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Students & Campus
29 April 2021

Life Lessons from a “Master of None”

Recent graduate Apoorva Bose's life has been a panoply of interests ranging from the arts to international law. Yet with multiple passions, she soon found herself unsure of where her focus should lay. In a TedX Talk, she discusses her struggle and how she found her path to harmony among an internal cacophony. 

I grew up in a close-knit, joint family household in the small coastal city of Kochi, Kerala in India. Before I could walk or talk properly, I was already taking music and dance lessons. Along with academics, I have always been that student who did multiple things at the same time, even including film: my filmography over a period of seven years stands at around six films in Malayalam cinema.

After completing my schooling I opted to pursue a legal education, equipped with the firm belief that it can be a powerful agent for empowering women and catalysing change in society. 

Throughout my undergraduate studies at India’s National University of Advanced Legal Studies, I worked extensively on developing my knowledge about women’s issues and feminism, particularly how the law interacts with such domains.

I worked closely with various legal firms and grassroots organisations, gaining valuable insights into policies and legislation through varying perspectives. 
During this period, my love and passion for travelling, movies, dance and music remained alive as I developed the discipline to manage my time between academics, work and leisure.

This act of juggling between activities increasingly became a vital part of my college experience, and consequently I applied to and got through one of the most respected International Law programmes in the world, at the Graduate Institute.

In one sweep life moved from my culturally homogenous hometown of Kochi to Geneva, the hub of multilateral diplomacy and arguably one of the most cosmopolitan places in the world. The exposure to people from diverse cultures and nationalities over the past couple of years constitutes the single, most important highlight of my stay outside India. Moreover, I experienced an entirely new education system.

Right from the start, I found myself thoroughly enjoying courses that studied the nexus of gender and human rights law, taught by some of the best minds in the legal world such as Professor Andrew Clapham and Senior Research Fellow Maria Neus Torbisco-Casals. This led me to further explore how roles assumed by women, particularly in conflict areas, play a critical role in lawmaking.

My keen interest in blockchain led to me working as a project manager at Bosagora Foundation. I also continue to work as an international human rights lawyer as well.

I recently gave a TedX talk on the idea of being a “Master of None”. My talk gave glimpses of how I struggled to identify as one single thing (career wise). It was during the pandemic that I started showing physical manifestations of my stress and anxiety in the form of tinnitus, which is when you experience ringing or other noises in one or both ears which isn't caused by an external sound.

After months of therapy and self introspection I have finally realised that the pressure we put on ourselves to become a master of one is so not worth it. I am not just Apoorva the lawyer or Apoorva the actor. I am all these things and more.

And who knows, maybe tomorrow I'll find another path that I am passionate about, and along the way try my level best to go from being a master of none to a master of some.