I know I haven’t written in a while. Lawyer-ing came in between – serious lawyering this time. The kind with deadlines and clients getting upset and judges getting angry and costs being imposed! So knitting had to take a backseat. Not for long hopefully. It did get me to think though of something my mother finds very amusing about me – a lawyer who knits. She keeps saying this to people like it is a very unusual combination. It isn’t actually and when I sat down to it, I could come up with a lot of traits and skills that knitters and lawyers share in common. I present a few to you below
Both groups need to read a lot
I have already told you before, the main reason why I ended up in law school was because the general consensus in my house was that I used to read a lot so I would become a good lawyer. My father would argue that he is aware of several gentle-persons practicing in the local courts who have probably never cracked open a book, but that’s besides the point. If you become a lawyer, you will have to do a fair share of reading – cases, journals, files, etc.
Same goes for knitting – patterns are intricate and require patient reading and understanding. In my 3 years of knitting, I must have read hundreds of patterns – even though I haven’t executed half as many – just to find the right one to use for knitting. So yes, reading a lot is common for both.
Proponents of both activities like to use arcane language
Lawyers have this art down to a pat – we love to use our Latin terms and generously pepper our conversations with inter alias and prima facies and ipse dixits. I did a drafting course with an American professor 4-5 years ago – sponsored by the law firm I used to work for – who was always perplexed why Indians liked to use Latin terms so much. I was kind enough to tell him, if you don’t use these terms, you are not considered a very good lawyer at least by your clients. Poor man, I think he decided to discontinue teaching his course in India!
Knitting too has its special lingo – the K2Togs, YOs, SSKs – which while not difficult to understand, will require at least a glossary of abbreviations for you to have close at hand for ready reference. In fact, advanced patterns even dispense with the glossary and the abbreviations and rely solely on symbols. Not so different from the lawyers then.
Both groups are cliquish
Ask any non-lawyer partner/spouse and they will probably tell you that they hate attending lawyer parties. I’m not surprised. When lawyers get together, they easily forget there is anyone else in the room and start gossiping about judges and cases and all that. It can get very boring for someone who is not clued in. It’s shameful but I’m guilty of doing the same thing. An instance of how much lawyers like each other’s company would be a pub/restaurant called 4S in my neighbourhood market of Defence Colony, which on most evenings (especially weeknights) is jam packed with people in black and white clothes (the garb of litigators in India), with nary a soul who is not a lawyer.
Knitters also have their knitting clubs and circles and when they get together they love to talk about the newest yarn they have purchased or the latest pattern they have discovered. To be honest, I have only read about this in books and on websites. But I assume that if I were ever a part of a knitting club or if I met a group of people at a party who I knew were knitters, I would only talk about knitting, to the exclusion of the non-knitters. It’s rather rude but that is the way it is.
Both groups think of themselves as artists
I know this is not the most obvious one, but it is true. Ask any lawyer, especially a litigator – a well drafted petition, a well argued case feels like you have created a piece of art. When you manage to unravel a knotty problem and present it lucidly to the judge, you feel nothing less than an artist. And, I do not exaggerate, when some lawyers argue in Court – Mr Harish Salve I am looking at you – it sounds like they are spouting art. Such pleasure!
I don’t need to say much about this – every knitter knows this, everything you knit is a piece of art. I have never been very good with paints and pencils, but every time I finish knitting something beautiful, I feel like signing my name somewhere on it like an artist. Good idea – maybe I should!
Both activities require a lot of patience
For this point, I will first talk about knitting. Knitting needs lots and lots of patience. Finding the right yarn, pattern, needles, then casting on, knitting and binding off – it’s a long, long process. Often, when I am knitting I am itching to see the end product and I get so desperate that I end up knitting more than I should in a given day. Lack of patience in a knitter results in hurt fingers, so better to be patient and allow the pattern to slowly unravel itself.
If you’re a lawyer in India, especially a litigator, best to change your middle name to patience. Wheels of justice are not only slow for litigants, but also for lawyers. Unlike the wham-bam-thankyou-maam way the judicial system is shown to function in our movies, in reality cases go on for months, if not years. This is not the forum to discuss why the system is this way – let’s just accept for the sake of this post that it is. So if you’re not patient, you’re in for a lot of frustration.
Patience is also important for a litigator to survive the interminable wait between cases being called out for hearing. Most lawyers spend this time drinking endless cups of chai/coffee, eating pakodas and gossiping about each other. I say, if we all started using this time to knit, we will never need to buy clothes from stores again. What say you?
Phew! This got long even though I had wanted to keep it short. Lawyer, verbose and so on, you know. Anyway, I would love to know how you think your profession matches your passion. Talk to me.