Wednesday, 13th November, 2019

A visit to Court: Rahul Gandhi writes an essay

21, Dec 2015 By Mahesh Jagga

What is more exciting than visiting a court? Ask me.

Ever since I was a child, I have dreamt of going to court one day. I always felt as if I had an emotional link with the court which was yet to be revealed to me. So, I was filled with excitement the moment I came to know about the invitation to visit the court. I had to pinch myself to get convinced that I was actually going to visit one! It reinforced my belief that when you want something with great intensity, whole world conspires to make it happen. It had to happen, finally.

We all gathered at the Jiju’s house on Saturday at 1:30 pm in the morning, in the afternoon and left for the court at 2:00 pm. After traveling for about half an hour, we finally reached the court. Mummy asked me to get down from the car, to remain with her so that nobody gets lost. I think she was worried that she might lose her way if I was not around.

Mummy telling me not to talk to any stranger
Mummy telling me not to talk to any stranger

It feels good to be treated as a grown up and responsible!

Anyway, she also told me not to talk to anyone in the court’s premises. Wonder why?

On entering the premises, I observed so many people rushing to and fro around the court. Some people were exiting the court; while others were hurrying in. Some people were also sitting on chairs, benches and on the ground awaiting their turns. There were around twenty court rooms. There were digital boards outside each court room that reflected the people who were invited. I was thrilled to see my name on one of the boards, along with that of Mummy. But they addressed us as ‘Accused’. I am sure the word ‘Accused’ must mean respected or honoured in court’s language.

We were invited to the court room and the host, called the judge, was sitting there to receive us. Shockingly, she did not even get up to welcome us. I was about to complain to mummy when the judge asked us to order.

Oh! So it was not a buffet and we had to order a la carte! This was turning out to be better than expected.

I spent close to five minutes on what to order. Should I order an exotic Mexican dish I love or should I think of the host’s pocket and settle for some staid Thai curry? Should I order a glass of Dom Perignon or can she afford a bottle of Fillico? I had hardly opened my mouth to enquire about the cuisines on offer that a hard kick in my shin told me to keep quiet. It must have been Mummy, I am sure.

The reader called our names, like a roll call, reminding me of school. My name was called and I mustered all the smartness and alacrity to loudly respond, “Present, Madam”. Surprisingly it earned a cold stare from Mummy and other uncles. Only the fat uncle from Mumbai smiled at me.

But everyone, including Mummy, Vora uncle, Dubey uncle and others marked their presence to the judge.

I was getting an uncomfortable feeling about the whole thing now. You don’t welcome us properly, don’t offer seats to us, don’t offer food or drinks but at least do not treat us like school kids after inviting us?

I started to protest and got another kick; this one hurt more than the earlier one.

I decided to watch the proceedings quietly, as a protest against the kicks. I looked around for the wall, to sit facing it to register my protest, but it was far away and I had to abandon the idea. And there was no chair available, anyway.

For around ten minutes the court was a very noisy place, with so many people, including the judge, speaking to each other on some issue related to what they called ‘fraud’. They were talking of transactions of Crores of rupees, some buildings, a newspaper, shares, companies; mostly irrelevant things. Some of the uncles too joined in. This whole discussion was spoiling my day and dampening my already subdued excitement of a visit to the court. Importantly, I was feeling hungry; very, very hungry.

I wanted to protest, but the pain in my shin kept me quiet. Then I remembered, I was already protesting. How does one protest while already in a protest? Must ask Kejriwal, some day, I made a note to myself.

Suddenly, the discussion was over after an exchange of some papers, everyone, including all uncles began congratulating mummy and me, saying, “We got bail.”

Bail? Never tasted this dish, was my first thought. Probably belongs to ethnic, Indian cuisine and since I never had much interest or inclination towards it, I had never heard of it. Anyway, one should not disrespect the host, as is believed; I waited in anticipation, to be served. And I was getting very hungry now.

But then, everyone started moving out, to my utter confusion. Still, the pain in my shins kept me quiet, I also remembered that I was protesting and with heavy feat, I went along.

After suppressing my disappointment on being denied the dish called bail, despite the hunger that was gnawing at my innards, I still felt relieved to be out of that court room as I could still look forward to the visit rest of court premises, other court rooms, the famous lawyer’s chambers (hope one of my uncles is not reading this), the shops selling eatables (especially those), when I realized that we were moving towards exit!

In a minute we were in the car, headed home!

But all the disappointment of a curtailed outing and hunger vanished when we reached home. The party workers, in full force, were shouting slogans about our exploits at the court, chanting our greatness.

While I was still wondering about exploits or victory they were referring to, the fat uncle from Mumbai came and told me, “Rahulji, I was inspired by the way you said ’present, madam’. It was a comment worthy of visionary and the youth of the country would feel charged up when using those golden words of yours. ”

I felt much better; I had been an achiever all my life and had performed as per expectations during the court visit too. But such compliments put additional pressure of performance on me. Now, I would need to be look better and more smarter than my best, , be extra alert, use a hi fidelity, booming voice when I say ‘Present, madam’ during next visit to the court.

But then, who said life is easy!