In a story of justice gone horribly wrong, teenage girl Aarushi Talwar was found murdered in her bedroom in Noida seven years ago. Within weeks, Aarushi’s parents, the Talwars, were accused; four years later, they went on trial and were convicted. Here are excerpts from Rajesh Talwar’s diary, which he kept in jail.
(Excerpted with permission, from Aarushi by Avirook Sen, published by Penguin Books.)
The diary begins on 25 November 2013, the day of the verdict.
We could not believe what was being said. He was saying we were guilty of murdering our own child and Hemraj. Had everyone gone mad? For the media, excellent news.
27 Nov: Met Nupur at about 1 pm. She was looking very ragged and tired. Wanted to meet someone from home, she was worried about her dad. But the place is so far . . .how can they come every day? I knew once both of us go in less people will visit, maybe not more than once a week. No one can stop this world. Hope we can meet someone together tomorrow. The things that one takes for granted outside . . . Want to talk very badly with my own people, but can’t . . . It’s only been three days. Cold water baths. Had to put a thumb impression on paper which showed us as convicted prisoners.
28 Nov: Came back and played some chess to pass some time and lost to Vivek. Met the deputy jailer, he is a nice man and is always cracking some joke. It is Friday, I don’t think it’s going to be easy. The lawyers and Dinesh will meet on the weekend and if they work like this then we will take a long time.
29 Nov: Met the jail superintendent [JS] regarding something to do for Nupur and myself. He really shocked us by saying that the media is asking why we were not being sent to Agra [jail]. That if it happens will completely finish us. Anyway gave an application and hope that does not happen.
30 Nov: It’s been five days and this is going to be an endless punishment, feeling quite tired already. Some correspondence regarding shifting [to Agra] and I hope that does not happen. That will be complete death, in fact, worse than death. I just don’t understand why our life is going from bad to worse.
1 Dec: Where we were last Sunday, and where we are today. Extremely depressed getting up. Met Ajay and Radhika and Nupur all together just now. For some time it felt that we were meeting together somewhere till one comes back to the barrack and reality hits you again. Supposed to have had some good food today because Dr Yadav is leaving tomorrow.
3 Dec: Still can’t understand how this happened to us. If only I would have gotten up . . . I could not even save my dear Aaru. Very difficult to live without her. Met with the JS along with Nupur and Mantriji. He promised he would let us do some work at the hospital. He was talking about exactly what happened that night. Told him about what the first team had said, about the narco etc. He also found the whole honour killing thing very vague.
4 Dec: Ajay and Dinesh will come tomorrow. I hope Dinesh is not too negative. Just can’t understand God’s ways.
5 Dec: I should be able to start the dental clinic in a day or two but still nothing for Nupur to do. How will she pass the time?
7 Dec: Went off to the hospital to arrange for a few things there. Got X-ray installed and meanwhile got a call for meeting Nupur. Waited for at least one hour before she came. Met Mantriji and saw the place where table tennis is played. Maybe I’ll play tomorrow. Could not play anywhere, now playing in jail. After I came back, everyone got a rude shock. Two new inmates were unceremoniously thrown out of the barracks. That’s to remind us that we are in jail and nothing can be taken for granted. Your ego should be thrown out of the window.
8 Dec: Will try and meet Nupur. Wonder what happened with the appeal. The complete lack of information and knowing that this can be endless leaves one with a very bad feeling.
6.10 pm [the same day] Seems as if the lawyers are not doing anything. Tanveer also seems busy with himself and so does Rebecca. Don’t know what to do.
9 Dec: It’s been two weeks in jail. Tanveer has still not worked out the appeal. Not even started. He’s obviously in no hurry to get us out or he thinks that it is now not possible. Miss Aaru so much and that time and our life. People talk about their children and what they are doing. They come and meet them in jail. But for us, nothing.
10 Dec: Met Nupur in the afternoon. It’s really strange what life has dealt us. But this is what it is. Just thank God for what he is giving us in this situation.
