Jayashree Vasantha sounds elated over the phone. The 50-year-old from Kuttichal, Thiruvananthapuram, has secured the third rank for LLB.
“I had actually received my results last month but kept the news of my achievement within the family,” she says. It was a group of her friends who spread the news. “A few classmates of mine, Rajeev, Arun, Kiran and Manoj came home to felicitate me with a ponnada and a memento. They also invited MLA KS Sabarinadhan. He congratulated me and gave me the ponnada and memento. He shared the experience on his Facebook page. My neighbours have been chiding me for not sharing the good news with them,” she adds.
Jayashree lives with her husband, Gopakumaran, and her children. “My husband was my neighbour. Ours was a love marriage. He is my best friend and staunch supporter. I wouldn’t have reached where I am without his support.”
According to Jayashree, a post-graduate in economics, a career in law is a dream come true for her. "A career in law was a dream of mine. My family wasn’t financially sound. As my father wanted me to get a government job, I joined MA economics and went on to learn typewriting and Tally,” she says.
She adds that it was serendipity that led to her noticing an invite to those interested in joining a night batch at the Thiruvananthapuram Law Academy. “Although I was hesitant, my family, especially my husband, encouraged me. He said that the kids were grown up and could look after themselves even if I returned home late. And so in 2017, I joined the Law Academy.”
Jayashree says she was fortunate to have teachers and classmates who were extremely supportive. She adds that her husband, a carpenter, did not earn a steady income. “In fact, I had almost put a stop on the idea of my joining LLB as we had various financial constraints. My husband, however, said we would be able to tide over it when the time came. I was fortunate to have teachers and friends who helped me along the way. Some of them chipped in to pay my fees and complete my course,” says Jayashree, adding how her friends would share “tuition notes”, which she, in turn, would summarise further and post “voice clips” on.
Travelling back after work was also often a problem. “I live in Kuttichal but the busses in the city are only to Nedumangad or maximum to Arayanad (a rarity). On the days my husband had work in the city, he would wait till I finish classes to take me home. I had a friend who lived in Nedumangad. I would ride with him till Nedumangad and either my husband or son would pick me up.”
For Jayashree, receiving the third rank came as a pleasant surprise. “To be honest, my goal was to pass LLB in the first attempt; I never expected to receive a rank. But now that I have, I do wish I had put in a bit more effort. Who knows, I could have achieved the first rank?,” she says, adding that she would wake up daily at 4 am and get things done in the kitchen before heading out.
“I was working as an accountant at a hotel in the city. After office hours I would rush for my LLB classes,” says Jayashree.
Her children, Gokul and Gopika, she says, are extremely proud of her. While her son, Gokul is pursuing a degree in hotel management at Lourdes Matha College, her daughter Gopika is studying BSc Physics at University College.
Jayashree, who is currently practicing under Advocate R Vinod at the Vanchiyoor Court, hopes to “one day enroll for LLM.”