A Day at the High Court of Delhi

It was January of 2008. I hadn’t really been in regular law practice till then. As I was sitting in the lobby, waiting for my case to be called, I was suddenly overwhelmed by some strong emotions; I don’t know what they were, but I ended up writing the following passage in my court diary! Maybe I was depressed; maybe I was tired; maybe it was what they call Depersonalization; maybe all of them, who knows. Whatever it was, here it is. (In some places, I have added some footnotes, which were not part of the original diary entry, but would help explain the setting better, if only to refresh my memory after the passage of two years).

***

As I sit here idling, eyelids getting heavier and the collective intercourse of 500 odd people forms one single sound. Like the droning of a thousand honey-bees. It starts to engulf me. I feel it pressing over me from all sides; the veins in my neck and forehead start to throb, pulsate, feeling like they will explode. I scream, at nobody; stop this hum; this drone that is strangulating, choking me. And then I get up with a start and realize people milling about on their business; happily chatting, tense, running, courting advocates, clients with vacant eyes, seemingly unending phone calls.

I feel isolated from it all; as if I’m gazing at life from afar and I don’t understand a word of it.

Suddenly, tears well up in my eyes and I don’t know why.

I run away from it all and take shelter in my tiny shell (1) laying in the backdrop of the crumbling fort (2)  that once was …

The soothing silence occasionally broken by noisy intruders (3). Tiny drops of rain start to descend; I feel even more comforted in my cocoon; my personal space, my personal air.

I see mutts nibbling away at cartons of garbage, looking for that one scrap; or are they just playing? I see little squirrels nibbling at remnants of a squashed tomato, scampering away at the slightest sound.

The sights give me pleasure and the quiet soothes my mind. Yet I feel all alone.

***

(1) Perhaps the reference is to my Hyundai Santro car, as much as it is to my emotional shell.

(2) This is definitely a reference to the ruins of the Old Fort that stand near the High Court and where  I used to park my car.

(3) Perhaps cars passing by, though very few cars use that by-lane, mostly advocates’.

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