I started The Five Things Checklist to fulfill a long standing desire to do something new.
For some time, life had become packed with activities meant for others and not so much myself.
This is normal ‘cos I am a lot of things in any given day – daughter, wife and mother, a working professional and an author. Needless to say, it gets tough to manage all your avatars unless you sacrifice or de-prioritize the one aspect – that of being an individual – to free up time and energy.
Whenever I thought of doing something for myself, I was convinced that I didn’t have the time. The morning hours would go by in a rush, getting myself and my toddler ready to go out. The entire day was spent in office. The evening had to be allocated to spending quality time with my toddler and family. On top it, there’s Netflix to fit in.
There’s definitely no time for ‘me-time’. No time for exercise, no time for a good 8-hour sleep, no time for a wee bit pampering. You get the drift.
This is the normal routine for any working mother. Or for that matter, any woman with kids, working or stay-at-home. We women are notorious for not keeping self above others.
Finally, a pandemic is what it took for me to realise that now is better than never.
Life is too short to not spend on myself.
Life is too gorgeous to let it go by in a daze.
Life is too valuable to not create a little legacy.
So I decided the take Life by the bullhorn and click on ‘Buy the Domain Name’ that was The Five Things Checklist.
But why create this website? Let’s read on.
1. To rekindle my passion for blogging
I started a blog for the first time in 2006, to find an outlet for my creative pursuits. It was very innovatively named ‘Scribbles of a Creative Soul’ and was placed on the Blogger platform.
I was in law school, going through my own ‘coming of age’ rites and turned to the one thing I knew would provide me with a sense of familiarity – writing.
The second time I started a blog was in 2009, to combat loneliness combined with a very stressful work life. I had passed out of law school and was working in a law firm in Calcutta. My friends were all living in Mumbai, sharing an apartment.
Enter blogging as my means of seeking comfort, again. In my second blog ‘Life’s Many Whispers’, I published short stories, participated and won in various blogging contests and made tons of virtual friends. My blog was one of the popular ones in its category and some of my posts garnered hundreds of comments.
I had a very very hectic work life, to the extent that I had no free ‘entire’ weekends. But I still managed to find time to post within deadlines.
Would you believe me if I said that I would write posts, sitting in the waiting room of senior counsels before a conference started?
I made many good virtual friends through blogging. Reading and commenting on each others’ posts, interacting with fellow bloggers of the community, meeting them during Blog Meets – all curbed my loneliness to a great extent.
The best part was that, I was no more sad.
This third time, I thought hard about what to write about. Now I publish my short stories traditionally, so I do not want to put them up on my blog any more.
My daily life snippets are not interesting enough to keep me wanting to write about them. I am not keen on mom-blogging. So the best niche for me is to write on law, thereby combining my passion and profession.
I did not even struggle for the name – it came to me while I was putting my toddler to sleep.
I immediately knew what my posts would be about. I wanted to write on practical tips, tricks and hacks of being a lawyer, and any working professional in a format of five checklists.
Also, to be honest, the name was partly inspired by Sterling Miller’s very enriching blog called The Ten Things You need to know as an In-house Counsel.
2. To find some normalcy amidst chaos
Today, the whole country is in a lockdown as the world fights an unprecedented attack of a hitherto unknown virus named Covid-19. Never have any of us imagined a world where humans would become prisoners in their own homes, just to stay safe.
The first one week of national lock down and working from home was a crazy experience for me.
My toddler would just not leave my side. I had to begin cooking regularly in the absence of my part-timer cook. I don’t know who finds cooking ‘stress buster’. For me, it’s a never-ending process of deciding what to eat, shopping the ingredients, looking up Youtube for the easiest recipe and then struggling to re-create it. Nope, I am not a natural cook. Towards the end of one week itself, I was burnt out and hopelessly wishing for my old routine.
This new normal seemed very scary. So I decided to resort to the one thing which always keeps me calm in all stressful situation.
Writing has always comforted me in all my times of need and this time, it was no different. I actually put finishing my novel manuscript on the back burner for this website, which says a lot about how much I needed to do this.
3. To talk about my favourite subject
Law, as a subject and profession is an integral part of my life. I spend a minimum of 10 hours everyday, sometimes the weekends and holidays as well, on my work and this website is a natural extension of the same. This way, I won’t even be cheating on my profession with my passion.
For many people who are blogging, creating content regularly is a huge issue and special attention is required in content planning, researching and writing. For me, I have plethora of ideas to write about. So that’s one win for me and The Five Things Checklist.
4. To debunk the myth called Law
I usually find people refer to Law as boring and incomprehensible. They think study of law consists of memorizing all the provisions of a statute and reading 300 pages of judgment.
(The memorizing of statute is false – we have open-book and take-home exams. The reading of 300-page judgment is true).
Even a few years ago, very few young people thought law was a viable career. Back in 2004, when I announced to my extended family that I had secured admission in a national law university, reactions varied from:
– why did you study science if you planned to do law?
– why do you plan to spend so much money in a fancy university when a perfectly cost-effective option is available in Calcutta University?
– Did you not get through the JEE?
– I am sure you will earn a lot of money. The notaries sitting outside the court under an umbrella take 50 bucks for even small one page documents.
(Yes I am quoting that uncle verbatim even after 16 years)
People also have a notion that all legal documents are full of jargon, which are beyond their understanding. I have seen people handling a basic document like apartment licence agreement or Will with a ten-foot pole, as if it’s something contagious and dangerous.
This website will attempt to break down even the toughest legal concept for everyone, including a layperson, in as easy language as I can muster.
5. To give back something
I went back to my alma mater this March, 2020 (yes just two weeks before lockdown) to judge the rounds of NUJS-Herbert Smith Corporate Law Moot Court Competition.
Two things happened there, which combined as a catalyst for this website.
- I met a lawyer who was working full time and also doing what he enjoys the most and it seemed to me that he was very fulfilled in his professional life.
- I realised that even today, law students are not taught what they should know to be a successful legal professional.
One of the primary motivations behind The Five Things Checklist is to bridge the gap between formal legal education and practical application of law for law students entering the workforce. It will also act as a virtual guide for young lawyers looking for some mentorship, guidance and career advice. Here, I will talk less of theory and history and more on practical aspects of a topic, so that you are prepared to face the real world of the legal profession.
Hope you enjoy reading The Five Things Checklist as much I enjoy creating it.
If you want to know more about this website and me, hop over to the “About” section.
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I feel so personally connected to you after reading this ma’am. I like to write too, my style isn’t remotely close to yours but I just like to write. I am a student and I have been contemplating about starting a blog since the last 1 year but just never came through with it. I always thought who would want to read what I have to say. But your words have encouraged me. Not to forget that you’re really sweet for doing this for us and extremely funny!
Hi Pragati, you are going through what is called Imposter Syndrome. You are not alone, even I have thought many times why am I doing this when there are so many blogs out there. But I needed to tell things my way. Hope you will get down and start your bog.
I relate so hard to not feeling like cooking is a stress-buster.
Looking forward to what you have to say on this blog! As always, I appreciate your clear and direct writing style.
Thank you Sruthi. Much appreciate you dropping by.
Such a pertinent post and lovely blog you have here. We all struggle with law language. Would def follow.
Welcome to my humble abode.
I am not sure whether I can even distantly qualify to join this august group. I generally keep a distance from legal practitioners who write ADVOCATE in bold letters on their car window shields . But a person of opposite sex who is a mother, a writer, a family person who respects family values and also an expert legal professional – all rolled into one appears to be of interest to me. So……
Such kind words. I am humbled to see you here.