I keep thinking about the events that led to the murder of Aarushi Talwar and wonder if her mother - or for that matter her parents – could actually remain calm and composed if they had actually murdered their daughter as suspected. Was it a kind of honor killing? Did they eliminate her to suppress vital information that she had knowledge about? If the parents were indeed the culprits how did they stand up to police/CBI interrogation and lie detector tests? I do not wish to write about something I have no knowledge about but I would narrate an incident that took place some 35 years back in our colony.
D…… was a child in the fourth grade when he would come to my sister in law for private tuitions. His parents lived nearby. He once asked if he could bring his younger sister along. She needed to be coached for an interview to be admitted to a prestigious school in Jamshedpur. Would I teach her to respond in English? Money was short so I agreed although I had a 4 month old daughter to attend to. She must have come to me for about 15 days and it is quite another matter that her father did not pay me. The girl was admitted to the school and I forgot about her fee. I felt that they perhaps were also hard up for money the way we were. My sister in law too got married and moved to Orissa. I would meet D……. on my way to the local market or while I watched my daughter play in a neighboring park. He was polite and would enquire after my sister in law. I would in turn ask him about his sister’s progress. She had now been promoted to grade II and was doing okay in class he would say. I would meet the father too on his way to work and he too would acknowledge my presence with a nod.
D……. must have been around 13 when he told me that his 7 year old sister had died.
“Was she ill”? I asked.
In his naivety the boy told me that the girl had been acting difficult refusing to do her home work and her mother slapped her hard on the temple of her forehead. The girl had collapsed and died. His father had not returned from work and it took his mother a while to realize that her daughter was no more.
The girl was rushed to the hospital and was declared dead on arrival. I do not know how the case was hushed up because I heard neighbors say that the girl had fallen down from a chair and got hit on the temple and died. I kept the boy’s version to myself since I felt that the family must have been traumatized enough without fresh gossip adding to their woes. Her mother’s guilt was enough punishment for her I felt. For all I know, the mother may have hit her hard and the girl might have fallen off the chair. The 13 year old boy may not have understood the situation well enough.
I happened to meet his father a few weeks later and saw for myself what his daughter’s death had done to him. He seemed to have grown 10 years older in a fortnight and his eyes showed no signs of recognition. His hair was disheveled and he had not shaved for days. D….... told me that his mother’s condition was no better. She did not cook or clean nor bathe for days together. The shock was too severe to handle. I continued to meet D……… on quite a few occasions even after he joined college and started working. His parents had passed away before turning 50 and he was postponing marriage when I last met him some 15 years back. He might have shifted to another location in town or may have left Jamshedpur altogether. I only wish that he has gotten over his trauma and settled in life.
The point I wish to make is this. In a fit of uncontrollable rage a parent could have unintentionally caused the death of a child but the guilt associated with it is not easy to handle. Somehow Aarushi Talwar reminds me of D…… ‘s sister (I don’t even remember her name) and I send a silent prayer for both their souls to rest in peace.