Author and legal advisor to the UN (Human Rights), Rajesh Talwar whose The Judiciary on Trial was reviewed by Khushwant Singh and used as the lead story in his column ‘With Malice Towards One and All,’ where he praised it fulsomely and recommended that ‘it deserved to be widely read.’ is back with a new legal thriller Guilty of Love, Your Honour (Bridging Borders) that is a story of deep and passionate love, friendship and court drama. Here’s an extract:
My first love was Ramya, a dusky beauty from Kerala. For a while she seemed as if she reciprocated my interest in her. I dropped her home on some days, and we sat close to each other on the U-special, the university bus that took her to R.K. Puram where her parents lived. We had cheap but delicious lunches at Tib Mons, as we called the restaurant outside the Tibetan monastery close to campus.
But when a rich boy from ‘the college across the road’ who drove an Audi showed an interest in her a few months later, she switched lanes and dumped me in favour of that ‘lala’, which was the term we the ‘free thinkers’ reserved for all the rich bourgeois kids who drove to college in fancy cars purchased by their indulgent parents.
After Ramya broke up with me, Jeet and Kartik came to my room in the evening with a bottle of Old Monk, which we consumed through the course of the night. They consoled me and promised to beat up the lala. I dissuaded them from doing so; it was Ramya’s decision after all. I wept; they wiped my tears. As the weeks passed, I recovered from that heart-break, vowing never to be a sucker in love. I didn’t think I would fall in love again, until many years later it snuck up on me from behind and hit me like a thunderbolt.
One of the reasons the three of us became such good friends was because of our similar backgrounds. None of us was from Delhi, although we grew to love the city and claim it as our own. Our families ran small businesses – Jeet’s in nearby Moradabad, Kartik’s in Jamshedpur and mine yet further in Shillong – but none of us had chosen to follow the family vocation. I guess our schooling had made the difference and altered our mindset; we had all studied at Christian schools in hill stations of the lower Himalayas.
That somewhat broadened our vision, which continued to develop during our college years. We simply wanted out from the controlling joint family scenarios portrayed ad infinitum in television serials across the country.
After graduating with roughly equivalent scores, our paths diverged but we continued to remain in the same city. Jeet went on to do an MBA having aced the math’s segment in the entrance exam, Kartik studied journalism, while yours truly took up law. But our friendship remained thicker than a frozen margarita.
I joined a law firm called Frost and Gandhi after my post-graduation, but didn’t stay there for long and left to do my own thing as soon as the mandatory training period was over. Through a fortuitous and somewhat miraculous turn of events, the firm gave me my own office in a high-rise building in Connaught Place, on the understanding that we would both pass work on to each other. I won’t go into the complicated arrangement between us, but it wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the intervention of Mota bhai, a Gujarati billionaire who had taken a shine to me while I was at Frost and Gandhi. I was doing well, had my own office in a fantastic location, and earned a respectable amount. Jeet joined the corporate world as a high-flying executive, and Kartik worked as an assistant editor in a major newspaper.
You see the dilemma I find myself in – it’s because Jeet and I are so close that it feels like such a breach of trust. But there was little I could have done under the circumstances.
Unless I’d had superhuman will, which none of us do, especially when it comes to falling in love.
But let me start from the beginning.
Publisher : Bridging Borders
(Carried with due permission from the author)