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Wednesday, December 13

Order Order Order!!!



It was just like how I'd always imagined it. When I used to watch stormy court scenes in tamil movies on the television. The overfed guy with sharp eyes, dressed in a black shiny robe that swept the floor, calling out 'My Lord' at the end of every sentence. I always wondered why they used to show the statue of a woman blindfolded, weighing a scale. As a kid I thought the scale would magically tip to one side thus proving the right criminal guilty.

I'd laugh now if I saw those scenes again.
Laugh at the robe billowing like a grand evening gown.
Laugh at the lawyer prostrate like a slave in front of the half asleep, uninterested judge.
Laugh at how the crowd and the judge himself are moved to tears when the hero tells them that he would go to jail for his brother.
Laugh till my insides hurt or until the overweight heroine bounces across the screen (Whichever comes first).


Anyway here I was...
The Location - Saidapet High Court.
The Time - 11 a.m. With annoying rainfall and sunshine almost together.
The Reason - I was here to plead 'not guilty' for a murder case...

NOT!

I was here because my stupid insurance company suddenly needed me to get an order from the court stating that the cops could not trace the stolen bike. Apparently a certificate from the cops wasn't enough. One day, I'm going to go on a bombing spree and I wouldn't even have to worry because they'd surely catch the first suspect in the city & force him to confess that he committed a crime he had no knowledge about. That's the average South Indian cop to you.

But I'm not here to talk to you about retarded policemen. It's all about the court...


And like all court buildings, or any buildings built during the British regime, I saw red everywhere. The brick morphed cleverly into the wall, distinctly segregating each and every layer as the red blocks stood out. (Why could they not paint it another colour? The British had long gone. And 'My Lord' had become 'Your Honour').
Most of all things, I noticed there were scores of heads moving in confused haphazard movements. I stood just for a minute watching enrapt as people avoided elbows, shoves, a large puddle of water & standing people haggling with lawyers to reduce the bribe, as dad found out where Court No.9 was.

As I entered the building, two things caught my attention;
1. How it stank. The reek of old forgotten files of paper... Of sweat... Of shit. (Uh Oh! Somebody had stepped on something...)
2. How dirty the place was. There was no mat and the scores of chappals, sandals and bare feet that trod the wet ground outside, managed to merge the stone floor with the slush.

As we walked cautiously trying to find a sign that showed the way, scores of men in long black robes (They looked like the kind women usually wore. The satiny ones...) kept walking and talking at the same time.
Walking from one court room to another.
Talking to someone begging him for help, or on the phone haggling about the price for settling a law suit.

After we passed Court No.9 twice (No signs or boards anywhere), we came across the person from the Police Station we were scheduled to meet. He looked down at his watch and told us he'd been waiting since 9 in the morning, with a disapproving look.

"But you asked us to come only at 11!"

Silence...

"I understand... But still punctuality is very important saar."

The urge to punch him in the stomach, (parts of which could be seen sticking out through gaps of the stretched shirt) was overwhelming. I wouldn't miss a target so large anyway. But I was distracted when a sleazy looking lawyer walked past with a fair woman.

"TV Serial actor", I heard someone whispering. And I shut my ears to the rest of the conversation which was primarily on debating which serial she acted in. I looked up and noticed she was overweight, had a double chin, but carried it off well. She was good looking compared to what we normally saw on TV (a.k.a Horror Shows). But I knew that the South Indian film industry didn't care if a woman had a large mole on her nose, or if she looked pregnant. She just had to be fair, which this woman was.
(The fairness is a very tiresome issue & I'll blog about it later. I can't blog about something else in this post).

The cop's eyes stopped hungrily wandering about her voluptuous figure and he turned to us and told us we had to wait for a while as the advocate was having his lunch.

At 11?? Or was it a pre-lunch snack?

I debated as I watched a uniformed cop hold a ruffian by his collar and sternly admonish him for keeping his cellular phone switched on in court, even as a dozen lawyers sailed past in unison, all talking into their mobile devices. (Hard to believe a ruffian like that even owned a cell phone). Biased rules always make me feel sick.
But that was not all that made me feel sick. Claustrophobia coupled with watching lawyers adorned in a complete suit with bow and the dumb billowing bathrobe in the sweltering heat & humidity was making me nauseous.

I wished the advocate would just show up, let me sign, and leave.


I breathed deeply and glanced down. The sight that met my eyes was compeltely revolting. I jumped and moved away from the corner. After thorough inspection, it revealed not a single corner had been spared... Sometimes, even parts of the wall sufficed.

I noticed red splotchy dried up stain marks left after careless people spit their 'paan'. I wondered to myself if that was why the building was painted red. To hide the shameful fact that people would spit on anything that was cornered off by concrete. But the marks stood out. A deeper shade of red than the light, faded, weathered red of the walls. Just like the people stood out. One day, I hope they would turn as red too and clean up after themselves. Give me a spinning kick and call me Lucy, but I definitely think that day might come.


I thanked the stars when the lawyer arrived. He looked like such a pathetic mess. With his fat self, white hair sprouting sparsely from his head, his face like a baby's, wet sputtering eyes and a foaming mouth. I found it very hard not to stare at the tiny spectacles that balanced precariously on his fat, pudgy nose. The only thing broader than his forehead was the tikka he had carefully spent time drawing in the morning. He slapped his visiting card down on the corridor wall. 'Something Varma - B.a. LLb. etc... etc...'. (I forgot)

Anyway, the real test came when he opened his mouth. I was glad I was blessed with good reflex because they came in handy avoiding the saliva. He spat more than he spoke. Illegible words tumbled out of his mouth, all sprayed wet. However, I was busy dodging and hoping he'd shut up, and thankfully he did.
He then asked me for a few details which I furnished him with. He scribbled it all on a blank sheet of paper. My name looked like 'Anvil Pomash'. I hoped he could read what he'd written.


