'My parents want me to marry. Now I do not mind'

As December 16 nears, he has become restless, trying to keep up with his normal routine while ignoring the spurt in phone calls, SMSs. "Mediapersons will never let me forget what I went through. They will keep rubbing salt in my wounds," the friend of the Delhi gangrape victim who was with her at the time of the attack and was also assaulted by her rapists says.

It's not that he requires much prodding to remember that evening, or to recall his friend being assaulted and howling for mercy. "I can reconstruct every bit in my mind — the movie, the walk in search for a transport home, the dreaded point from where we boarded the bus. I still remember the man banging his hand on the bus, calling out for passengers in that peculiar tone. If only we had not boarded that white chartered bus and waited for an auto instead. If only we could get those few seconds back. One chance to undo it all, life would have been different," he says.

The only solace he has found, he adds, is in his work. His job at an IT company in Delhi keeps him busy. He claims to have not informed even his parents, in Gorakhpur, about his address in Delhi. They can reach him only on the phone. "I sought a job that would keep me very busy so that I do not think about the past. I go to work at 10 am and work till late in the night. Sometimes I ask them for night shifts. The purpose is to drain yourself out so that you can sleep in peace."

He hasn't been home to Gorakhpur either in the past year, he adds. It partly had to do with the ongoing case, and he ensured he was there for every hearing when summoned. "It takes a lot of courage to start a new life after what I witnessed. I have had sleepless nights. I cannot construe my feelings in sentences. I was medically unfit, emotionally disturbed. I decided to withdraw myself and start a new life," he says.

... contd.

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