About the Author: Nabhali Mhatre, a student at Pravin Gandhi College Of Law, interned at Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), Mumbai, during her summer break. Read on to find exciting details from her journey.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”
– Neale Donald Walsch
Born and brought up in the suburbs of Mumbai, protected by the four walls of comfort, I never thought of life that existed on the other side. There comes a time in the life of every law student, when they have to do an internship. The actual trouble begins when they start looking for an internship. Sailing in the same internship boat, I began searching for a place where a second year BLS/LLB student (having no theoretical knowledge and having no great internship experience) could apply for an internship. Turning one web page after the other, I finally stumbled upon a page that read – Human Rights Law Network (HRLN). I went through the internship procedure, which was similar to the other companies (CVs, application forms, etc.), and applied for the internship. And now, the real wait began. I was lucky, as I received a confirmation email for an interview within 2 days. The first interviews are always difficult, because you do not know exactly what to do, or what to expect, and so, I did the one thing I knew best – answered all the questions honestly. And within 2 weeks, after a quick follow up, I received an internship confirmation mail for the month of June and July.
8:08 read the time on my watch, and I was off to my new work place. Traveling by a Mumbai local is not easy; through all the hustle and bustle, I reached the HRLN office at 9 am (punctuality has always been my strong suit). I was assigned to the Disability Rights Team, and I slowly began my journey with my assigned lawyer. On the first day, I tried to get familiar with the work and the office. On the 3rd day itself, I had a nervous breakdown; I couldn’t cope up with the ‘9:00 am to 7:00 pm’ life. I wanted to give up, but I knew if I did, I would always regret it. My mother motivated me to try one more day, put in extra efforts, as I had worked hard to get the internship. I had come so far, I couldn’t just give up. I never looked back after that day. The hustling trains didn’t bother me anymore, a new journey of enlightenment had begun.
The lawyer under whom I was assigned suffered from a disability, but his will and determination to work, in spite of all the adversity he had faced, inspired me. He was the mentor who guided me during my research & drafting and answered all my silly questions. I assisted him in writing a comparative analysis on ‘Rights Of Persons With Disabilities Act, 2016’, and on ‘Persons With Disabilities Act, 1995‘. Right from assisting him in the various courts to attending meetings at Vidhan Bhavan, I experienced it all. Many of you might think that the interns are often given clerical work, e.g., photocopying, posting, fetching orders, etc., but I think everything we do helps us at some point in our life. During the 2nd week of the internship, I was sent to fetch an order copy from the Sessions Court, which is one experience I can never forget. The Court has its own way of functioning. It took me two days to get that certified order copy, but in those two days, I learned the complete process of how things actually functioned. The REAL world outside the law school is much different than what books prepare us for. I can’t thank my seniors enough, for the trust and encouragement they put in me, which helped me to go out there and do things independently. Along with working for disability rights, I also got to file RTIs, follow up on them, and consequently, file petitions on it in the High Court. I also got an opportunity to work on women related cases and visit the JJB for child matters. I also attended various events like TogetherVCAN’s Social Sanchar with Shri S.Kshatriya – Maharashtra’s first ever Chief Commissioner under the newly instituted Right To Service Act – at Royal Bombay Yacht Club, on behalf of the organization. During my internship tenure, on almost every Friday, HRLN held talks on issues related to Kashmir, Triple Talaq, Communalism, JJB, etc., giving everyone an opportunity to learn something new and increase their existing knowledge-base. As they say, when you like your job, time flies, and so did my 6 weeks which changed my life forever.
HRLN is THE place to intern if you want to learn. The long hours and disciplined environment might give you a fright, but once you settle down, you stop looking at the clock. God bless all the co-interns who shared my workload on the hectic days. Everyone at the office was extremely helpful (right from the head, Mr. Kranti LC, to the support staff). HRLN taught me that beyond the shining corporate life there lies a society, which is in desperate need of help. It taught me to be compassionate towards the needy, and most important of them all, I learned to give back to the society.
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. So don’t shy away from stepping out of your comfort zone, because this world has a lot to offer!
Editor’s note – If you also have an interesting story to share, you can now participate in Your Internship Story Contest 2017 and win cash prizes and goodies worth INR 1 Lac!