He didn’t feel like eating on November 21, the night before his release. Somehow, the thought of food made him nauseous — the pain of all that had tragically transpired was welling up inside him.
The police torture, which went on for hours till he fell unconscious, has been indelibly etched in his mind.
On November 22, the paperwork for Ashok Kumar’s release was being prepared. He was to be let out on a bond of Rs 50,000 after a harrowing 74 days in jail.
The jail superintendent got special food prepared for him. Kumar recalls emotionally, "They made rajma aloo for me as a special gesture. The superintendent also had halwa made for me — it was auspicious, he felt."
Stepping out of jail, he hugged his father and wept inconsolably. But he knew he had to remain strong for his mother, who was not strong enough to shoulder his burden.
He returned home and sat through a prolonged interaction with the media. All this while, his wife, Mamta, kept a low profile, serving biscuits and tea to reporters who had descended on the house. But her eyes gave away her joy.
For dinner, his favourite food was served, prepared carefully by Mamta — hara saag and bajre ki roti. His sons — Rohan, 9, and Keshav, 6 — have not been off his lap ever since he came home. The older son said affectionately, “My father has come back home, and now I will eat food with him from his plate."
Ashok woke up the next morning not feeling well, complaining of chest pain and low blood pressure. He had been running a temperature over the past two days.
"I wanted to go to our kul devta [clan god], Hanumanji. But I don’t think I can go at this point — I need to get better first,” he said.
Though the family has reunited, Ashok’s nightmare is far from over — he’s without a job now, and finding one will prove difficult.
Only time will tell how the rest of his life will unfold.
TAGS: Ashok Kumar / Jail / Police Torture / Ryan International / Pradyuman Thakur / CBI / Bhondsi / Bhondsi