Litigation was the soul mate of Mr. Ramesh Chandra. Bold letters were embossed on the nameplate when you stood in front of his office door.
The name plate greeted “Ramesh Chandra Advocate, High Court”
Ramesh Chandra was an individual who knew the laws of the Indian Constitution better than the lines of his palm.
The uncanny sixth sense and dynamic personality made him stand out from the rest.Now he worked for the rich for five days searching for loopholes and flaws in the laws and made his money.
Still he managed to keep in touch with his roots and devoted one day to helping the poor who came to his doorsteps to seek justice.
He would put seventy hours a week and age didn’t seem to slow him down. Friday was a very busy day and the lesser fortunate milled at his office. Mr.
Chandra would direct the junior lawyers who had just been out of the law colleges, to handle these cases.
He would tell the budding lawyers, “You will have to stick around. Handle each case and learn a few courtroom tricks. Prosecuting is an art and you have to perfect this art.
Maybe one day you will be in my shoes too.”
One Friday one of these junior assistants brought a case to his notice.
It was a case where a young man had come to seek redressal against the illegal occupancy of a house by the goons of a certain political party.
The first information report, as reported to the police were of no use, since the police were hand in glove with the goons too.
The helpless eyes of the youth named Sumit instilled a sense of pity in Mr. Chandra. Hence, he decided to handle the case himself.
He instructed his personal assistant to give Sumit an appointment since it was already past eight in the evening. Clapping Sumit’s back, Mr.
Chandra left saying, “Don’t worry, I will take care of it!”
The little ray of hope alluded by this circumstantial encouragement by so great a man to hear his case instilled a sense of jubilation in Sumit. He went home with renewed hope.
Next morning he arrived at the office of Mr. Chandra with the resolve of throwing the goons out.
Unfortunately,this time, he found that he had forgotten to take an appointment in his jubilation and found that he couldn’t go past the receptionist who said,
“No one is allowed without a valid appointment”. On Monday, he got the same response. The next day was no different.
Friday came along and again he got his chance when he managed an appointment for the next Thursday. As the days flew by, his expectation began to web.
He, however, didn’t lose his resolve yet! Somehow the no hope situation was cropping out of somewhere. Hope was the last resort and that made life worth living, and he earnestly clutched to it.
Thursday came along, however Mr. Chandra was found wanting, as he had flown to Amritsar to attend the inauguration of a hospital for the poor. The day’s appointments were shifted by a week.
The first signs of frustration were appearing on the distant horizon. Did poor guys like Sumit have a way out? On the scheduled day Sumit arrived only to find Mr.
Chandra leaving since the great lawyer’s son had reported ill. He had failed again. Sumit realized that appointments were of no use! Desperation forced him to think otherwise.
Monday ushered in a new week, and Sumit decided to meet the advocate by hook or by crook. He went and waited the whole day outside the advocate’s office but to no avail.
He couldn’t get past the stubborn secretary. Yet, he would not leave this undone. As Mr.
Chandra was leaving the office premises in his car, Sumit dashed in front on it waving his hands to stop it. The security guard reacted fast and ran out mistaking him to be some miscreant.
The guard caught hold of him and pinned him down. This drama had caught the attention of the advocate and he instructed the guard to leave him alone.
Mr. Ramesh pointing a finger to Sumit said, “You come here!”
Sumit brushed himself and went up to his car.
Mr. Ramesh said, “Son you remind me of my youth!” He quickly jotted down a telephone number on the back of his card with his pen.
Handling over his card he said, “Call me tomorrow and let’s see what I can do for you!”
A couple of rings and the advocate was online the next morning.
Sumit meekly mumbled, “Sir, I am the guy who stopped your car yesterday!”
“Yeah, I am supposed to inaugurate a primary school at Hosiarpur next Tuesday. You are welcome to accompany me there and I can hear your case in the spare time.
Is that ok with you son? That’s the earliest that I can give you otherwise I will have to cancel some appointment to accommodate you, which is really not feasible for the time being”.
It sounded like a command to Sumit.
Sumit replied, “As you wish, Sir. Thank you, Sir!”
“Come over to my place at say around seven in the morning and tell the security guard your name. This time I hope he will not pin you down!” saying this he laughed out aloud.
Sumit didn’t know what to say so he kept quiet.
“By the way, be punctual son!” said Mr. Ramesh before the receiver went dead.
