple – channel my batchmate Adit Munshi. Go back to college and take pictures of everything. Of trees and treadmills, of food and fungus, of Chetta coffee and class. Because believe us, it is heartbreaking to have no closure and a dream of OLTs that you thought you would get and memories you thought you would make. Treasure your time on this ship, because kal ho na ho, aur agar hoga bhi, toh bohot sucky hoga.

The fifth years shall continue our bingos and binge-watching, in the faint hopes that we can return to our beloved ship before that is lost to us forever. In the meantime, keep up the academic rigour and the scholastic incrementalism y’all!

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