This article was submitted by Shivangi Bajpai, Head of Outreach at Ergo and a second-year (Batch 2015-2020) at the National Law University, Odisha.
Down the line, over the years, it comes as a shattering realization that in the end, all we are and all we were or to say, all that we would be, shall be a part of the well organized stack of books. And, we fit in one of those books. The idea is as to who to blame or maybe not to?
Sitting at my desk at the office, I steal a glance at my boss swiveling in her chair and taking down notes, here and there. The office becomes a broker’s mayhem as in Wall Street as soon as the clock says 19:00. The lawyers keep walking in, taking the seats by the troubled client and assuring him/her(lest be neutral) of the probability to win.
“That would be 40,000/- sir”, one of them says in the recorded cacophony of the brute world. 40,000 for understanding whether the poor constable oppressed at the hands of organized Bureaucracy.
I watch them as they read the fact sheets and discuss with their partners about the probability of winning or the probability of, “Who’s presiding?” I see. “A good lawyer knows the subject and the better lawyer knows the judge”, coming true, not much to my surprise.
Helter and skelter, one of them raise their faces from their tables to look up and they notice the huddled up intern in the corner seat ensuring that I am at work and if I am not, giving me the scorn of disgust. There are two others, one walking in a peculiar way, moving his hands in a fashion which looks like as if he is continuously striving to reach out to something but cannot and the other one looks a bit lazy and then he proves it by going behind the stack of AIRs and dozing away.
“Samundar”… calls again.
“Ji Hukum”…shouts the lazy one and attempts to stand up to run down to the main office. He looks at me and catches me smiling, replying it with an embarrassed scratch on his head and a phrase, ”Aankh lag gayi thi”. Now, that’s a regular.
Shaking my head, I return back to work, realizing the incapacitation the system has injured me with. As much as I find the work monotonous, there is no way for me to escape because breaking rules comes with its consequences.
Court is no different from office. I do not miss a chance to embarrass myself or let myself down with self-doubt allowing the system to feed on this ‘self-doubt’. First day in and I bump into a lawyer, I look up, apologize and bump into him again and then I just freeze there, holding the door open to let him pass and then everyone keeps on going out and coming in and hey, I am standing there holding the door because I do not know when to let it go. I am sure, they must be having a good time outside, discussing the new victim. The chuckles are ringing clear in my head. Self Doubt is back in the land and about me holding the door, no, Chivalry doesn’t come with Chauvinism, anymore.
Keeping my bag close to me, I go and sit in the last row of the Courtroom and there’s the Chief Justice ordering. A bald fellow with steel rimmed spectacles and a sense of educated elation on his face looking at the lawyer and into the files, stopping the counsel here and there asking something, making a slight joke, much to the counsel’ s discomfort and dismissing the cases. I am sitting and observing the proceedings and reflecting on, Do I really want this?
The clock strikes 13:00 and the gates open. The chief justice rises and so do we. The Court room starts emptying up, with people descending down to have their break. I am still sitting and reflecting on the possibility and the purpose. My head’s a muddle and it is becoming difficult to focus. This is a hurdle. Argh! I should go back home.
“I am not well” I speak to my lawyer and I start back to home.
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