On Tuesday morning, Sumit arrived sharp at seven in the morning at the “Chandra Villa” located in the posh south extension locality. The white mansion had a different aura around it.
The guard let him in. Neatly trimmed hedges surrounded the green carpet of grass on the lawn and creepers adorned the walls. Bonsai hung beside the Corinthian pillars and magnified the balcony.
He was ushered in by the servant and was offered a seat in the gorgeously decorated drawing room. It was a room fit for the kings.
He was awe-struck by the richness of the colours that adorned the place.
Two other gentlemen were sitting on the fur sofa. They were sipping tea and chatting. Mr. Chandra arrived shortly and shook hands with these gentlemen.
Mr. Chandra then asked Sumit, “What would you like Tea or Coffee?”
Sumit politely said, “No!”
Turning towards the gentlemen he said, “Well since this young man appears to be filled, we can leave!”
One of them said, “Why not!”
They started for Hosiarpur almost immediately in the car that these gentlemen had brought with them. Sumit was asked to sit in front as these two gentlemen and Mr.
Chandra occupied the back seat. Sumit was bored throughout the entire journey. All he did was sit and watch the dry countryside as the car trudged along slowly avoiding the potholes.
The parched dry earth exploded with heat. The dry barren trees appear to spread their branches towards the sky as if to pray for some rain.
The Bitumen road ended and gave way to an unpaved road as the scorching sun beat against the roof of the car. Without an A.C, it was more like a furnace. Mr.
Chandra was too very preoccupied to even talk to Sumit. Sumit could make head or tail of their conversation. He realized he had to bear the whims of the great lawyer. There was no way out.
The entire day revolved around the inauguration.
Sumit watched, as one speaker followed another, one speech followed another, each earnestly trying to outdo the other, by glorifying the great advocate amidst their presence.
“Acts of such benevolence are rare!”, said one.
“Kindness even greater!”, said another, as the advocate basked in the glory of the praises showered on him.
The temperature rose as did Sumit’s temper thinking what use was it to accompany a man who really couldn’t spare a minute for him. Sumit ate alone and unrecognized during lunch.
It was commoners and non-entities like Sumit who created heroes out of common individuals and followed them as slaves following a master. Strange are the ways of the world.
After all, justice is fair they say!
Finally, around six in the evening, Mr. Ramesh bid adieu to Hosiarpur amidst much fanfare.
Children ran after the car as it slowly vanished into the horizon leaving a trail of clouded dust behind. It was then that Sumit got his chance to speak. Sumit and Mr.
Chandra sat side by side as the chauffeur drove the car. The advocate listened patiently with his head resting on the car back seat’s back-rest. It was a long story.
After sometime Sumit noticed the advocate had closed his eyes. He still continued. Doubts crept appearing on his mind.
Was the great man listening to his discourse? He stopped suddenly, as suspicion took the upper hand. He noticed deep breaths disseminating the silence as the car trudged along slowly.
He had not even reached halfway mark and the advocate had fallen asleep! He brought his face close to the advocate’s face but was greeted with silence.
Sumit couldn’t rein in the devil called frustration. He looked out of the window and cursed silently. Then he couldn’t control his instincts from blurting out, “The bastard fell asleep!”
The chauffeur heard it. He glanced sideways and smiled. Yet, he continued driving without a word. Around half eight, the car rolled on the porch of the “Chandra Villa”. Mr. Chandra woke up.
His little daughter ran to greet he father. Sumit was too very frustrated. He started to leave. Then suddenly Mr. Chandra said, “Son, I didn’t hear your entire story!”
Sumit looked back. He wanted to hurl back all the abuses he knew. But after all, he was just a commoner, who had come to seek justice under Ramesh Chandra the famous advocate.
He was thinking that it was a mistake on approaching Mr. Chandra in the first place.
Seeking justice by becoming a lawyer seemed much easier than running after advocates who seemed to give dates for hearing and nothing else. He felt sick. Yet, strangely he followed Mr.
Ramesh to his study.
The study was filled with thick books. Files and papers were stacked on one side of the computer. There was hardly any space to sit as even the chairs were occupied by books and files. Mr.
Chandra removed some files from a chair and let Sumit sit. He occupied the revolving chair on the other end of the table and faced Sumit. He said, “You may start with the case details!”
Sumit with almost tears in his eyes quizzed him, “From where do I start?”
The advocate smiled and replied, “From where the bastard fell asleep!”