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Suit up

In the real world of corporate law, bosses are demanding, secretaries unavailable and conversations mundane. But you do wear a good suit

brunch Updated: Sep 07, 2013 17:05 IST
Faraz Khan
Faraz Khan
Hindustan Times

Mike Ross is racing through the streets of New York on a bicycle, dodging yellow cabs, not breaking a sweat. Then there’s me sitting in my car, senselessly switching between the cacophony of a zillion radio channels on offer these days, waiting restlessly for the never-ending traffic snarl in front of me to clear.

Not to mention the constant honking, dust, fumes, occasional cows, spitting auto drivers and the not-so-subtle hand gesture I’ve just received from the HR-number car I cut too close.

All work, no play
Anyhow, Mike reaches office to a thrilling legal issue. He is then pulled in to a swirl of meetings by the charismatic Harvey Specter, New York’s finest closer, with his records, priceless sports memorabilia and witty film references. There’s some to-and-fro between the associate and the partner, the yuppie and the legend. Some good music and brilliant repartee later they’ve cracked it. Mike finds that one answer that lays the whole case wide open and Harvey, complete with old-fashioned self-assurance, validates it.

Knee-deep in work: Faraz Khan reaches office to a mountain load of paper work every day (Photo: Raj K Raj)

Together they possibly save a few careers – if not lives – while at it. All this time you’ve seen Ross enter the library maybe once, to delegate some research to Rachel, the paralegal (who wouldn’t want that, right?). He’s not one to sit in front of a computer, he chases some witnesses up and down New York streets. He never breaks a sweat.

I, on the other hand, reach office to a mountain load of paper work. Yes most of it is possibly spilled-over from work ignored earlier. I sit in front of my computer and flit between reading, researching and drafting from dawn to dusk to dawn. The only movement I get? Coffee and occasional breaks brought upon by the severe nicotine dependency. Then, back to the monotony of the Qwerty keyboard.

But where is the action? Life-and-death legal battles? Challenging issues with clever opposition threatening to outsmart you?

The only times I visit the library feel like a German drill. And even if I, in my wildest imagination, ever choose to go to the library and chat up a paralegal, I know exactly what I’d find – a lost intern in his father’s suit. Not exactly Rachel.

Aah Rachel! There is this one moment in Season Two where Mike Ross grabs Rachel by the arm, kisses her on the mouth and goes, ‘I got your message’. Perhaps that moment is what sets us apart in the most poignant fashion. I knew a girl at this law firm I worked at prior to my current engagement. You wouldn’t believe it but she looked like Rachel Zane even before I knew who Rachel Zane was. But unlike the show where Mike Ross is the recipient of the lovelorn message, I was the sender, a countless number of times. I am not uncomfortable or embarrassed about being in that position. It comes naturally to the Indian yuppie. Our deprived behaviour leaves but little space for women to exist in peace. They have no choice but to step onto a pedestal. She never got the message.

In Suits, it’s not just Mike, Harvey and Rachel who’re perfect. The secretaries have a better sense of humour than most stand-up comedians. The relationships are always crackling, the discourse always witty and the clothes always trendsetting. My office in comparison? Bosses are demanding, secretaries unavailable and the conversations mundane and incomplete.

Of course by the time the copious amounts of work has been negotiated, if not completed (it’s never complete), all of the Delhi glimmer is long dead. So you trudge home, maybe watch some TV about the glorious lives that lawyers lead in New York.

His life on screen

Suits is about two lawyers – Harvey Specter, a real lawyer and Mike Ross, a college dropout (and former drug dealer) pretending to be a lawyer at an all-Harvard law firm. They have to make sure they don’t get caught, while they strut around New York winning cases.

Aaron Korsh, the creator of the show, was an investment banker before he turned to television. Suits was originally supposed to be based on Wall Street.

All of Harvey’s suits are from Tom Ford.

The hard truth

There is a class of unreal optimists amongst the present crop of young lawyers who eagerly watch the show and mentally fist pump at the end of each episode. I have nothing against them. But I do have a reality check for them: the real stuff. It’s not really part of the show. You will never see Mike Ross wake up groggy after a generous three hours of sleep and iron his shirt. You will not see him clean up after his drunk friend who had one too many following an excruciating fourteen-hour-workday. Mike Ross is an illusion. But he wears good suits. That, we do too!

From HT Brunch, September 8

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