Miscellaneous Day – Part II
Think on your feet; let your Moot Court instincts take over.
“Speak louder please, Mr. Counsel, why should we give a pass-over?”
No, no, no, no, this was not supposed to be happening.
Somehow, the words “court” “arriving” “other” “occupied” “Your Lordship, please please please” escape from your general direction and with a stare to whither forests, the file is tossed in the pass-over pile.
“Much obliged your Lordship”
Now you become articulate and coherent. Great.
Soon most of the matters are done. You realize the rest are spread out. You can take a breather. A seat opens up in the courtroom you are in. You practically leap for it, doing your best Matrix impressions… and a Senior counsel has beaten you to it. Not beaten you so much as casually asserted his divine right to it. You sigh and lean against a pile of reports muttering “Article 14″ under your breath.
Only you are so knackered of course. Your boss has managed to make his way to every single one of the matters in time (or at least in time for the pass-over) and he hasn’t even broken a sweat. You, on the other hand, have already lost your body mass in sweat, no longer have any sensation in half your extremities and hear your lungs protesting at the over work and threatening a strike or two. He’s probably used to it, you console yourself, but somehow, he seems to get everything done with the minimum effort. He beckons to you now, he’s looking at your note, and asks you the most harmless question with the most devastating results: “Did you pick up the SCCs for this from the office?”. Panic.
Next thing you know you are parkouring yourself through the corridors to the Supreme Court advocates library. Miraculously, you find the books in no time, check them out and run back. Somewhere at the back of your head is the repeated warning of your parents, teachers, friends and well wishers telling you not to run through crowded corridors. You tell the voices to shut up, take a glance at the display board, realize you’ve got to do your best Usain Bolt impression and take off.
The next thing you know, you are on your back on the floor. A crowd’s stopped to stare. The books are lying a few feet away. All indications are of a spectacular fall that probably involved a somersault or two. It would have been a great sight if it didn’t unfortunately star you. Someone unhooks your robe from the rogue nail it was caught in, someone hands you the books, someone else lifts you up, you generally mumble a “thanks I am ok” and head off to … where was it you were going again?
By the time you figure out and get it to the court, the matter’s up and your boss is coming out of the court, the briefing counsel thanking him. You think it probably went well. You avoid your boss’ eye for a bit and slink off to the next courtroom.
Eventually it is the last matter of the day. In the court of Judge A_____. Judge A________, who takes his own sweet time in disposing a case whose judicial philosophy seems to be “everyone who’s taken the trouble to come to the Highest Court of the land is going to get a full hearing from me”. Hard to argue with that. He’s patient, he’s careful and he’s fair. Screw that. You want to have lunch, go home and take a hot shower to be rid of the miscellaneous day feeling. No, not a hot shower so much as a proper scouring that will remove the patina of dirt, sweat, grime, other people’s germs and God only knows what else.
The A/C and a slightly less overcrowded courtroom are taking effect on you. Your boss doesn’t need your help on this one. The other side had to file an affidavit (something no one bothered to tell you until you spent three hours painstakingly working on it). They’ll ask for an adjournment. You even find a place to sit… at last. And promptly fall asleep.
Of course you’re supposed to respect the Court and the Bench and not fall asleep right there in the middle of court hearings. But hey, you read somewhere that even Gandhi used to fall asleep in court on many an occasion, so it’s probably ok. Right? You drift deeper into sleep. Possibly the most boring counsel in the country is droning about a case concerning the most boring subject in law: property. Eventually you’re dreaming or you’re just in that crazy place where you’re not entirely asleep or entirely awake and your dreams are half melded with reality but it’s not totally weird because there’s… snoring.
Snoring?? You wake up with a jolt and realize that the lawyer next is also asleep and snoring. Loudly. Soon heads are turning. You’re wide awake now. He’s still asleep blissfully and snoring. You poke him in the ribs. Public service you tell yourself. He’s awake with a startled look, and sees the whole court staring at him; he gives a sheepish smile and shuffles off, possibly somewhere quieter to have an afternoon siesta. You on the other hand have to wait this case out. You drift off a couple of times, and the next time you’re awake, it is your case being called out, but before you can haul yourself up from the oh-so-comfortable seat, the other side’s asked for time and the matter’s done. That was quick.
The day’s finally done. It’s still only about 3 p.m. though, and there’s nothing to do till 5 p.m. when your boss expects you to be in office for the next day’s work. You pick your bag up from the chambers and totter off towards the gate. As you roar homewards down Delhi’s unruly roads, you reflect quietly on the day’s work, and realize that there was literally nothing you contributed in any useful manner. Already your mind is exploring ways to solve the problems of miscellaneous days. More specifically, solve your miscellaneous day problems. All solutions you think of are wildly impractical and utterly stupid. You give up and resign yourself to more days like these. As bad as miscellaneous day sounds though, there is, in fact, something worse in the life of a junior in the Supreme Court.
The horror! The horror!!*
*Apologies to Colonel/Mr. Kurtz