And later, we proceeded to the actual Court No.9, which was a dingy little room. My hopes of a large court with audience clapping and lawyers striding up and down vanished and instead, I found a bunch of lawyers, stuffed into a tiny room screaming and talking loudly, all at the same time to the judge, who looked like he might break down at any point of time.

It was somewhere between that and the lawyers banging their fists on the poor table, when Mr. Varma dropped the bomb. Cleared his throat and said, "That will be Rs. 800".
My eyes popped as I stared in disbelief. (Rs. 800 to get a signature on a green paper? Sure beats the bizarre fines in my college any day!)

With dad standing and arguing that the cop had said it would cost only 300 and the lawyer's defiant claim that the cop didn't know anything, being new on the job, I was standing there ready to give up when they reached a consensus.
Rs. 500! (So, what are we buying? Smuggled Chinese electronic goods on the road?)
Anyway, the deal was sealed & I guess that's all that matters.


I've to go this evening to collect the duly signed sheet of paper (Hopefully, I'll fake a hernia or intense pain in some part of my body & ask dad to go by himself). Honestly, I'm not in the mood to dodge saliva sprays. I like my glasses without specks of froth on them. I'm not in the mood either to spend 'quality time' at the cursed place watching lawyers make more money than they could've ever imagined.

The only thing I remember distinctly from my visit however was the signboard that said 'Beware of touts' put up in many a place. I found it amusing when, what the people actually had to beware of, were the lawyers themselves, and the law itself.

I'd barely finished thinking this, when the red stains on that corner made a new friend.

It went like this.
The old man in the lungi walked over to the corner, his mouth full of something and spewed red liquid with careful aim and......... blah... blah...


************************************************************************************

13 Comments:

Blogger Advitiya said...

Sounds similar to my first court experience. Of course even though I hate to admit it, being a woman has it advantages if you are OK with men peering down your top. I'd gone to get a deed registered and of course I got to stand in the front but the sad part was when there was a mock stampede and people tried to get a lil touchy-feely.

"The only thing I remember distinctly from my visit however was the signboard that said 'Beware of touts' put up in many a place. I found it amusing when, what the people actually had to beware of, were the lawyers themselves, and the law itself."

I totally agree...
Nice post btw... funny :-)

Wed Dec 13, 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger Anki said...

hilarious... saar... u shud write more often :-)

Thu Dec 14, 03:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hehehe.. that was funny :)

These courts suck. I've been in one for crossing a railway crossing when it was closed :P

Grr.. this beta.blogger.com has an issue with blogger accounts :-S

- Da Rodent

Thu Dec 14, 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Just Me said...

Nice post! :)

I remember being in court me self.. something to do with a gas connection being transferred and a deed or some such crap. Damn it was different from the courts you read about and see on TV!

Thu Dec 14, 02:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it inspired you to write it was worth the visit. Keep up the good writing......

Sowmiya

Fri Dec 15, 07:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Rama said...

hmmm.... now we know how justice is delivered...!!! :P

and btw, that's the saidapet court... and not the saidapet high court... should u be booked for contempt of court.....!!! lol...

hilarious as ever....

Tue Dec 19, 10:03:00 PM  
Anonymous sups said...

Dear God,
Please make sure i never have to visit the court for whatever reason.
Thank you.
me

Wed Dec 20, 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Me said...

well written post.extremely funny.keep it up!

Thu Dec 21, 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Arvind said...

@ Advitiya -
I'm really sorry to hear that.. Most of the lawyers are all sleazy bastards!
& No.. I'm not okay with getting work done by having men peer down women's tops!

Anyway, thanks!
& I hope nobody has to ever go to a court for anything!
& if you atleast have to, make sure you're a bodybuilder, so that in any case, if there's punch up, you'd emerge unscathed! :D

Thu Dec 21, 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Arvind said...

@ Anki -
Yes ma'am.. I will.. I have a LOT of free time nowadays..
Will update frequently! And.. thanks! :)


@ Joe -
You crossed a closed railway crossing?????
Well.. It's a good thing justice was served! :P
See? That's the problem when ppl try to conserve fuel.. Lol..
& yeah.. beta blogger is weird.. I switched to it so that I could comment hassle free! :(

Thu Dec 21, 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Arvind said...

@ Just Me -
Hahaha!! You don't even remember what you went there for?!?? LMAO..
Actually, can't blame you, I might just forget the whole thing, but my blog will harshly remind me.. :P


@ Sowmiya -
ummm... errrr...
Thanks?? (I'm very inspired I must say..)

Thu Dec 21, 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Arvind said...

@ Rama -
Oh!! How blasphemous.. I must change it at once, lest the cyber police take my case!! Noo!!
Thoo!! I don't care if I call it the Saidapet Kundi Court.. Lol..
Anyway, thanks!


@ Sups -
How I wish I could tell you that you'd never have to visit a court.. But unfortunately, everyone makes it there atleast ONCE in their life.. (It's kinda like a ritual.. Your life isn't over until you go there atleast once!)


@ Me -
Thanks!
Of course, your '100/100' mark is missing.. :P

Thu Dec 21, 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Da Rodent said...

@arvind: oh., i think i even blogged about it.. hmm., too lazy to go lookup the archives.. LOL.. it was one funny day i swear.

Looks like google guys finally fixed the beta.blogger.com login issues :)

Sat Jan 06, 10:12:00 PM  

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