'When I die, the entire world should witness my death and I should die as somebody and not just anybody." This was Anuradha Bali alias Fiza's take on death that she discussed with her friends during university days.
No one could have thought that this would come true so soon. Within six years of her marriage with former Haryana deputy chief minister Chander Mohan, Fiza went through turbulent times and finally met such a gory end.
"Ya to main bahut achha banna chahti hoon ya phir bahut buri…Ram ya Ravan (Either I want to be very good or very bad)," 41-year-old Fiza had said when she was being treated at a hospital a month back for injuries suffered in a scuffle with her neighbours.
These words still "come back" to Rohit Mahajan's mind, a city-based advocate and close confidant of Anuradha Bali.
Revisiting their days together in 1993, Mahajan recollects how he and Anuradha became friends while pursuing law at Panjab University. "I still remember Anuradha as a daring and bold person, both on the campus and outside," asserts Mahajan.
He adds: "She never behaved like a girl and being the eldest of four sisters, she was the man of the house. She was quite ambitious and always wanted to carve a separate identity for herself."
Talking about old times spent together, Mahajan adds: "We both joined the district courts in Chandigarh in 1994. Till then, she was well grounded. She used to study all the cases in detail and started understanding her subject very well. Even after I got married, we remained the best of pals."
About the change Chander Mohan brought to her life, Mahajan recalls: "Till 2007, Anuradha was like any other girl, who was fond of having fun with friends. But after her involvement with Chander Mohan, she became a changed person and she got distanced from her family as well as friends."
Her association with Chander Mohan left her starry-eyed and during her 40-day marriage with the former deputy chief minister of Haryana, Anuradha was completely in another world, far away from ground reality, Mahajan says. "When that association broke, she was completely shattered," he adds.
Mahajan says he used to tell Anuradha to shed her arrogance or she would find herself alone. "I even suggested that either she get married or adopt a child to fight loneliness," he recalls.
Refuting claims that she was into drinking and smoking, as a liquor bottle and cigarette packet was recovered from her place, Mahajan says: "Of what I know, she never used to drink or smoke, at least not in my presence."
Anuradha was also left alone by her family. Even her sisters had distanced themselves from her, evident from the fact that her death was detected possibly after four days. "Anuradha lived life on her own terms and never had any regrets," Mahajan concludes.
Chance meeting is all it took
The association with Chander Mohan started with exchange of pleasantries at a party. Rohit Mahajan says: "Anuradha had been appointed as Punjab's assistant advocate general once during Capt Amarinder Singh's tenure.
Her appointment as such in Haryana came soon after a chance meeting with Chander Mohan at a party. The appointment of an advocate as a law officer is not only prestigious, but also ensures a steady income.
An assistant advocate general rises to become a Deputy AG and then an additional AG. It is an open secret that appointments to the AG office are political, evident from the fact that law officers put in their papers every time there is change of guard.