For Aarushi's friends, verdict provides closure
“Acquitted” — That’s the text message 50-year-old Masooma Ranalvi received from her daughter, Fiza, when the Allahabad High Court announced its judgment in the 2008 Aarushi-Hemraj murder case on Thursday afternoon. Although monosyllabic, Ranalvi could tell how relieved her daughter was after the verdict. After all, Fiza and Aarushi were friends since they were five years old.
The night before the verdict, Anita Durrani — a family friend of the Talwars — was up late, talking to her daughter, Vidushi, who works in New York. “She couldn’t sleep, she was very tensed about uncle-aunty… she was up all night waiting for the verdict,” Durrani said.
Nine years since the incident, the verdict has given a sense of closure to Aarushi’s friends — who were teenagers when she was found murdered in her Noida home. “Losing a friend at that age and in that manner was very traumatising for Fiza. The character assassination that followed was horrific… How do you shield your child from that? It changed my daughter, she grew up very fast…,” said Ranalvi, who had met the Talwars at Dasna Jail a month ago.
She added that Fiza shifted to another school and left for Bengaluru after Class XII. Now 23, she works at a design studio in Delhi.
“…Was not easy growing up knowing by example how life could spin out of control and comprehension, the way it did for them,” posted Fiza on Facebook.
For Radhika Chadha, a family friend of the Talwars, her daughter — who is now 17 — grew up with the case: “She was eight at the time… she was insecure because of all the time we spent with the family. When she grew up and read Avirook Sen’s book Aarushi, she processed what had happened to her. Today, I told her about the verdict and she was happy.”
Mahima Chandra (43), a patient of the Talwars, said her daughter went to the same school as Aarushi. “There was no scope for us to tell her anything… Everything was in the news. When I told her about the judgment today, she was thrilled…,” she said.