Mr. Naman Devpura and Mr. Kartikeya Chamola, currently pursuing Law from Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar have been conferred with the coveted Aditya Birla Scholarship (2018). The 1st year students shared their insightful thoughts about their journey and experience of becoming an Aditya Birla Scholar with Hrithik Khurana, 3rd Year student of B.Com LL.B (Hons.), GNLU and Student Ambassador, Eastern Book Company and SCC Online.
Question 1: Hello Naman and Kartikeya, tell me something about yourself.
Kartikeya: Hello, my name is Kartikeya Chamola. I was born in a small village named Raintoli in Rudraprayag District of Uttarakhand where my father used to run a roadside restaurant, which now is guest house, along with free lance tour organizing, and my mother is a government school teacher. For providing me better education, we shifted to a nearby town named Srinagar Garhwal. I have done my schooling upto class 10thfrom St. Theresa’s Convent, Srinagar Garhwal, after which I with my father shifted to Dehradun for further study. My three years in Dehradun spanning over class 11th,12th and the drop year for CLAT preparation has been an amazing experience for me and something that has impacted my personality deeply. I passed 12th standard from Doon International School, where I served as The School Captain. Coming to a city from a small place opens up many new opportunities one of them being CLAT and I am very grateful to all the people who helped me utilize all of them fully. I prepared one year for CLAT and secured AIR 393 in CLAT 2018. My interests include music at the top spot, which I’ve been into since childhood, and public speaking. Being a part of GNLU has been a wonderful uplift in my life, with so many opportunities all around and people to guide us at all times in the best way.
Naman: Hi! My name is Naman Devpura. I was born in Udaipur District of Rajasthan. My father is currently an employee in the Ultratech Cement Limited and my mother is tuition teacher. Spending most of my childhood in the Birla townships has developed in me a special attraction towards nature and society. I came up with my own social support group while I was in 8th standard with the name of Green Brigade Association. My special interest has travelling on the prime whereas music, philately, painting, e-sports, web-designing are some other hobbies that I follow. I did most of my schooling from The Aditya Birla Public School, Khor as well as Kharia Khangar. I became the President Co-Curricular Activities of my school, topped the district at CBSE board examination and was lucky enough to clear Common Law Admission Test along with my boards with an AIR of 404. Although I knew that I would make it to the top law colleges of India but coming to Gujarat National Law University was a dream come true for me.
Question 2: You both come from such humble backgrounds, I am curious to know when and why did you choose to pursue Law as a career?
Naman: I had a keen interest in social activities since childhood. As time passed and decision to choose a career path came closer, I started finding and thinking about various career options which will help me accomplish my goal. I chose Law because it seemed to be one of the best alternatives for my interest. Also seeing my sisters go into the same path helped me form a clearer and better view of Law as career.
Kartikeya: Honestly speaking, I wasn’t very clear of my career choice till the time my class 12th was about to get over. I, gradually got interested in the field of law, as being a speaker I felt very connected to this career option. But my main reason for choosing law is my strength of socializing. Having met people from various sections of society ranging from local labourers, villagers( with whom I used to spend most of my day being a child), to distinguished personalities of various fields whom I got to meet when I was in Dehradun, my personality got shaped in a way that I liked knowing people , connecting with them. This realization made me go for a career that I personally find very much based on social understanding.
Question 3: Such interesting answers but tell me honestly what was the experience-like while writing your essays and completing your application form for the preliminary stage of the Aditya Birla Scholarship?
Kartikeya: Soon after joining GNLU, I got to know that I was eligible to apply for Aditya Birla Scholarship. Getting this scholarship had been a dream since the time I started my research for CLAT and NLUs. The two essays we were asked to write were very much connected to my life and surely Naman would feel the same. We were asked about our background, strengths and the reason for choosing law. I expressed myself in the best way possible in those 500 words. Apart from the essay, we had to fill in our achievements, awards received in any field, and academic distinctions. I, being very active in extra-curricular all my school life had a lot of such experiences to share. The entire process was very positive for me and all I desired for was getting through to the interview stage.
Naman: Just as Kartikeya said, both the questions made us to introspect ourselves and well woven in our lives. We both sat for hours thinking about all we have done in our lives till date. With so much to express in just a few words was undoubtedly a pretty tough job but both of us handled it nicely. I wrote about what made me different from the rest of the elite pool of students. The most important thing that I felt helped me was my diverse interests and success in these fields. From getting an AIR 42 in Commerce Talent Search Examination to qualifying into National Children Science Congress and from performing at the orchestra competition to making the winning last move in Chess tournaments, everything that I had picked up on my way to this pedestal helped me to build out a dynamic yet confident profile. Being optimistic was one thing that helped me as well.
Question 4: Looks like you guys were preparing for getting the Aditya Birla Scholarship while in school. Tell me how did you go about preparing for the interview stage, considering you were going to be questioned by 3 eminent jurists from the field of law?
