[The Obiter Truth] BBC Earth Special: A Young Law-Firm Partner (Male)

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.
Manini Brar
Manini Brar

Many a marvellous species thrive on this precious planet of ours [rolling shots of landscapes]. Nature crafts spectacular forms, one more wondrous than the other. From the Chimpanzees of the arid, yet luscious Western African Savannas to the Fried-Egg Jellyfish of the beachy, yet overrated Mediterranean sea and the mosquitos of...everywhere.

Today’s exploration takes us to the concrete jungles of India [stills of Ambani’s Antilla from different angles] in pursuit of yet another curious creature of the wildly unpopular Homo Sapiens species, a Young Law-Firm Partner (Male).

This hunched, fossilized-looking bloke has tired, yellow eyes from reading between too many lines and wiry, grey sprigs of hair from accumulating too much grey matter [a few partners walking this way and that]. Sometimes, the sprigs shed entirely, revealing bald spots, causing the creature to make guttural noises before a mirror. The distress does not last long. As with all other activities, this too is interrupted by the ring of a device in his pocket, triggering powerful magnetic forces between his right hand and right ear. Forces he cannot resist.

This, is Rohan [bloke in focus]. A thirty-five year old male, tucked away in a fancy restaurant with his mate, enjoying their weekly dine-out. She asks him to take a selfie. At this precise moment, the pocket-device starts to ring. The mate, thirty-two year old Riddhi, seems agitated. She rolls her eyes, emitting shrill sounds of warning. Rohan is terrified. Desperate to escape, he looks to the door. Too far. Seeing no way out, he decides to take the plunge. Hand to ear, and….hello?! 30 minutes pass. Riddhi pays the bill.

The ride back home is engulfed in an eerie silence. Rohan keeps his eyes on the road, carefully avoiding any bait. The strategy doesn’t protect him for too long. Riddhi finds an opening. She begins to nag and jibe, slowly but surely, over and over. As Rohan tires, she delivers her final strike. They will sleep in separate bedrooms. Blood, is spilt. Several minutes later, an exhausted Rohan collapses onto his lone bed.

Morning comes. Rohan resumes his daily business meekly. He sits on a chair, and stares at a screen all day. Then sprawls on a couch, and stares at another screen late into the night. At some point in the evening, he also stares intently into a glass of brown-coloured ether, before drinking it slowly, sip by sip. Then another. Then a third. Rohan drinks five glasses. After which, he behaves a lot like his close cousin, the chimpanzee, and smells a lot like a distant primitive, the fish.

Drinking large quantities of the liquid seems popular amongst Young Partners. One amongst the several behavioural peculiarities they share in common [zoom out. different shots of the creatures, herds]. They are also known to inhale puffs of rolled tobacco several times a day, and to abruptly break away from the herd for far-off hills and beaches. In some cases, normal stimuli cause inexplicable, extreme reactions. A routine invitation to luncheon by a mother-in-law, or an email from a member of the herd asking to borrow one of their baby associates can cause alarming gesticulations and sprays of saliva. An aggression that may as well spell the end of the road for an innocent baby associate who happens to be in the vicinity, perhaps to deliver a print-out.

Scientists believe that these peculiarities are symptoms of mental ill-health. However, no conclusive evidence has been found. On the surface, a Young Partner appears to be a uniformly intelligent creature. His carelessness towards his own well-being and lifestyle, therefore, remains a mystery.

[back to the bloke] In his cabin, Rohan airs his views on the subject rather aggressively to some members of his herd, unaware of our secret cameras. This mental health thing is all hype, a buzz-word for the entitled new generation. You need a thick skin to be a winner in this game!

The reason behind his outburst soon becomes clear. Just outside, Piya, Rohan’s senior associate, is trotting back to her natural habitat, somewhat perplexed. She had applied to take leave for two weeks, which was approved ‘subject to work’. She approached Rohan to understand what that means, exactly. Should she make plans for her homeward journey, or not? She hinted she hadn’t taken a day off in six months.

Quite expectedly, life in the jungle is hard. The stakes are high, and the battle for survival is long. Baby associates are surrounded by predators on all sides. Every day is like the hunt of a school of sardines by sea lions, tuna, sharks and dolphins all at once, narrated in David Attenborough’s voice. Piya works hard [edited footage of Piya collected over six months]. She stays in her natural habitat – a dense, paper-ous marsh of a half-enclosed space with one chair - for 16 to 18 hours daily, only venturing out for a few hours of rest. Her back is not hunched yet, but her shoulders ache. She rubs her yellowing eyes frequently.

On this day, however, Piya breaks routine. At only 4:00 pm, she steps out of her territory, as if on the prowl, and makes her way to a bar nearby. In a short while, a bottle of brown-coloured ether appears on her table.

[Zoom out from this dismal image. We need something positive to end the episode. Perhaps a low-angle shot of the winner Rohan spoke of? Turns out, it is a rare sighting. Most blokes riding success at 40 have a slip disc, or obesity issues, or suffer from sleeplessness. Hardly winning images. Maybe a few wide-angle shots of law-firm offices to keep things generic? Tough. Environments which normalise 18-hour work days and leave ‘subject to work’ are just sad. The baby associates look positively harassed. Ok, let’s just slowly zoom out from Piya drinking her ether and superimpose an image of Rohan in the foreground – like a present versus future thing.]

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