A year after teenager Aarushi Talwar was found murdered mysteriously in her home in suburban Noida - a crime that had a stunned nation riveted for months - her dentist parents find it difficult to sleep, have turned to spirituality and often wish the murderer could have killed them too, reports Mayank Aggarwal.
The couple that have battled innuendo, hostility and suspicion for the still unsolved crime for which father Rajesh Talwar was jailed for 50 days says they live only for justice.
"She is giving us strength. I keep seeing her (in my dreams) and she tells me, mom you have to be be strong. Go on, you have to keep your strength'. She gives me all the strength. She would have also expected us to fight for justice. That is our only reason to live today," Nupur Talwar told IANS in an exclusive interview.
Sitting at her Hauz Khas clinic from where she and her dentist husband Rajesh have been working for over a decade, Nupur said: "We used to think that the killer could have done us a favour if he had killed us (both) when he killed our daughter. That way, we could have been with her."
A few months ago, said an emotional but determined Nupur, her husband Rajesh did not want to live.
"But he is coming out of it now and says why should we die and that we have to make sure that she gets justice. The motive of our life is now to get justice for her."
They haven't had a full night's sleep since May 16, when their 14-year-old daughter was found with her throat slit at their home in Noida near Delhi. The family help Hemraj was found murdered on the terrace a day later.
"The night it took place was the last time we had slept. Since then, there has been no night when we have slept throughout the night. We get up during odd hours or after two-three hours of sleep. Then we talk to each other, support each other," the grieving mother said.
After Rajesh was let off, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested his medical assistant Krishna and accused him of committing the murders with the help of Raj Kumar and Vijay Mandal, both domestic helps in the neighbourhood. The three are out on bail at present and the agency is yet to file a chargesheet.
The murders captured the imagination of the entire nation with their brutality. The failure of investigating teams to unravel the sensational murders that had captured the imagination of the entire nation with their brutality became a talking point everywhere.
Remembering the days immediately after, Nupur said: "After the incident, I stopped working completely for months. I only used to read. I read a lot of books, including the Gita, books on Sai Baba, spiritual gurus searching for questions that why us, about karma, why we live, the motive of our life."
She said her daughter was a believer in Sai Baba.
"Before her exams, she used to go to the Sai Baba temple in Noida; I used to accompany her, we were not the followers. But now I feel that he is with us and is blessing us. After coming out from jail, Rajesh said he wants to go that temple and that is why we went there."
Their clinic in an upscale south Delhi neighbourhood bears testimony to their growing faith in spirituality. At the entrance of their basement clinic, a statuette of Sai Baba has been placed. Rajesh's table has a bigger Sai Baba figure and his wall has many more photographs of the saint. A recorded Sai Baba bhajan plays in the background.
The couple have moved to south Delhi, away from their home in Noida that holds such painful memories.
"We could not live there," they said simply.
Rajesh, who has stopped socialising and meets only close friends and relatives, said he sometimes starts crying while talking to Aarushi's friends.
"We are in touch with her friends. They all are so tense. Talking to them I sometimes start crying. They want to go and meet the president (to seek justice) but I have not decided about that as yet."
"The past one year has been very very difficult. We have been dying every day, constantly 24 hours a day. No matter what I am doing, working or anything, this is what goes on in my mind," Rajesh told IANS.
On Aarushi's birthday on May 24, the couple is planning to go to Shirdi, the pilgrimage town in Maharashtra where Sai Baba lived. On May 16, her first death anniversary, they are organising a prayer meeting at the Chinmaya Mission at Lodhi Road.
"May was such a happy month for us. It had Aarushi's birthday and my birthday (May 30). We used to party a lot. But it is not the same any more," said Rajesh.
Asked if he wants to start a family again, he said: "I don't know, we have not thought about it as yet. Considering our age, I don't know. But yes we can't live our complete lives like this."