She was bold, ambitious and hardworking. She used to tell her mother, a domestic help, “I will make you proud one day. We will tide over hardship and live a happy life”.

But that was not to be. Sitting in her house with non-plastered walls at Kavalappara, five km from Shoranur, the mother of a 23-year-old woman who was raped and murdered after being pushed out of the Ernakulam-Shoranur Passenger Train, recalled how her daughter's dreams were thwarted on the ill-fated night of February 1.

Weeping inconsolably, the mother lamented: “I spoke to her when the train reached Mullurkkara, just 10 minutes away from Shoranur. My daughter was just a call away….''

The hapless mother and the victim's younger brother are still in the grip of the devastated trauma even after nine months of the tragedy.

Though she had to quit degree course at the Palakkad Victoria College as her family could not support her studies, she nurtured the dream of becoming a graduate one day, her mother recalled.

She was on cloud nine when the owner of a private firm in Kochi, where she worked, relaxed the working hours and allowed her to attend private degree classes.

She wanted to secure a job and stand on her feet before marriage. Even while working in Kochi, the ambitious young woman completed her Hotel Management course and computer training.

“My daughter was not a touch-me-not type,” said the mother, who brought up her two children alone after her husband abandoned them.

The mother recalled that her daughter always grew her nails as precaution against minor offenders while travelling. “But neither her preparedness nor my prayers saved my daughter on that ill-fated day.”

Trying to piece their lives together, the family, which was staying in a rented house, has now shifted to a small house built with the compensation (Rs.3 lakh each) given by the State government and the Railways.

Keywords: rape case

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