She lives through her death


(Aruna Shanbaugh, the Mumbai rape victim nurse, passes away in a 42 years long coma)


A long nightmare

comes to an end,

releasing the hostage, the soul,

from the prison called body,

after serving an incredible, unbelievable

42 years long sentence.

Aruna Shanbaug finally breathes her last, 

to the relief of some 

and utter grief of all the rest

and humanity.


Once upon a time, 

a young woman, with starry dreams

of a happy life 

landed in Mumbai,

having larger plans

to settle down, in life

and profession.


A nurse by profession,

she plunged into her act,

serving the mankind,

helping the injured and sick

heal their wounds, cure their maladies 

and go back to health

and happiness.


But…one evening

after calling it a day, as she

was preparing to leave,

the unsuspecting…poor soul

got attacked from behind

by a beast most abominable.  


Felled instantly and pinned down on the floor,

choked with a dog leash to silence her,

she got sexually assaulted 

and left behind gasping for breath,

bleeding profusely,  writhing in pain and…

lying totally helpless.


Deep wounds snapped

her vital oxygen supply to the brain

leaving her,

totally blind and

reduced to a vegetable existence for life,

‘Sentenced to life in coma, till death!’


Her miserable plight touched

different people in different manners. 

Pronouncing her better dead than alive, 

out of compassion, concern

over her infinite trauma, 

the apex court was moved

to allow her mercy killing, the euthanasia.


Killing and mercy…the misnomer, ain’t it?. 

Can killing be ever an act of mercy? Why not?

If it is under euthanasia. 

And owing to the petition, although a failed one,

Aruna became the face of euthanasia,

by default though.  


However, amidst all the turmoil over euthanasia,

humanity did not lapse into coma,

nor was active compassion and service dead. 

Aruna’s shocked, stunned sister nurses  

rose up in protest,

taking it upon themselves to undertake

every care of their unfortunate sister

saying, ‘How could anyone think of

ending her (Aruna’s) life?’  


Destiny asserting, and the apex court

rejecting the prayer to kill the victim, 

Aruna was allowed to keep breathing

under the everlasting loving care

of her sister nurses 

until her destined last moment arrived.


She passes away!   

leaving behind the headline – 

‘Aruna lives through her death.’

So true!

RIP the noble soul!


P.S.: And kudos to the sister nurses 

for proving true to the

holy profession and all

that the nursing really stands for!


Ashok Misra



2 thoughts on “She lives through her death

  1. Beautifully written chronicle of a life that was tragic…but the story was redeemed by the compassion and devotion of the nurses who lovingly fed her, bathed her, and talked to her every day!


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