6 March

I could have managed somehow to swallow the greasy dosa and the turgid sambar, if Mr. Batliwala had not sidled up on the rickety bench across my table, in the Court Canteen. As if the place is not grimy enough.

Mr.Batliwala, opening his tiffin filled with chicken farcha, bhindi eggs, and rotis, and not even pretending a polite offer to share his food, says: “So have you heard the real story about what happened between High BP and Pallo?”

I bravely ignore the delicious smells coming from his tiffin box, and also his attempts to lure me into an unethical conversation about my client. But both the smells and his squeaky voice continue to impinge on my senses.

Mr. Batliwala: “Rusty was telling me some bits. You must be knowing too, isn’t it? After all, you and High BP are college friends, Rusty was telling me.”

Me: “Yes, sort of. But I don’t know more than you or Rusty, I’m sure.”

Mr. Batliwala: “Oh, I know nothing at all. It’s just Rusty said that there may be a big scandal. So, I thought your client must be worried.”

Me: “Didn’t seem worried to me, the last time I spoke to him. But I’ll ask.”

Mr. Batliwala: “Yes, you must. After all, it’s our duty to guide our clients properly. You must advise him to finish the matter soon, Rusty was saying. Not just stretch it out in Court for personal benefit, you know, ha ha. Like other lawyers do, ha ha. Just joking, after all you’ll work for free at Neem, don’t you?”

Me: “No, we don’t. But we don’t stretch cases for personal benefit, either. And thank you for your advice, Mr. Batliwala. After all, what are seniors for except such valuable nuggets of wisdom?”

Mr. Batliwala: “Anytime, anytime. I love sharing useful tips with young people.”

But, of course, not his delicious food. I push aside the half-eaten lumps of dosa and leave him to his crunching of chicken legs.


2 Comments on “6 March”

  1. desi-at-large says:

    And that night, Mr Batliwala goes to bed without dinner, an inexplicable tummyache eating into him. Amazing Appi’s power of thought.

    • Banno says:

      Oh yes. It did remind me of the evil stares we gave our classmates who didn’t share their tiffins during school break. And we were convinced by our elders, that if we didn’t share food, we would get stomach aches. Evidently, Mr. Batliwala didn’t get the same lesson. 🙂

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