It is said that Truman Capote started investigating The Clutter Murders after reading a 300-word New York Times article. 6 years spent on the case, gave us ‘In Cold Blood’, the first book of its kind. Capote was no journalist and Avirook Sen is no author. ‘Aarushi’ is a compelling read, no doubt. But I refuse to believe that Mr. Sen is not related in anyway to the Talwars. ‘In Cold Blood’ was special for it also traced Capote’s un-engineered emotions towards Richard Hickock and Perry Smith. Mr. Sen never gives us that insight into Rajesh or Nupur. ‘Aarushi‘ just comes across as a prayer before Court in a non-fiction book form. That engineering is stark.
Few facts my voyeurism prompted me to note:
- “Anmol Agarwal had been vying for Aarushi’s affections and the two had exchanged several phone calls and texts in the days leading up to the murder. On the night of the murder, Anmol tried calling Aarushi both on her mobile and on the landline, but had got no reply. He was thus the last person to try to contact Aarushi” (pg. 15).
- “Information on Hemraj was thin. He had a wife and grandchildren back home; he had not been with the Talwars long enough for them to really get to know them. Rohini Gupta was a former employer who could speak authoritatively about him. Gupta, now in her sixties and divorced, has two girls of her own: ‘he was extremely protective. If in a fit of anger I wanted to whack the children, he would always intervene. He would always stop us.’” (pg. 47).
- “Starting at the top, the Supreme Court, where Nupur Talwar was granted bail in September, there was a distinguished law firm – Karanjawala and Co. – run by the socially connected Raian Karanjawala – and a set of redoubtable (and very expensive) lawyers who appeared on the Talwar’s behalf” (pg. 143).
- “Rebecca John told me she was moved and convinced by the Talwar’s story. Connection within the family led them to Salve. Salve was unaffordable, but he agreed with a nod (rather than the theatrical bow he reserves for the Supreme Court) and no money” (pg. 144).
- Bharti Mandal grew up in “Gourangatala, a little known North Bengal village” (pg. 160).
- “What were you thinking when you used words like willy and pecker in your Judgment? (Retd.) Justice Shyam Lal betrayed a little discomfort and then smiled and had a question of his own: ‘Do you think it was not proper?’” (pg. 249).