12 Dec: Went to the hospital and checked out all the stuff. Met with the law mantri since deputy jailer had called me there. Felt like some sort of an animal in a zoo whom people want to see.
13 Dec: Did the composite fillings of the deputy jailer. Sapna, bhaiya and Vibha didi had come. Sat with them for a while. They were encouraging and said that by April we should be out. Came back to the barracks at about 5.30 and sat with the docs, Yadav and Verma. Dr Yadav was wearing a langot and we had a laugh about that. Laughed after quite a while. It’s so strange, I’m laughing even in jail.
16 Dec: Very cold today. Lot of fog. It will be difficult to have a bath again, but have to. Hope someone comes to meet.
18 Dec: This is the 25th year of our marriage and we will celebrate 25 years on the 19th of January. Could anybody imagine where we would be on our 25th anniversary? No Aaru, no house, no clinic, no money, and sitting in jail for something we haven’t done. Nupur said they were getting food from the bhandara and food from the canteen had been stopped because of some fighting. She looked hungry and it’s really a shame what God is making us go through. Even looking forward to some food now.
19 Dec: Just kept daydreaming of what would happen if the incident had not happened. Miss Aaru so much. Wonder where she is, and what she would feel if she saw us like this. Just no way to prove innocence. No one has proved anything in this case. Just that they are not satisfied by our reply.
21 Dec: When I look at the paper there are so many things that Aaru would have liked, so much that she would have done. She left even without saying goodbye.
24 Dec: Last night there was some issue regarding Sudhir and Jagdish. Never imagined we would be in such surroundings. Completely unbelievable. Met Nupur after about 12 pm for a while in the garden and then met the two lawyers Sisodia and Satyaketu. Now they talk about not doing it in front of Shyam Lal, when everything is done. They never put their foot down earlier. That’s the problem with lawyers. They put all decisions on the client and then say, we told you so.
25 Dec: Nupur was supposed to come in the afternoon but it was not allowed. Hope she manages to eat. Today there is a special dinner of aloo mattar, zeera rice, methi aloo, kaddu and puri, and after that sweet dish (kheer). Trying to make the jail clinic into a good clinic.
26 Dec: Everyone has just disappeared, enjoying the New Year. Not one has the time to see us.
28 Dec: Nupur was looking okay today. It’s really strange how she bears Aaru’s loss. She used to constantly be with her.
30 Dec: Met Nupur’s dad and mom today after meeting Nupur. Both were looking quite down. Dad was looking old, and didn’t look like he was comprehending much. What this has done to our family. We are destroyed. We were destroyed by Aaru’s loss and he has completely destroyed us by this kind of verdict.
31 Dec: Shashikantji and Guptaji are still relaxing in bed. Birbal is doing exercise, while Mantriji is walking vigorously. The day, as usual, has started.
1 Jan 2014: I got up to 2014. Aaru never even saw 2009. Today is Papa’s birthday. Also wonder what he would say to what we are going through. I am thankful that he’s not there to see this, but I miss his presence.
3 Jan: Sapna came and saw how Nupur stayed, and was shocked. She came to arrange for a satsang. I hope the lawyers work on the appeal with unity. No one is affected by this except us.
4 Jan: Everybody is spending time in this barrack, but they will all go free before me. But doesn’t matter, have the strength of mind to face any situation, and must give the same to Nupur also. Dinesh is expected tomorrow, so I hope for some information. At least we know that there is someone outside to take care of our interests and who cares.
5 Jan: Some people and Parminder Awana, the cricketer [of the IPL’s Kings XI Punjab], came. They were made to meet me, really don’t know why. How am I supposed to react? Obviously some of them think I’m a criminal. This is such a strange situation.
10 Jan: Very cold, fog entering barracks. By the time I get up Dr Verma is up and Mr Gupta is taking a walk, he’s diabetic so it is essential to do that. Mantriji is sleeping. (Evening) Miss Aaru so much. Can’t imagine she’s no more. She braved a lot. And she had to suffer so much. I can feel the pain that she must have felt, and it leaves me helpless. I couldn’t help her at all.