October 17, 2006
She sat in the last row, right next to the door and watched the proceedings, the charade play out. She heard out the arguments and watched the Judge react to them, sometimes worried, sometimes frustrated. And when the case came to an end she was hardly surprised at which way the verdict went. The cops and the accused shook hands and exchanged words of hushed conspiracy, and the honourable Judge walked out with his head held low. As the front row broke down in uncontrollable grief, she walked out of that courtroom with hidden tears and a cold heart. Years later when they reopened the case, she returned to her spot near the door. A lifetime had passed since they had all assembled here last, a lot had since changed. And by the end of this renewed battle so had the verdict. While the front row wept a silent tear and marked their victory with brave smiles, she saw him collapse in his chair. He couldn’t accept this reversal in fortunes, not after all the money he had spent and the names he had cultivated in his favour. He watched his guilt closing in around him. He looked towards the door; he desperately wanted to get out of this room, away from all these people. That’s when he saw that last row seat. He suddenly found it very hard to breathe as he watched that empty seat. If he could have seen her, he would have seen her standing there with a smile.
The verdict to the Priyadarshini Matoo case is out and finally justice has prevailed. It’s come 10 years too late but at least there is a dim light at the end of the very dark tunnel. We’ve a long way to go, and hopefully we’ll get there.