When I finished college I wanted to do law though my father was not very keen that I follow in his foot steps. Owing to family landed properties in a distant village in Chhattisgarh and filial responsibilities he had spent a life time in lower civil and revenue courts. Being the son of a landlord and amongst very few educated people in the entire Raipur district in the ‘60s and ‘70s meant he was respected and financially comfortable but he had seen the prevailing legal profession from very close quarters. His surmise—accurate for the times—was that it was avoidable. He did not want me to literally struggle both intellectually and financially in the lower courts of Raipur.
By the time I completed Ll.B in ’91, it was still a profession for either the very well off or strugglers. In Delhi the average lawyer in Tees Hazari earned less than Rs 3,000 a month and with no home base and luxury of family properties in Delhi I would have struggled for some years. The alternate of practising in Raipur district court was blanked out by my father. He wanted me to join the civil services. Unfortunately I passed every competitive exams but the civils so it was clear to me I was not going to be an administrative officer. I briefly joined the BSF as an Assistant Commandant but left it much to the disappointment of my father. Meanwhile I had joined a journalism course in IIMC, Delhi and thus ended up in that profession.
By the time my father passed away in 2014, things had changed dramatically. Raipur is now the capital of CG, my small village is now a district town and am now also practising law on a low key while settling my own property cases. Fortunately I have my father’s immense library, a well equipped office and the support of Shri Vivek Tankha, former Additional Solicitor General of India who I have known in my own various capacities for past two decades.