Justice served, but our life remains empty, say Delhi braveheart's parents
A year has passed since their daughter was fatally gangraped by six men inside a moving bus in Delhi, but the family is yet to find closure. "Death to all - these were the three words we lived to hear," says the father. HT Blog:Every time I step out of my house, I am reminded of her | Full Coverage: December 16, a year laterindia Updated: Dec 16, 2013 17:00 IST
A year has passed since their daughter was fatally gangraped by six men inside a moving bus, but the family is yet to find closure.
"Death to all - these were the three words we lived to hear," says the father.
"Justice has been served. But our life remains empty. Hum zinda lash hain (we are reduced to living corpses)."
A lot has changed for the family since December 16, 2012.
They moved from a small, decrepit house to a two-bedroom apartment provided by the government in August.
The father, who used to load baggage onto airplanes at the Delhi airport, now makes entry passes for airport workers, and gets more money and leaves.
The elder son quit a lowly railways job to study BTech in Noida. The younger one has shifted from an old government school to a prestigious, private one. He wants to become a doctor.
What has not changed is the void she left behind.
And her photograph in the pooja room. "She was so full of life. Whenever we look at her picture, we see a different expression on her face. Sometimes she smiles, sometimes she wants to ask us something," says the father.
The mother says she hasn't slept well a single night since that night in December.
"I get nightmares of her screaming in the hospital," she says.
Read: A year after December 16, more rapes, biased courts
"That last evening we saw her, she said: 'Mummy, I will come back in two to three hours.' Sometimes, I still dream that she will come back."
She would have turned 24 on May 10, but she hadn't celebrated her birthday with her family for four years because of her physiotherapy course in Dehradun.
"She was back with us after her course had ended. We had grand plans for her birthday. Eventually, we celebrated it with a small pooja," the mother says.
Read:Rape cases up 125% in Delhi since December 16 incident
"Whenever we talked about her marriage, she would say: 'Give me a year to get a job and become financially secure. Then you can tell me when and whom to marry.' She liked cooking but never did the dishes."
Her elder brother recalls the night they returned to Delhi after performing her death rites at their native village in Uttar Pradesh.
"In her room on the first floor, her clothes and books lay strewn," he says.
Read: Two other rape cases on Dec 16 that were never reported
"It was raining and we spent a sleepless night, something we do quite often even now."
The mourning was not yet over when a local court on January 28 declared the sixth accused a juvenile. On August 31, he was sentenced to three years at a reformatory home.
"He was the most brutal of them all," says the father.
The family has challenged his sentencing in the Delhi high court. "The hearing is on January 6. We have hope," he says.