Mumbai : “Bhai, mummy ka dhyan rakhna. Bahaut roti hai” These were Preeti Rathi’s last words. She scribbled it a notepad for her brother just before she was wheeled into the operation theatre at Bombay Hospital on May 20. After the operation, she slipped into a coma, never to emerge from it.

In fact, she wrote several such messages on May 20. These letters, passed on by her family to FPJ, reveal the faith that she had in God and the legal system, her desire to get married, the hard work that she had put in for her job and her concern for her family.

“Like any normal girl Preeti also had dreams of getting married. Whenever we used to discuss her marriage plans she used to blush and avoid eye contact. We knew that she could get a good-looking bridegroom, as she was very pretty. After her job we even thought that we will not have to pay dowry for her,” said Preeti’s aunt over the phone.

After Preeti’s government job was fixed, her father had called up Preeti’s brother Shamsher telling him to find a suitable bridegroom in civil services for her. “We were searching boy for her. Two of boys from our village had cleared NDA and we were thinking of approaching them,” said Shamsher.

Preeti in one of her last letters wrote to her mother, “Mummy Papa ne to rishte bhi dekhne shuru kar diye thhey. Papa ka pata nahi par acchi baat hai mausi aapko logo ko takleef nahi hogi.”

Preeti’s family had even saved up money and purchased jewellery for her, “We were preparing for her marriage since two years like any other middle class family. She used to try them on and look very pretty. My heart cried when she wrote that she does not want to look pretty,” said Shamsher.

In one of the letter two three days before Preeti slipped into unconsciousness she wrote, “Mujhe ab sunder nahi dikhna.”

Even after her dreams of having a happy married life was broken,  her faith in God continued. After the decision to shift her to Bombay hospital was taken she wrote, “Mere bag me Ganesh Ji ki ek Murti hai usey mere paas rakh do. Vo hi meri raksha karege.”

Preeti’s mother even had visited Siddhi Vinayak temple for her health. Preeti was every moment waiting for the day when she will get discharged from the hospital and lead a normal life. “Maine puccha Dr. se meri rt (right) eye kharab hain. Jab tak transplant nahi hoga main dekh nahi paungi,” she added, “Jab tak chehre se theek nahi houngi (aankhein) theek nahi hoga.”

She wanted to go home, “Dr. kuch bata nahi rahe. Meri  reconstructive surgery kab hogi. Ye (face) plaster kab hoga hum kitne din tak aur yaha hain.”

After her recovery Preeti wanted to join her job, her brother Shamsher said, “She had worked hard for it. Since past six years she had not asked for a single penny from her family. She was so happy after this job as after being independent for herself she wanted to become her family’s support,” said Shamsher.

For her job Preeti wrote, “Meri INS ki job to gayi na, Mausi maine bahaut taiyaari ki thi lft. (Lieutenant) banney ki. Mai ye job nahi chhodna chahti.”

“Kyu kia usne mere saath aisa. Vo pakda to jayega na mausi,” she scribbled asking for justice.

In her last letter to her brother she asked him to take care of her mother, “Bhai mummy ka dhyan rakhna. Bahaut roti hai.”

“Behind her, she has left an ailing mother, an old father and two younger brother and sister. She was the ideal daughter that any parent could have wished for. In her death, a very grave question of why a simple innocent girl died, is actually lurking over our family. We just want justice,” said Shamsher.

Swati Jha

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