"Hera gailu ho hamar chaand-chakori, ka kari hum, ab kaise jihin hum? (Our beloved, you're gone forever. How do we live now?)" - a radio playing this Bhojpuri folk song at the December 16 gangrape victim's village in Uttar Pradesh summed up the solemn mood of most villagers.
But while the elderly are in a somber mood, most girls are already in a fight-back mode. "I will study physiotherapy in the same Dehradun college as didi (the victim) and work in Delhi. I fear for my life after what happened to her but there's enough courage in me. Her death has made me more determined," said an 18-year-old cousin of the victim.
"Though didi didn't come to the village frequently, we stayed in touch over the phone. The last time I spoke to her, she said I must study hard and become independent. She said once she landed a job, she will bring me over to Delhi and I will study under her guidance," she said.
Her parents said they will help her fulfill her dreams. "We lost one daughter. These are times of extreme grief but relegating the girls to stay at home instead of chasing their dreams the way their didi did would be unfair," they told HT.
"Banta hua makaan gir gaya, dobara banne mein samay lagta hai (dreams have shattered, rebuilding it will take time). But I will give it my best shot," said the 18-year-old, who is pursuing graduation from a Ballia college. "Ever since the news of her death came, I did not sit at home even for a day. I have been going to college," she said.
Her classmates echo similar sentiments. "Didi has been an inspiration all along. She has now become a role model for all of us. We will follow in her footsteps to pursue a better life while defying the odds," said one of them.
Another class 10 student said, "The media shouldn't have given her so many names just to sell their stories. Despite being faceless, her death led to massive outrage across the country."
A neighbour, a class 9 student in the village school, said, "I don't understand why everybody is calling her a braveheart. Which girl is not? She fought the rapists and wanted to live. What else was she supposed to do? The government latched on to the braveheart theory just to hide its incompetence in providing security to the women of the Capital."