Anon writes in their own words “an unoriginal rant on law school politics”. They also wish to clarify the anonymity of the article is due to fear of backlash from the Saanp network. Read on to find out if you are the Saanp or the Saanp-ed!
I never really understood what politics was until I entered Law School and got introduced to a new classification of mammals- cold blooded, two legged, but metaphorically similar to the indigenous residents of Nagarbhavi – the Saanp. A year in law school has taught me more about Saanps than National Geographic or Arnab Goswami ever could. And so, like a good senior (:P), I take it upon myself to impart this gyaan to the incoming batch like a good facilitator would.
Let’s start with the FAQs.
- Who is a Saanp?
Saanp : Adjective
- Literal: Saanp is short for Aasteen ka Saanp which literally means a Snake hidden under your sleeve, which will be warm, comforting and supportive until it climbs you and bites you in the neck. Ouch.
- Informal/ Colloquial: The betrayer who was once your own close fellow and dependant: My ‘best friend’ decided to f**k me over me in the committee elections and is now Convenor. Saala kaisa saanp hai.
- Law School Lingo: Basically, anyone and everyone who has climbed the ladder to ‘studly-ness’ or any other form of popularity by kicking everyone off it. Much like a Money in The Bank Contest. (Finding examples is your homework. It requires strict observation of law school fauna.)
2. Where are they found?
Primary Habitat includes the classroom and the hostels.
Other places of interest include the library moot rooms, the field, Chetta at midnight, offices of the professors and close vicinity of ‘legit’ seniors. Ubiquity is a key feature, you see.
- Why and how to identify them?
This is where it gets tricky. This is because, you see, the Saanp has a few evolutionary advantages over a normal law schoolite which are usually a result of socialization.
First, the Saanp is evolved enough to shed the skin of emotions and faith in order to establish self-interest as the paramount need. Nothing wrong in that, is there? No, not at all. After all, that’s what we all do. But the Saanp is different because the need fulfilment for it is mechanical, which means things like conscience and principle have no place for a Saanp. And so, you too mean nothing to the Saanp. So, the next time you see pages missing from a book needed for your moot, you’ll know whom to blame.
The second deadly feature of the Saanp is stealth, which comes from Diplomacy. The Saanp is able to show himself to be the victim in front of office-bearers, the cool-guy in front of the ‘chill crowd’ of the batch, the social justice warrior in front of seniors and the victim in front of the professors. (100 points if anyone gets the reference. You are a pro in Saanp identification). But one might say this isn’t really diplomacy but just plain lying. They would be wrong. In all of these interactions, the Saanp, like a good contract lawyer, shall insert qualifiers, window clauses, a pinch of amnesia, and a seemingly indifferent ear to batch gossip. And then, a great information gatherer (Read: Hey bro which committees are you planning to apply to? I needed some advice), but a selective information sharer, the Saanp shall vanish from view and you wouldn’t know what hit you until someone ditches you from their moot firm and then proceeds to firm with the Saanp. A successful Saanp might even convince you of no Saanp-activities on their part.
Third, and most important, is network. This flows from the second feature and demonstrates itself in the form of power. The Saanp, by virtue of smart politicking, will have a network spread far and wide. The network will work like an invisible hand and affect several people. Here’s how to remember this
Some might not get into committees,
others may not get roommates,
some may deny you notes,
and others may leave you alone.
The Saanp network works like a cabal which everyone knows about yet cannot tackle either because they benefit from its existence or because of the above mentioned evolutionary disadvantages which let unnecessary concepts like truth, friendship, principles and conscience affect actions.
- Wait, then, how to deal with them?
After that ultra-morbid, but necessary, breakdown of the Saanp, I want all first years to note that: Saanps can be dealt with as long as you use the given cheatsheet ( or any other cheatsheet by a reputed Saanp-handler).
Step 1. Identify
Use indicators in FAQ 3 to identify the Saanp.
Step 2. Apply Principles
Once you have identified the Saanp keep the following principles in mind:
- Do not morph into a Saanp. Not deviating from your ‘human’ path is essential.
- Understand that, as a thumb rule, Saanps don’t change. So, don’t go soft.
- Do not collectively hiss in class when a known Saanp is made to do anything. This either warns the Saanp to be wary or further incentivizes Saanp-activities because their cover is blown anyway.
Step 3. Ignore the Saanp’s success.
Yes, you read that correct. Ignore. You will find that most law school Saanps somehow manage to beat you in almost everything even when you work harder. They are able to do this because the networking allows them to create more opportunities and gain resources that you will not have access to. Ignore it. I know it will sting a bit but, ignore it. Why? Because unlike the Saanp, you cannot control their success.
Step 4. Control your own state of being.
This may seem like preachy codswallop but beyond a certain point even the Saanp network fails. The Saanp network’s success is perpetuated by your own laziness and uninterested attitude. The Saanp network looks at what you don’t pay attention to and is hence, able to exert some kind of control over things.
As soon as you decide to take control of everything that affects you, the Saanp network is nullified. Just stop being a potato, accept your situation, lose a bit of your ego and act.
Don’t have good grades? Fine. Be responsible. Go on rampage mode. Sacrifice some of your non-existent social life. Read the mails, get advice, apply it. Make your f**k**g projects on time. Do better. Do your best. Then call home.
Don’t have a roomie? Fine. Make a list of people you want to room with, go ask them and tell them to answer clearly and soon. Use some game theory that Professor Somashekar taught you. Get rejected. Get accepted. Or get a big-af single room.
Too tired of the NLS Grapevine? Fine. Either censor, be diplomatic and turn into a Saanp (Don’t). OR Get out of that shell. Know and justify your views, your stances. Be brave in front of those who attack you. Ask for support. Take care of your friends. Meet Ms. Sumana Hari and rant. And soon, you won’t give two flying f**ks.
Feeling Sad, Lonely and Philosophical? Ugh, even that’s fine. Listen to punk rock. Run across the field at night. Get a goddamn beer. Then choose a person and go talk or just sit. And I’m sure you know who I’m talking about because, as much as you claim to be, no man is an island. Too many times loneliness is self-imposed and sadness is an unnecessary side effect. Combined this leads to the general law school philosophy ‘I’m dead inside’. But nah, you know you aren’t. Go out alone to try some nice food to confirm.
- What happens then?
If you’ve followed the steps in FAQ 4 perfectly, you will probably arrive at: live and let live!
This is detox of an emotional kind where you finally decide to leave the judgement for the likes of Lord Denning. You may even get close to the perfect ideal of a completely non-judgmental happy soul. In the very least, you won’t be ‘dead inside’ anymore.
(Pro tip: skip directly to FAQ 5 by applying the short-term solution. This entails getting super drunk in a safe environment, passing out and then bonding with the people who carry you back and remind you of your antics the next morning. First years are requested to not try this, ever.)
- Are you done?
Yeah. Rant over. Toodles.
7. But wait, is it really that bad?
Ah no, not really, which is why I call this a rant.
Not everyone is a Snake. And just like there’s always a few bad apples (read: reptiles), there’s more than a few good apples. These are the people across NLS you’ll grow to care about and like. They’ll be your support system who’ll help you win the whole ‘You v. Snake network’ deal. And mostly, You do win. However much one may do Snake-y stuff, for some reason, probably karma, Snakes get fucked one way or the other. So there’s solace in that.
Have a fun time here. 🙂
Okay now pakka rant over.
For any clarifications or queries or angry responses, the author can be contacted through the NLS-Grapevine. Codeword: HISSyfit.