Sep 23, 2012

Personal Statement

By Nayab Tufail

When I was seven chocolate cookies were a terrible temptation for me. I often stared longingly at the coveted cookie jar and licked my lips. My sister made use of my weakness and started to smuggle cookies from the jar to her room after midnight. When my father found the empty cookie jar I was accused as primary suspect. With no evidence to prove my innocence upon interrogation by my father I used what I now know is legally known as the “Alford Plea.” If I had the temerity to argue I would be charged with two crimes: stealing and disrespect. Therefore, I said to my father “I’m guilty, you can punish me, but I didn’t do it.” Pleading guilty meant punishments but my father remained curious about the “I didn’t do it” bit and the investigation furtively continued until the real culprit was found.

 The case was closed but a new chapter of my life was opened. I discovered my ability for logical thinking and problem solving. As I grew up I fell in love with complexities. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to English Literature. I found a universe of possibilities shimmering behind every story. The unfathomable depth behind situations and characters helped me quench my thirst and after a long time I actually drank my fill. Numbers had always remained on the page. The most I could do was stand tall next to 1, sit on the chair of 4, or curl up in the curve of 5. They never allowed me to slide in, to dive in the deep endless waters of uncertainty. They were facts and there was no room for questioning. Literature introduced me to the superficiality of black and white and to the realism of gray. It taught me that words are an inexhaustible source of magic. Each word packed with layers and layers of meanings. Each word malleable enough to be twisted and molded into a sparkling pun, a biting irony or a deliciously dulcet alliteration.

Reading helped me live a thousand lives and enriched my analytical skills which are of immense importance to a lawyer. Each day a new character was presented in the court of my thoughts. There was Heathcliff, there was Blanche DuBois, there was Mark Anthony, there was Mrs. Cheveley. I defended, I prosecuted. And each time I re-read a tale, another trial took place.

Meanwhile, fate had arranged a chance for me to discover my passion for debating. Whether it was arguing my stance on democracy or modernization the pleasure of putting my point across always surpassed the pride of receiving a gleaming trophy. However, I did not realize my interest in law until I decided to volunteer at Dawood Habib Orphanage. I saw the teary eyes of a twelve year old girl as she shared with me the heart-wrenching story of the domestic violence her mother had suffered at the hands of her father. It was after hearing this tale of brutal beatings, suffering and hopelessness that a window winked open to reveal a world where I could think, analyze and use my eloquence to actually make a difference. Some people call it impulse. I prefer epiphany. It was that moment when my life fell in place and I realized that law to me is more than chocolate cookies and trophies; it is a challenge to play my part, however small, to remedy injustice and serve my society.


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