In 36 years of my career as a lawyer, I was frisked for the first time in black robes today at the Delhi High Court gates. Advocates had always frowned upon body frisking while entering courts. But Thursday was different.
And it was different for me in many ways. As I reached the India Gate roundabout, the blast on Wednesday came back to haunt me. But not even for a minute, I shuddered at the thought of entering high court from gate number 5, the same spot from where I had lifted several injured after the blast.
As my car was stopped about 200m away, I got off near the barricades and started to walk. On a normal day, this road witnesses heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic. But today, an eerie silence prevailed on the stretch. There were men in khaki all around. The pungent smell of blood was still lingering in the air.
On my way, I interacted with members from the NIA team and requested them to clear-off the area to let us forget the past. After a brief chat, I moved on and reached the blast site.
Even though I had resolved not to think about yesterday, the mere sight of the spot shattered me from within.
I felt a vacuum within me. As a senior member of the bar, I felt something amiss on my
part for not being able to secure the place for those who died and got injured.
I simply could not move and kept staring at the vacant spot where once the high court reception area stood.
It took a telephone call to break my thought process. Since gate number 5 was out of bounds, I reached for gate number 7 and was in for a surprise. The temporary reception was as crowded as ever.
From the look, it did not seem that a blast had occurred a day before. Also, we had not learnt from the past. The commotion at the venue was no different.
I walked up to the reception counter and requested the people to assemble into two separate lines, one of lawyers and the other of litigants. The mood was sombre, but spirits were high inside the court.
Lawyers greeted each other and chose not to enter into a conversation about the blast. It was deliberate and we all knew it. Still, it was preferred by all.
I don't know whether it's early to say this, but I felt a change in the attitude of lawyers. In the past, advocates felt contemptuous if security personnel asked them for identity cards. This was unwarranted from the men in black in court, their second home.
But not today. A day after the blast, none hesitated in getting frisked or shied away from showing identity cards. Even I, as a senior advocate, didn't expect security men to identify me by my face.
Before one could ask me, I took out my identity card and thanked God for it.