Naman: As soon as I saw my name on the list of the shortlisted candidates for my interview, I started preparing for the interview. Meeting and talking with the Aditya Birla Scholars through the scholarship committee at GNLU gave us proper insights into the whole process and also made us more prepared. They were undoubtedly the best guides for us throughout the process. No doubt, since the interview was being taken by a panel consisting of top jurists it made me a slight nervous but preparing and working out with my essay as well as keeping myself optimistic and cheerful throughout the preparation helped me to give my best in the interview.
Kartikeya: I cannot express the happiness I experienced when I got to know that I’ve been selected for the interview, and what increased this was the fact that my roommate got through too! As Naman said, our seniors were the best guides for the interview preparation and specially the Aditya Birla Scholars of GNLU. Also, the scholarship committee of GNLU supported us in every way possible. My approach for the interview was very calm and easy, and all I focused on was being honest at all times, and that’s what our seniors told us too. The fact that we were going to be in a conversation with 3 eminent personalities from the field of law, was very exciting for me, as it was such an amazing chance for all of us to express ourselves and our views . I just prepared on how I would present myself and my future plans in front of them, and being confident.
Question 5: Let’s talk about the moment, what was the feeling when you actually became Aditya Birla Scholar?
Kartikeya: Oh I wish I could go back to relive that moment whenever I wanted to! It’s just beyond words. I really don’t remember those 10 seconds after my name was announced in the scholars’ list. All I remember is receiving the prestigious certificate from Mrs. Rajashree Birla, and coming back with tears in my eyes, and crying for next 5 minutes. The feeling was so beautiful and all I could think about was my parent’s struggles that they never showed to me, and we never let them come in our way. I never expected such amazing turns in my life and that too within just 4 months from clearing CLAT to coming to GNLU and now, Aditya Birla Scholarship!
Naman: I couldn’t agree more, if we could set the clocks a bit backwards. Everything has happened too quickly for us to pause and think. From the day 1 of the announcement of the scholarship, I had been thinking what it would have been to be an Aditya Birla Scholar. And when the day finally came all I could feel was joy, excitement and gratitude towards each and every person who has contributed as little to making me stand with the prestigious scholarship. As rightly stated by Karthikeya, life has drifted from many sudden turns in just a very few months.
Question 6: Now coming to the reactions of those who matter the most, how did your parents and friends respond to such a big achievement?
Naman: My family and friends were extremely happy and excited from the time of me getting my air-tickets booked. During my stay at Mumbai, they had strictly asked for live updates in every two-three hours. I remember that as soon as I heard my name called out from the stage, I had dialled my father and told him that I made it, my family yelled out from behind and celebrated the whole night. As for the friends, there was no limit of their happiness and yes, their utter desire for having the best party ever. In the course of the essay as well as the interview, the one thing that I understood the most is that you are what you are because of all these people around you. The positivity and enthusiasm that my family and friends had filled in me had its deepest effect and thus made me get the scholarship.
Kartikeya: After coming back to my senses (5 minutes of crying), the first thing I did was sending the picture of the certificate to my parents and all my friends. I called up my mother after the ceremony, and I still remember how happy she was! I talked to my father the next day for two hours while I was at the airport, and we both got so emotional. My parents couldn’t have been any happier. Also, they soon made me realize the task I have of maintaining the scholarship and rising above continuously. My friends’ reactions were so funny and all they cared about was a grand party but no seriously they all were so happy for me and I am very grateful to all of them for motivating me.
Question 7: Finally, what is your advice for the aspirants of the prestigious scholarship?
Naman: Positivity and confidence is the first step. Believe in yourself, believe in what you have done till this day, why you have done that and what will you be doing in the future. Honesty and simplicity should be placed at the topmost. Also, understand what the other side wants to know about you. Getting into the top 20 ranks of your respective college pre-establishes the fact that you are good enough as an erudite but are you more than that is what they tend to find out. Analyse yourself, analyse your strengths, weaknesses and all other things that makes you different from your other smart fellows. Then just go and pour everything out in your essay as well as in your interview. In all this time, don’t forget that you have a life to live as well and ITC’s grand room must be enjoyed as equally as the orientation programme by the Aditya Birla Group. If you get it, enjoy and throw an Inter-NLU party on the same night, maybe on the lines of what we did, if you don’t, partying is still compulsory but understand that life had booked some other day for you and enjoy.
Kartikeya: My advice for every aspirant of Aditya Birla Scholarship would be to go very easy yet determined through the entire process, starting right from the CLAT. As Naman said, being very honest and clear about yourself is what I also consider the key point, and realizing and expressing what sets you apart from everyone else is equally important, even if it is a very basic thing. And most importantly, do not miss out on having some really nice time in Mumbai if you go for the interview, contact with people from several reputed institutions and do give a party the night you get the scholarship! We both would not ever forget ours, (HA HA)!
Thank you, Naman and Kartikeya.