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The Obiter Truth: The Ask

Anyway, this is just coffee. His holiness, the bearer of a possible month-on-month retainer that might single-handedly salvage my practice, is seated across the table. He has refused everything to eat. He is intermittent fasting, you see. Just coffee then? No, no. He doesn’t like coffee.

He must be either joking or that rare idiotic bird known to head-bang into trees for no reason. Why agree to coffee without any intention of drinking it? In moments of uncertainty with a client, I tend to oscillate between excessive laughter and deep thought, depending on whether the bird fancies itself witty or wise. I haw-haw and slap the knee a bit.

He doesn’t smile back. “Our body doesn’t need the amount of food we eat, you know,” he says.

Wise it is. I jump to a sagacious nod, “Of course it doesn’t. One can live on clean water and fresh air,” and then, in another attempt at bonhomie, “just not in Delhi, haha!”

Not so much as an agreeable nod from the chap. Two guys in shorts seated across a plate of untouched donuts on the next table do me the courtesy of a smile. Daddy money for sure. I would never waste a donut.

His holiness is wearing trousers, thank god. It would be beneath my double-scholarship from Cambridge to pander to a client in shorts. Beyond that, we have no common ground. I’ve exhausted my creativity in trying to come up with non-lawyerly topics of conversation, gotten as far as female shoe fashion in courts and been rebuffed with his surprising lack of interest despite being the Chief Legal Officer at Sleek Shoes. I thought it might interest him that a rainbow of pink, green and glitter sometime peeps out beneath the black like a final resistance of nature over form, a blooming tree in a jungle of regimentation. But I was wrong. I must turn the conversation towards work somehow. The heart in my cup is thinning out.

Source: Barandbench

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