What a week it has been for decision making in India. The Indian Supreme Court struck down the instant triple talaq and also upheld the fundamental right to privacy. While doing the latter, it also vindicated one of Indian judiciary’s foremost tragic heroes, Justice H.R. Khanna whose dissenting note in the ADM Jabalpur v. Shukla, case is the stuff of legends within the bar and the bench.
Just about 12 years back, I made a decision to defy the herd mentality and take up the profession of law. Honestly, it was not an altogether uninformed decision. I liked debating, I loved writing and I enjoyed conversations. Seemed like the natural choice. Still does feel like a natural choice I admit, although my heart flutters a little more when I take up lecturing assignments.
But I did not fully appreciate the social consequences of this choice. In a society obsessed with science and mathematics and in more recent times Business Management, the choice of taking up the law was okay, no doubt. But as a lawyer, one is not a software engineer or a product manager in a high and fancy place. It is more a perception than it is a fact of course.
Exactly three years back, I decided to apply for a LLM at Harvard and Berkley. I didn’t get through to Harvard, got through to Berkley’s professional track LLM program and didnt end up going. I was an idiot, firstly for trying and secondly for turning down the LLM. But in hindsight I realise that choice was driven more by the need to live someone else’s expectation and someone else’s dream. It certainly wasn’t my dream then and if it was, it certainly was hazy and lacked clarity.
Decision making is inherently tough. Decisions have consequences, that are more often than not, difficult to foresee. Under these circumstances, it is important that one gets rid of irritants like societal expectations, family perceptions and just the general need to satisfy someone else’s expectations. I say so not just to improve one’s decision making, but also to prevent someone else from wasting time on the exercise I find myself indulging in every once in a while viz., wanting the approval of others.
As I write this post, I feel compelled to blow my own trumpet by describing the many good things I did following the decision to practice law. But that is a product of an insecurity and the desire to convince others of a choice I made or a decision I took. I should not do that, now should I 🙂