Three days later.

 

Life goes on as expected. You cast glances over your shoulder, expecting shadowy figures matching your every step; you have nightmares about masked men with iron poles leering at you, or worse, unmasked men whose faces you know. Subramanyam tells you that you are overreacting, it’s just a story and the threats were empty but your offices are graffitied every morning with insults and your name. Your mother tells you to be ready when you have to lie in the bed you’ve made.

Three days after the story runs, you arrive at work as usual, only for two masked men to enter the offices and open fire. Bullets spray everywhere. Many of your colleagues are injured. You take two in the shoulder, one in the arm. Isha takes three in the chest. Rajiv, one in the head, dead instantly. The authorities take a long time to come. Isha dies in transit to the hospital.

Only a day after you’re discharged, you come home to find your door ajar. Inside, glass and furniture broken everywhere. Spritzes of blood. You find Subramanyam face-down on the ground, his face a bloody pulp but breath whistling through his lips and broken teeth. You find your mother, stripped and dead. Dimly, you hear yourself screaming, even as you phone the police, knowing they will not show up to help you, author of that story, with your new tragedy. You take your husband to the hospital and sit with your head in your hands and your mouth is closed but you still hear the screaming, like that poor girl must have screamed when they held her down, and her family keeps phoning to tell you how grateful they are and you only hear the sound of your mother’s voice, asking you, How could you let me die without dignity. I told you this job would lead you to no good.

Subramanyam recovers. He takes a post back in London. You talk on the phone but rarely. He’s busy, he says. You continue working in Delhi, fighting the good fight, and your coworkers respect you like never before, but your life has ended, and from that there is no going back.

The end.

One thought on “Three days later.

  1. I feel totally upset by this story (very compelling by the way). I really strived to make the best decision, one on hand in taking into account my colleagues’ feedbacks and in making sure they wont pay the price for it (in line with the Prima Facie Duties), but on the other hand, my duty as a journalist is to tell the truth (SPJ code of ethics). I’ve got information that can potentially help changing the status of women in my country, and as a woman, we won’t no longer being oppressed. But however I tried to reinforce my decision through the approval of Rajiv and the police, I knew how the story were likely to end. It’s common knowledge that people who challenge the authority are short-lived.
    At the end of the day, even though I paid the price for telling the truth, I dont regret my decision. Because if I didn’t do so, I knew I’d had to carry this burden for the rest of my life.

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