extinguished candleIt was reported by the media that she finally lost the battle and died early this morning at the Singapore hospital where she was flown for treatment.

Wrong. She did not die today. Today was just the final act of leaving the broken and shattered body. She must have died a thousand deaths, from the moment that she boarded that bus on that ill-fated evening.  She must have died every minute from the moment she was assaulted by the barbarians on the bus. She must have relived that horror in every conscious moment that she had in between.

You and I can only imagine what she would have been through, based on whatever reports that we have seen on the media. We can only shudder in horror at the thought of something like this happening to a young girl on our streets. But you and I can never ever come close to imagining the horrible agony this poor kid would have gone through.

And yet, we must admire her spirit. We must admire her very brave fight to cling on to life, right till the very end. Damini, Amanat.. are some of the names by which the media referred to her, but in my view, the name given to her by one newspaper – Nirbhaya – the fearless one – would be perhaps the most apt one to remember her by.

No. She did not die today. What died today was our collective conscience as a nation. What died today was our faith in the system, and our faith in our government. What died today was hope. Because we allowed something like this to happen to one of our children, in our country, in our city, in our very own backyard.

May this brave soul rest in peace.