Beyond that blinking cursor

Abstract Jul 06, 2021

That darned cursor.

Blinking expectantly at me, as if egging me on – offering ever so subtle yet unkind reminders of my incompetency. Or is it? Maybe it’s all in my head, as always – you never know in this profession. Years and years of practice and yet still here I am – facing the intimidating blank word document. A plethora of thoughts swirling through my mind, yet none of them helping me get any closer to filling up the page. That familiar sense of uneasiness creeping back into the crevices of my mind, and just as suddenly, making it go completely blank. As my thoughts were pulled deeper and deeper into this rabbit hole of oblivion, I felt my mind begin to go in stand-by mode, failing me when I needed it the most. Thoughtless, stagnant.

I was an avid reader growing up – particularly fond of crime and mystery novels. I always enjoyed digging deeper into these stories and tried to always compete with the detective of the novel to try and unearth the truth first. So, there’s no surprise when I say I had made up my mind at a very young age about who I wanted to be when I grew up. Although, what I’m doing now might not be even nearly as close to what an actual detective does – but it’s been fantastic so far, nonetheless. Sure, the weight of my words sometimes haunts me in my dreams, the pressure of living up to my reputation is daunting, I live with constant fear of backlash too, but even so, it’s my own little way of reliving those stories I enjoyed reading so much growing up. Except here –and this is the best part of it all - I get to decide the ending.

When you’re in my profession, the line between fact and fiction is often blurred. There’s often intervention of the press, media, and the most notorious of them all – ah, the politicians. Freedom of speech is almost ubiquitously curbed – especially when the subject in question is directly/indirectly related to persons of influence. With the growing pressure from the media and other external parties, our own careers at stake, not to mention the strict deadlines we ought to follow, situations are created which inevitably lead to the birth of inconsistencies in all the manuscripts/documents that leave our offices – holding enough power to alter public opinion forever.

In an illustrious (if I may say so) career spanning over 20 years, there has been nary an obstacle I couldn’t overcome, and nary a murmur or complaint whenever I made a call. Yet time and again I would find myself stumped by this tiny, supremely annoying blinking cursor. The truth is, after a point any man would bend as per the desires of those around him and end up becoming a slave to the people. End up living your whole life as a people-pleaser – whether you realize it or not. It’s inevitable – be it your parents or teachers or close friends, taking up medicine /engineering, the list goes on. However, I never gave in. Most of my success in the recent years can be attributed to that fact.

Until of course, I reached this juncture – which could easily be the toughest task I’ve faced in my entire career.

The task at hand made perspiration beads fall spontaneously down my temples, and made my throat go dry.

The next couple of minutes could potentially ruin over 20 years’ worth of hard work just like that, in an instant.

At first, I felt, with my reputation, credibility, and authenticity at stake – there’s no way I can mess this up. However, threats to my family and career flashed before my eyes. Flashes of my post-retirement life appeared before my eyes. How could I betray the man who promised it all to me? All the same, how could I even think of ruining an innocent man’s life forever? My conscience pricked me endlessly.

Serving sentences as a judge of criminal justice is never easy. And it never will be. The law is flawed, and there will always be people who try to find gaps and inconsistencies in the judicial system to try and misuse it. Especially when the person in questions is one of the most powerful politicians in the country.

I glanced back at the cursor. Not only has legal writing been grueling since my lawyer days, now that the fate of an innocent man’s life and his family rests upon me, the task is all the more daunting. “Guilty”, “Not guilty” – swimming incessantly in my head. What lay beyond the blinking cursor held power that could save a man’s life, or potentially ruin mine forever.

That darned cursor.

Divyashree Vaidya

DJLIT Editorial Co-committee member

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