My Cousin Srilu: Wish I Could Sense Your Silence

Posted: December 24, 2018

The author pens a heart-rending story of her cousin who was a victim of violence. She is aghast that justice hasn’t prevailed and the perpetrator of the crime still roams free.

It has been more than two decades since I last saw my cousin, Srilu. The very sound of her name, once so familiar,  seems very distant now. Srilu, a bubbly, cheerful and a beautiful 23 year old had many dreams and aspirations and had her whole life in front of her. But, all of that was taken away ruthlessly from her by a monster, a despicable animal who has no right to even live in this word. I have been told, however, that he is now roaming the streets of the very town where he took her young life. I cannot help but wonder at the injustice of it all.

Srilu was six months older than me. Always full of life, she was a bundle of energy. Since we were closer in age than our other cousins, we used to dress alike, do the same things and hang out with each other. I was the quiet one and we were almost opposites. We had our own share of arguments, but were friends nevertheless. She loved dancing, singing, dressing up and always brightened up the room whenever she was around. A huge X files series fan, she could watch the episodes endlessly. She was also a huge fan of the actor, Karthik from the Telugu movie “Anveshana”. Her life was like yours and mine and like any other teenager, until it was no more.

Her life was almost normal until her father, my uncle passed away suddenly due to a heart attack. Soon after, her mother, my aunt became sick and bedridden. It was one after the other for her and, subsequently, her wedding was also arranged with the “so called” businessman aka the devil. I can still recall being a little unhappy on her wedding day seeing the groom as I did not think he was right for her. He had neither her personality nor her beauty, but I convinced myself that she probably agreed because she liked him as she seemed happy. All of us went back to our respective lives after the wedding, unaware of how all our lives would change drastically in a matter of days.

It was mid-afternoon and only a couple of weeks after her wedding when I received the dreaded phone call that I wished I never received informing me of her demise. I had last seen her a week before when she visited me in the hostel with her relatives. I had a feeling that she wanted to tell me something but she did not probably because her relatives were beside her. I should have asked her what was going on but I did not. I was in the middle of my exams and was a bit distracted and decided to call her soon to inquire, but I never imagined something like this could happen to her so soon and that it would be the last time I will ever see her.

I was shocked beyond words, deeply saddened by the loss and I could not believe anyone could harm my sweet and lovely cousin and I blamed myself often for not acting sooner on the signs. Since then, I have heard a few different versions of what had happened and how she was murdered by the man who was supposed to love her but all of that did not matter anymore as she was never going to come back to us. A few years back, one of my cousins told me that the monster was released after serving a short sentence. How in the world can this happen? A young and a beautiful girl lost her life for no fault of hers and the devil who caused that gets a shorter sentence and is roaming on the streets like a free bird. I hope that no other girl has to go through what my cousin did and I wish he gets what he deserves.

It took me at least a week or more to write this article on her as each time I resumed writing, I was overcome with emotions and had to stop several times. I often feel guilty for living a life that she never got to experience. If only I had tried talking to her, may be she would still be alive. But no, none of us were able to help her. Srilu never got to know how the world has changed the last couple of decades. She never got to have her own kids, never got to see the world and never got to enjoy her life and all because of a senseless act of a monster. The unfairness of life!

I was thinking about her a lot the last couple of days and was wondering why, when a message appeared suddenly on my cousins group’s whatsapp feed reminding me that today was her birthday. Adding to that, I happen to find the only journal that I had written in my entire life out of nowhere. On the very few days that I had written, what surprised me most were the notes I had written on the day she was married and how I was not too happy with the groom and the day I heard that she died and how it was the saddest day of my life. Was that a coincidence or was it a sign from my cousin? I would never know, but I hope to think that it was the latter.

Here is to you, Srilu, if you can hear me. I hope you are happy wherever you are, spreading your infectious laughter and brightening up wherever you go. I miss you a lot and I am sorry that I could not help you. You will always be in my thoughts, especially when I happen to see a bright flower or a vibrant butterfly. Till we meet again, dear cousin!

Image Source: Provoked/Facebook

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