The Obiter Truth: An obituary

The Obiter Truth is a catalogue of everyday experiences in the life of a young lawyer hoping to find humour in the bizarre and sense in the chaos. A hat tip to the comical struggles of young lawyers everywhere.
Manini Brar
Manini Brar

You are loved beyond words and missed beyond measure.

Fraternity, once a permanent resident in the hearts of millions of lawyers across the country, was battling terminal heartburn for several years. She finally gave up at the age of 70.

She was born out of mutual respect and admiration, fostered by an understanding that whatever their differences, lawyers were united in their duty to the rule of law. They would often tug at the cloak of a stranger in the throes of a heated hearing to offer winning advice in whispers. Or greet a familiar face with enthusiasm even as they struggled to put a name to it. Or support a nervous junior counsel with encouraging nods from the bench to keep the poor bird from fainting mid-argument.

She spread joy and encouragement wherever she went, so that every lawyer felt like a force to reckon with. Counsel tearing at each other across a transaction table were sure to exchange pats on backs on their way out. A senior deriding the appalling behaviour of a courtroom adversary could well be spotted giggling over god-knows-what with the same appalling individual in appallingly proximate circumstances. A judge rebuking an advocate was rumoured to feel guilty afterwards and console herself with the idea that an occasional parental rap on the knuckles would do more good than harm.

Those who knew Fraternity in her young days never missed an opportunity to tell tales of her bravado. How tall she stood, how strong and unrelenting, in the face of adversity. The way she quickly evaporated from the scene after all that has left many feeling unconvinced.

She is survived by a generation of young lawyers who are numb from the shock of her passing. They greet one another with blank expressions, fearful of the other’s strong opinions and simmering resentments. Every now and then, a bitter tale of infighting catches their attention, and they look around furtively, wondering which of their colleagues will stand by them in their hour of need. Tales of Fraternity’s glorious past have already begun to fade into fiction.

Her funeral will be held at her residence: the hearts of millions of lawyers across the country. No time has been fixed, you can mourn her loss in private whenever it suits you. This is how she would have liked to be remembered, it has nothing to do with COVID-19. In lieu of flowers, please send your condolences to young lawyers who are wondering what they did to come by such a bleak inheritance and how they are to get on in the world with so little in the name of a safety net.

The mourners would like to thank the caretakers and staff who held Fraternity’s hand in her final moments, never once giving up hope that lawyers will someday go back to supporting each as before and resurrect her from her death bed.

The views expressed above are entirely personal to the author, and a work of fiction.

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