Unless We Err

Model Story with the letters in names

Sreekumar K

Silence prevailed in the courtroom as the judge was about to pronounce the most important part of his verdict. Is the woman to be hanged or confined forever or let go free?

Really speaking, I didn’t care much about it. The court had a long session that day and I was in a hurry to go home.

Everywhere around me, I could hear subtle whispers and heavy sighs. Even the fans which usually made a droning noise were rather quiet today.

Every day, in the courtroom, someone is let go or kept in or even sent to the gallows. Witnessing all this for years had made me kind of insensitive. I was feeling hungry and I could already smell the hot meal in my kitchen a full thirty miles away. Lalitha wouldn’t have eaten but the kids couldn’t have waited.

Killing is not uncommon these days. When the state does it, it is called a war; when the public does it, it is called riot and when it is in the name of justice, it is even considered a good thing.

Usually, women don’t get hanged much these days. Their children or other encumbrances come to their rescue. This woman’s son had never come to the court to plead for her.

Many times I had pondered over the effect of punishments. It is one thing when you cane a child, but it is a totally different issue when an adult is sent to the gallows.

And then I heard it. Even the judge had a hard time pronouncing it. The woman was to be hanged till death. She didn’t scream or even weep. She only expressed her desire to see her son once before she was hanged.

Recalling the heinous nature of her crime,  I had no doubt that she deserved it. But two years later, when fresh evidence of her innocence came to light and the real murderer was arrested, I felt really bad. I didn’t go to the court for two days. But then I resumed my work. To err is human, to forgive is not exactly just divine…it is God himself.

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