I took advice from my friend who had the experience once who assured me that it was just a formality. I tried visualizing the scenario. The judge was Ms Khan( I don't think I should disclose the name). I expected her to be in her fifty , fair with wrinkles on her face and loose skin. She might have a heavy reading glasses which she would drag to the tip of the nose to peer through when she asked questions. She could talk less and would not tolerate nonsense. She could even ask me to answer in yes or no , if I tried to explain things. Like many of the people my vision was influenced by the movies. My friend reminded me that it was not that dramatic. I joked to him that , I would say , "Judge Sahib , is nadhan aurath ke roshni , chot Lagne ke karan chali gayi he. Aur me insaaf hu. Muje phaasi ki saja math do... I remembered Sunny Deol as the angry young advocate in the film Damini, "Tarikh par tarikh, tarikh par tarikh, tarikh par tarikh, tarikh par tarikh milti rahi hai ... lekin insaaf nahi mila my lord, insaaf nahi mila ... mili hai toh sirf yeh tarikh".
But I knew that it was not at all dramatic. But I still will have to answer to the questions of the advocate standing on the podium. I rehearsed the oath I heard in the movies." Jo boloonga Sach boloonga , Sach ke bina kuch nahi boloonga.( anything I say will be truth and nothing but the truth). I woke up early that morning, I did not want to become late unless the judge would reprimand me for wasting the time of the court. I reached the court 30 minutes before the appointment and I was the first person. This gave me hints that after all it's another government office which works according to the indian standard time. I met the reader who marked my attendance and ofcourse he had to discuss his daughters ear problem. I understood that humans lived and owned the place. He told me to have some tea and return after some time as it would take time for the proceedings.
I went to small tea stall in front of the court and ordered a tea. A police man had had his tea and asked the chay wala for the bill. I could see the surprise and reluctance on his face when he took the money from the police man. But I was happy that he paid. I became happier when , a beggar asked for tea and he obliged. May be he was happy about the police man that he could help the poor. I drank the tea which was good , but could barely eat the oil soaked bread pakoda oozing yesterday's oil. I sat outside the court room and waited for my turn. People slowly began to come and the surroundings became alive. Courts and hospitals have many things in common. People come here in desperation and lots of hope. Nobody like to visit hospital or court , they are always dragged to it. I remembered a post in Facebook that "people like a doctor only when they don't need him ". By the time they have to meet a doctor they are desperate , anxious and angry. That may be the reason they are often exploited because they are many times left in a state where they have no other choices. The verdict of the judge or doctor becomes final. That is the reason I consider my profession as a great responsibility. I was looking at people and trying to identify Ms Khan. I was expecting it to be easy as I expected everyone to stand and pay salute to the judge. An advocate came to me and asked me whether I was the doctor who attended as a witness . I was equally surprised and releaved to meet them. I later asked them how they could recognise me and they said that only doctors could sit calmly without talking, minding their own business when everyone around him was busy clattering. They ushered me into the court room where I was surprised to see the judge. She was in her twenties or thirties , fair and good looking , even had a. Scarf on her head. Muslims who reached good positions in India usually never followed religious traditions. She was busy signing documents. The court room was filled with advocates and people. They were busy preparing papers and submitting documents. There was a lot of noise which was against my expectations. Where was the hammer with which the judges banged and the room would go into pin drop silence. My advocates said that I only had to write an affidavit about the patient and her injuries. I wrote the affidavit and signed . They took me to the judge and told her that the doctor had come from a long distance only to give evidence,had to attend patients after returning and pleaded for priority. At least that part was dramatic as I was given leave for testifying in the court. She looked at me and I was not sure whether she saw me in the crowd. She signed the paper and asked the reader to provide me with travel allowance. My advocates told me that I would be free in 5 minutes when they prepared the payment slip. That's it, no Your Honour, no nothing but the truth, no cross questening. It ended just like that. I was rather embarrassed that it ended like that. But my advocates told me that I would have to come later after 6 months or so to testify. They took me for a tea and amoung the pep talks I asked them , isn't madam too young to become a judge. Don't you need to become a senior to get to that post. They smiled and said that it was the system earlier and nowadays they only needed to take exams and training. I told them that ,one thing common in our profession is that right decision comes from wisdom and wisdom comes from experience. They agreed and said that both madam and her husband were good judges. While returning they showed me the court room of her husband who looked much younger. But I noticed that people revered the position they are keeping and not the person in them.
(I later understood that this was a civil court and mine was just a preliminary evidence , otherwise court rooms would have had a heated atmosphere like in movie lest someone misunderstands)
The eldest son