I was on the brink of a total breakdown. Neither did I have a sound motive, nor a good story to fall back on. My alibi was extremely questionable, to say the least, contrary to what my defense counsel thought and tried to assure me of. I didn’t have any hope.
I was arrested on grounds of gross medical negligence and cold blooded murder. I was put up for trial by the court.The date for the hearing was fixed on 25th December. “Merry Christmas,” I thought dryly Not that it made any difference. Still, it felt kind of embarrassing to know that on the same day that a GOD (?) was born, I was to stand trial for exactly the kind of things that man didn’t preach.
We all entered the court at 9:30 a.m. The hearing was scheduled at 9:40. Initially I didn’t feel like going. What was the use? But my lawyers reminded me that if I didn’t go, I would run the risk of a subpoena by the judge, a hard old woman who loved to take it out on men who disagreed with the law.
The hearing started. Lawyers on both sides bore down on countless witnesses. I didn’t even know half of them. The only ground that the lawyers on my behalf tried to build the case on was that I was not in my proper senses and hence the act was non-premeditated. Even then the evidence was lopsided, stacked up heavily against me. All defenses went in vain and finally at 12:12 p.m. the judge, convinced that I was at deliberate fault charged me with murder.
As I sat in my cell, the judge who had presided over the hearing came to meet me.
“May I speak with you for a moment Mr. Dasgupta?”
“Okay, I guess.”
“Did she ask you to do it?”
I was startled. How did she know all that? I choked in fear.
She sighed heavily and got up.
“You did not commit any crime in my eyes Mr. Dasgupta. She was dying anyway. You saved her a lot pain. But our country doesn’t recognize euthanasia to be legal. Otherwise we could have avoided this unpleasant situation altogether. You do understand that although I believe you are in the clear, as a judge I still had to prosecute you, right? ”
“Yeah it’s your job.I get it. But taking a life still counts as a crime,isn’t it?”
“Does it?” She smiled. It was one of the most melancholic smiles I had ever seen.
She started to leave when she half turned and still smiling her sad smile said, “Oh! And by the way in case you are wondering how I know all this, it’s just that she had begged me many a time to kill her; to end her suffering but I couldn’t. I was a coward. What was I to do? She was after all my daughter.”