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  • Writer's pictureStory Maya

Writing to narrate My moment of Redemption

They say you should best avoid visiting the house of justice or judicial courts. For whatever reason. If it’s inevitable, then, of course, you anyways have no choice. That translates into promptly accepting your mistake if you are on the wrong side of the law. However, if you’re being falsely accused or implicated then nobody but you alone have to fight it out and prove your innocence.

At times, many of us, or our near and dear ones, have had to go through the grueling uncertainties associated with the mysterious process of seeking justice. These times call for keeping a calm and focused mind. Only those who have been through such trials can understand and empathize with the plight of others. Yes, it does take a toll on your personal life as well.

One such incident took the better of my life a couple of years ago. Looking back retrospectively, it still appears to be the nightmare that I lived it through while it was unfolding. It was a bad phase, indeed.

It all started around fifteen years ago when I bought an apartment with all of my hard-earned money. As anyone would guess, it was one of the first milestones of my life signaling my journey towards a more joyous life ahead. Subsequently, I got married and we began planning for all the excitement together.

However, little did I know that I should have rather contained my excitement from spilling over in the common society meeting. Under a provocation not understood then, and acting on my immature impulse, I committed a misadventure of criticizing the affairs of the society committee. That indeed turned out to be one of the fatal mistakes that I keep visiting and introspecting even today. As ill-luck would have it, I now myself became a member of the new committee.

Well, out here in this part of western India, in a place called Mumbai, office bearers of housing societies are actually perceived as corrupt people. Just like their political counterparts. This, I realized only after being elected as the new treasurer. People around congratulated me but the sense of achievement lasted only a few minutes. Things changed dramatically within a couple of moments and my world turned upside down. I found myself answerable to a whole bunch of irritating residents for issues that required a high degree of training in public matters and especially accounting. To add to the long list of woes, our ‘new team’ of righteous people was handed down all the documents hurriedly. We soon came to know about an impending legal matter with one of the shopkeeper tenants. It was about installing an illegal water connection to his shop.

The next moment all except the Chairman, Secretary, and myself-the Treasurer resigned and bid us farewell. The housing law forbade us from doing so, is what they said. Amateurs that we were, we thought it better to stick on and face the situation bravely.

Soon, the rounds to the local sessions court had started and they took up a great deal of time. It started interfering with my work time as well. This also meant pouring through books and notes on the subject, speaking to different lawyers, finalizing one who would fit our budget as well as hoping that he or she did not join hands under the table with the plaintiff-the tenant who according to us all was a highly manipulative person. Add to that, veiled threats from his lawyer, which were initially discreet and which soon became a bit on the face.

On the domestic front, family life by now had started deteriorating as there erupted frequent bouts of arguments and disagreements. It also emerged that there could have been some illegit exchange of money between the former secretary and the tenant who was promised a legal cover-up as per his own admission in the court of law. I now understood that things aren’t as straightforward in real life as they may appear to be. This was my first interface with corruption and manipulation. I saw and experienced first-hand the long waits at the courts, the judicial custody and under-trials in it, the adamant and i-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude of the petty clerks, and sometimes even their humane side.

Then came the part where I had to appear before the presiding judge. As I write this down, I can still feel my heart pounding with unnerving uneasiness. And yes, I still hadn’t hired any lawyer. In my first ever appearance, I only had to say yes, I agree your honor, when questioned by the judge. This response would have been my acceptance to an out-of-court settlement as proposed by the prosecution lawyer. Let me admit, I was also counselled by him to not stretch this any further as it would cost a lot to society, and ultimately, I will be the one to be blamed.

The outcome-well, we were granted a fortnight’s time to ‘amicably settle the matter’ in the judicial parlance. For me, this was not at all a positive outcome. I now feared the worst. Back home, all the residents would blame and shout at me for giving in to such a manipulative person. Legalizing his ill-legal water connection meant landing myself in even a bigger soup.

P.S: This was my piece in response to @RavyneHawke‘s writing prompt about a time in your life when someone pushed you to do something you didn’t want to do. Was the outcome a positive one or a negative one? Would you do it again? Read on the concluding part of this story in my next article #Essay #Fiction. Do like and follow me for more!

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