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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Mens Rea

Name of the team Writer's Den

It wasn’t a dark and stormy night but quite the opposite actually.  Yes, the atmosphere was serene and the full moon beaconed with its gentleness, unhindered by the clouds. The trees stood standstill as if frozen by the winter of December.  The whole city had slept into the grave. Everything seemed to be calm and quiet. But still waters run deep, every smile swallows a sorrow, every success engulfs a tale of injustice and every peace has a convulsion within. The victorious calmness had conquered the entire Delhi. But it utterly failed to succeed on his mind. Vibrant thoughts – positive, negative and futile, pounced upon his stoic mind, just like a group of lechers ravishing a na├»ve woman. The mind cried out, volleyed and made inept attempts to relieve itself from the clutches of the mighty thoughts, but ended up conceiving through the furious attack!

Cyrus Daruwala had everything. He was tall, fair and handsome. Born in an illustrious family of lawyers, he was taking the family baton forward. It was never a question of his choice. It was decided that he would take law. No one had asked him about it. There were no discussions about it. It was as if everyone knew that he would opt for law. It was not the case that he disliked law either. He had been hearing about murder trials, bail applications and writ petitions since he was in his mother’s womb. 

But there was a disappointment when he entered the law college. The subjects were tad boring. Studies were all about mugging up the definition of torts and the State. He had never heard the words torts and State in his home. There was a vast difference between legal theory and legal practice. Cyrus had always dreamt of cracking the most challenging cases. Passing the exams was necessary to fight out in the courts of law as a lawyer. But somehow he was still against the idea of just cramming the definitions and the Latin maxims. He felt the curriculum of law was devoid of any practical experience. Yes, there were two practical papers by names professional etiquettes and bar-bench relations and drafting, pleading and conveyancing. But the practical experience comprised simply of copying from the previous year’s journal. 

This was taking a toll on Cyrus, physically and mentally. He tried talking to his father a couple of times. But his father shove him away saying that this is how it was and everyone has to pass through this phase. What was frustrating is that all his classmates were alright with it. They bunked the lectures, hung out in canteens, dated girls, mugged up in the night before the exams and obtained some timely help from friends in the examination halls. Cyrus was so unlike them. He lost interest in studies. Rather he lost interest in life. Today when all his friends were away, he was all alone in his room. His future worried him. He was sure he could not sustain this way. There appeared to be no way out. He could not even think of dropping from the course. 

Death would be the panacea to all his problems. The thought crept in his mind. But fortunately it did not sustain for long. He had lofty dreams. His love for life made him to give up the thought of self killing.  He started telling himself that he had to live. Like every youth of this nation, he wanted to do something different without knowing what it was.  There was a reason for him to live and he prayed the Almighty to reveal the reason to him at the earliest. Standing erect he held his hands high and stretched his entire body and again sat on his study chair. He opened his book and started to read. 

“Actus not facit reum nisi mens sit rea.” He read aloud while scratching his goatee. The Latin maxim meant that to constitute an offence there must be two things – actus, the wrongful act and mens rea, the evil intention. Mere intention to kill was not punishable unless and until the murder was already committed. Cyrus’s intention of giving up studies and taking up something practical was by no chance an evil intention. But in the chilly nights of Delhi there was someone who had shared an evil intention with his beloved. The conspiracy which they had hatched kept these two lovers warm in the freezing winter night, when the whole city was sleeping like a log of wood. They were just waiting for the actus, the wrongful act to be carried out – at the right time, right place and by the right person. For not only in books of law but in real life as well it was not the intention but the act that made all the difference.

You can read the next part of the story here

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  1. Wow! That's a great beginning, Mahesh!
    The last part is chilling and full of intrigue! Cant wait to read the next part!!

    1. Thank you Shilpa. I know you will successfully carry the baton ahead.

  2. Wonderful start, Mahesh! Loved the way the story is pacing...

  3. Replies
    1. Aurindam. Thanks a lot. Together we will make it!

  4. Really good intro to the story Mahesh :)

  5. Thanks Aswin. Would love to see how you guys take it forward.

  6. latin maxims!! very intriguing and intelligent. You got me hooked.

  7. Gripping start to the story!
    Now, to the next part.

  8. I appreciate your work because i enjoyed reading alot. keep up the good work. Will look forward for more such informative blogs kashmir honeymoon packages