We reached the Supreme Court at Fort at 10 a.m. I was sweating profusely, not because of the excruciating heat in Mumbai but of the stress on meeting lawyer Shinde. There are several, 'What Ifs?" in my mind and the mind is raging against the actions we are going take. I abhor signing on the dotted papers, 'Divorce by Mutual Consent.' I feel a rush of adrenaline as I excused myself from Sushmita to buy a cigarette. Smoking helps me beat the stress. I have realized, No! I don't want to excuse myself from the marriage and I have realized that Sush and, not the marriage, means a lot to me. At least, I will have someone to fight with rather than speaking and fighting against the empty but deserted room.
I joined Sush back who was waiting and we walked past the crowd making a beeline to meet lawyers, converting their mobile cars into office on the street. I stared at the Maruti vans where a bored secretary was sitting and the lawyer smoking a cigarette. Susmita turned and dragged me towards the building, "What are you doing, Adi? I mean, you are mad and our appointment is in the plush office with Shinde as we reached the elevator." Shinde is one of the biggest divorce lawyer in Mumbai and I was surprised to see horde of staff, sexy secretaries storming their way and, of course, glamorous junior lawyers dressed in Black skirts and saree. I forgot that I was with my wife to meet a divorce lawyer, for a while.
The secretary nodded to us and made sign with her hand for us to sit on the maroon cushy sofa where one could easily sleep peacefully. I gaped at the luxurious office which is nothing short of a five star hotel and we were brought coffee and biscuit on a tray of gold. Sushmita smiled, "It's cool, na." I dipped the Britannia biscuit in the coffee and said, "I bet your lawyer gonna charge us a lot." She looked around the office and said furtively, "Let's see!"
The secretary asked us to go inside as Shinde is ready to receive us. We entered the air conditioned plush room, adorned with a painting of MF Hussain, sofa lounge, coffee machine as Shinde got up to greet us. The lawyer is in his 50s, dressed in a black suit and is a tall, well-built guy who could easily pass off as a hero from a Hollywood movie.
Sushmita said, "Hi, Mr Shinde, I'm Sushmita and this is my husband, Aditya. We are planning for a divorce and wondered you could help us."
Shinde appeared shocked and looks confused. He regained his composure and said, "Well, normally couple on a divorce come separately. But, you guys doesn't really look unhappy."
I was silently praying that Shinde would do some good, selfless job of counselling us not to go ahead.
Sushmita spoke of the Sushi which accounts for the reason for split in our world and how I hate her favorite food. She told Shinde that she cannot bear my boring Punjabi thali.
Shinde adjusted his tie and spoke, "I mean, are you guys sure that you want to file a divorce on differences in food? Honestly, it's the first time I am meeting a couple coming together and looking so much in love. It's a first in my successful career as a lawyer and I hate losing a case on account of such weak case. Please think again since I can assure you that the judge will quash the case on the first hearing."
Sushmita received a bolt from the blue and was fidgeting with her hand. She normally does this when somebody hurts her ego and she cannot take No for an answer. I was secretly having fun and wanted to pounce on Shinde to give him a tight hug. "Thank you, Shinde," I wanted to say. Everybody has a hero and today Shinde emerged as one.
The lawyer escorted us till the door. We drove back home without uttering a word and we both knew the reason for our silence. It was a blunder we made as we shed 40,000 rupees for this stupid counselling. Of course, I wasn't complaining since Sushmita paid with her credit card. Yes! I can be shameless with money. As we entered the house, Sushmita let the cat out of the bag, "Dude! You gotta gimme back half of the money since both of us wanted a divorce." I said ok but so wanted to say, "I, no longer, want a a divorce." Sushmita let out, "I am feeling bad to take money from you but you know, na, how it is."
I didn't reply to that. I felt like dancing and, thank God, for lawyers like Shinde who claimed their fees on listening to our mushy mushy reason for divorce. I can only think of Jim Carrey, lawyers liars but this one quite honest with his advice. I am thanking my stars for upsetting Sushmi's balance since I'm sure she will not bug me with lawyer advise after ended paying 40,000, which I obviously have no plan to give 20,000 bucks.