Friday, September 29, 2006

An exciting day at Kumbakonam!

A trip to Kumbakonam yesterday turned out rather eventful! The trip was for the purpose of attending the Annual General Meeting (“AGM”) of a century old institution which was being managed by our clients. Since some trouble was expected from a rival group of shareholders (supported by the ruling party), we were requested to be present, just in case. As it turned out, our presence or absence made no difference!

While a colleague and I disembarked from the train at 7.30am hoping to receive a ceremonial welcome, we were whisked away rather unceremoniously straight to our client’s office! Though we were a bit miffed at this treatment, the reasons for the same justified it in full.

It appears that the rival group had gate crashed the registered office of the company and the venue of the AGM in the heart of Kumbakonam at 5am and taken over both places! About 1500 men belonging to the ruling party, most of whom were drunk and armed, had taken residence at the meeting hall! The registered office premises was also sealed by them! Further, the Chief General Manager of the Company had also been abducted from his residence at 2am and taken to an unknown location! All this was done with the active connivance and support of the local police. Obviously, owing allegiance to the ruling party does seem to have its perks!!

While the AGM was scheduled to commence at 10am, by 6am our clients were certain that they would be voted out of office as they were not so daft to go to the meeting hall and get lynched. And so they found themselves illegally thrown out of office by a brutal show of muscle power!

Though I did have an intuition before we left for Kumbakonam that both of us would get beaten up if we attended the meeting, I never thought that things would turn out as they did! After a quick breakfast and shower, we sat down to draft a civil suit to be filed urgently before the district munsif court on the same day. That the typist whose services were made available to us kept typing “injection” for “injunction” every time did not make things any easier!

If we thought that this was enough excitement for the day, we were sadly mistaken. While we were on our way to have lunch we had to pass very close to the registered office of the company and we spotted quite a few hooligans patrolling the streets in the vicinity even then!! We retraced our route and skirted around the place eventually. More events unfolded in true filmi style as the local vakil we had engaged to represent our clients suddenly developed a mysterious illness and declined to appear for us. Few more vakils who were approached by us also politely refused to represent us. In the end we had to bring a vakil from Thanjavur to appear for us!

By the time all this was over, it was evening and we were quite exhausted and getting back home safely was the only concern in our minds. We both heaved a sigh as the Rockfort Express left the Kumbakonam railway station at 7.30pm! Quite enough for one day…….

P.S: The events of the day came in quite handy for me to break my long hiatus from blogging! I am off on a vacation for a week and hope to see all your comments when I get back :-)