I was on my way back to Delhi from a trip to Amritsar. We were three people travelling together and it was quite late when we finally hit Delhi, around 10 pm, to be a little precise. We had to get off at Kashmiri Gate ISBT, walk on the road for ten minutes, and that is how we reached the metro station. For the kind of person that I am, I have always been fearful about being outside that late in the night even if there are people for company. And I have always avoided it. But that night it was inevitable. We had to travel either for the whole night and reach in the morning, or for the whole day and reach at night. In any case, I would have opted for the latter. Travelling by a bus at night had never sounded safe to me. Nevertheless, we were finally in the ladies’ coach of the Delhi Metro. It was for the first time that I was out at that hour in Delhi. I was a little uncomfortable, not with the people around, but with the time by my watch. There were, maybe, around fifteen girls in the coach, two of which were just teenagers, hardly out of high school. I was in an awe to see such young girls traveling alone at that hour, that too in a city like Delhi. I was just wondering what could be the purpose of their being out alone and traveling at that time of the night, and without any responsible person accompanying them. The two girls got off at Nehru Place like we did. Then as we were about the hire an auto-rickshaw I noticed one of them bidding good-bye to the other and going off in an auto-rickshaw all alone while the other girl headed back to the platform. The clock was almost hitting 11 now. I was just amazed to see the fearless daring they had in them to be out all alone at that hour of the night. As this girl walked past me, I just hoped that she would reach home safe. I was never really aware that girls do have this magnitude of courage and confidence to be alone on the roads at night and yet be safe. Or maybe, sometimes it is just plain over-confidence. The whole point of narrating this trivial incident is that this was that Sunday night, December 16. On that disastrous night, one girl, just a few miles away, was facing her death in the most barbarous way one could think of. And she was in no way at fault.I was on the road too. I reached home safe and sound. She never did.
It was not until I reached office yesterday morning that I learned of her death. I was shattered. All these days, somewhere down the line, I knew she wouldn’t survive for long, yet Ihad prayed from the core that she would. I sat quietly staring into my desktop for a while. Throughout the day, I could feel shivers running down my spine. It shudders to even contemplate the pain she must have gone through. And believe me, I do not have the guts to feel even a pinch of it. While in Amritsar, as I was walking through the pathways of Jalianwalah Bagh, eyeing through the stories, pain and sacrifice of our people, I got goose bumps for the kind of people that we, as a nation, were. When you visit that place you will know what I am talking about. And the day right next to that, the biting reality of our disintegrated and decaying society was staring on my face. They said that the world would come to an end this year. I definitely see something on the brink of its end. It is called humanity….