By Protik Prokash Banerjee
ONE CAVEAT: Please do not try to find similarities between the excuses and circumstances I have described and anyone real or whom you think you know.
Everything that follows, including the excuses, are just for fun, and what even I may have used, had I devilled in anyone’s chambers or worked in a law-firm. In other words “all events, characters and situations are fictional. Any similarity to anyone or anything whatsoever is completely and utterly coincidental and I crave your pardon for that.”
Remember how sometime back I wrote here about how you could keep both the girl/guy in your life (for the time being) and your career, when starting out as a young lawyer?
We concluded that if there was true love, everything else could go to a very hot place, but if you really wanted to make it big professionally, it was better to be very calculating and have friends with benefits – on a no commitment, use and dispose basis.
Heartless, I grant you, but highly effective.
Many of you wrote to me saying this was a very callous and depraved world view and that if someone truly loved you, and you truly loved this other person, then both of you would either make time or understand and adjust.
However, my take was based wholly on experience and inputs from junior friends.
Being happily married for over 19 years, I have almost forgotten how irritating it was for my parents to see me bunking Court on an autumn afternoon, to attend my wife’s birthday, the first one after our marriage, or even before that, the endless telephone calls while chambers and work kept waiting!
A couple of years or more after that article, time has come to revisit this thorny issue. What if you have been with your senior or your firm for quite a number of years, both as intern and as a lawyer?
What if almost ten years have passed, and though you are nowhere as rich as the Lydian Croesus (or closer to home, Mr. Mukhesh Ambani) you make enough to buy a smart phone or two on installments and order designer clothes from Flipkart?
What if – woe betide – you see the shadow of a smile, the curve of a comely ankle, and after teetering dangerously on the edge of love for sometime finally fall in?
Just think of the situation – you have convinced all and sundry that you are not interested in love everlasting and marriage is something that others do where you get invited to dance and party and eat a lot of rich food, and that your urges can be satisfied without having to hitch yourself permanently to someone special.
You have persuaded everyone that you have not yet found that special someone who would make you forget yourself and sing Abhijeet Singh, Atif Aslam or Shreya Ghosal songs at four in the morning or bill and coo when the skies shatter with fearsome thunder – and now, you suddenly find that your mornings darken and your nights fester, when she or he is not by your side, and music is noise without his or her voice.
It is one thing to hide it from your parents – after all, how much time do you spend with them – but how do you hide it from your colleagues, and how do you make time from your work, since even now, you are associated with a senior or a law-firm where someone supervises your work?
Because make no mistake – for true love you must make time.
You must meet your love at least once a week when she will take eternity by the hand, go out on a Friday evening because suddenly there is this fantastic blockbuster which you must see on the first evening hand in hand or perhaps he has seen this dress that he must buy for you and without you, the charm of getting the gift is gone.
All very fine, but you have already made a reputation as a mountain-mover who is never absent from work and who completes every task set in record time.
You do not take even one day off from chambers and are there even on Friday evenings and Sundays, unless you are sick. You are indispensable to your senior, and perhaps he even likes you like his own son.
Boys and girls, even when working with this affable tyrant, there is a way out. It may go against the grain, it may be contrary to everything you have been taught since childhood – but it is something at which the public at large expects a lawyer to excel.
Make sure that you have a roster of a very plausible collection of excuses which can never be proved wrong unless someone actually sees you with your love when you are officially or at least as far as your seniors are concerned:-
During the day:
a) In some other Court or tribunal
b) with a friend who has had an accident and you are at the hospital
c) with a client of your own
d) doing something at the Bank or the Insurance Office or Motor Vehicles.
During the evening and night:
a) so tired after Court, that you went to sleep and did not wake up until the next morning
b) busy drafting a very important and urgent petition for a client which must be filed the very next day.
During the day or evening or night:
a) Prostrate at your home with (i) tremendous fever, (ii) tremendous stomach upset and stomach pain (iii) a case of diarrhoea which is so bad that if you squatted in a ditch the Mississippi would rise (iv) a tooth ache which is so agonising that your head throbs and every nerve in your body screams like a man being eaten alive, from the feet up (iv) an ulcer so bad that you are bleeding from anywhere which is connected in any way with your stomach, (v) a stone in the salivary gland (this is a little difficult because it is neither a gall bladder nor a kidney)
b) Visiting a doctor who could give an appointment only on that date.
In case you are on the road and you intend to come to chambers or Court or wherever, and the sound of passing vehicles would give the lie to your excuse that you are prostrate at home or with the doctor or inside a Court room, just say that you were on your way when someone had an accident or there is a tremendous traffic jam and you will be there shortly. You do not have to actually be there shortly, you just have to say so.
Just make sure that you do not use the same excuse over and over again unless you can back it up with something material – say you have this persistent toothache or ulcer and you must have a person whom the senior or your principal associate trusts, who will vouch for the fact that he accompanied you to a doctor.
When you do come to chambers in the evening – and this works only for a Senior who loves you like a father – just make sure, if you are a guy, that you wear clothes that you normally would not be caught dead in but which your love has chosen for you, with just a hint of a lipstick so that the Senior can see it, and if he asks what that is, just tell him that the paint peeled off when you grazed it with your shoulder.
Make it a point never to come to chambers on Sundays or Saturdays – whichever date your love has demanded you set aside for her – and this time use some lame excuse, which shows that you have no respect for the senior’s intelligence and that you actually want him to know that you are lying, so that out of shame, affection for you and memories of his own youth, he finally gives you that day off.
You may think that this would be tough on the old tyrant whose chambers you attend or in whose law firm you work. With a law firm you must make sure that neither your boss finds out nor any colleague who will snitch on you.
However, so far as the chambers are concerned, the odds are that the old fool loves you so much – since you have become indispensable to him, remember?
Almost a part of the family at least so far as he is concerned – he will forgive you not just a hundred humiliations like Lord Krishna pardoned Shishupala for, but every sin that you commit.
Because in the end, you know, its love, love, love that makes the whole world go around.
Mr. Protik Prokash Banerji, popularly called Protik da by law students is an advocate at the Kolkata HC. Interning at his chambers is an experience of a life time. People who learn drafting and oratory skills from him swear by the excellent teacher he is. He talks about movies and literature as authoritatively as he talks on law and wrote on such subjects for the Economic Times in 1994-1995.