Eight days after her 13-year-old daughter was found murdered in the Talwars' Noida flat, dentist Nupur Talwar said in her first television interview that she would back her husband, Rajesh, "completely, till the last minute." Rajesh, also a dentist, had been swiftly arrested for the murder of Aarushi and that of their domestic help Hemraj. Four years and many twists in the tale later, Nupur went to jail on April 30, accused of murdering her only child.
Today, she was released after spending five months in Ghaziabad's Dasna jail, a week after the Supreme Court granted her bail with the rider that she will be released by September 25, giving time to the CBI to examine some witnesses in the case that it says are missing. The CBI has said it fears Nupur Talwar will influence witnesses once out of jail.
In that interview of May 2008, a grieving Nupur talked about a happy, normal family living the metro life, dealing with early teen, laughing and loving. "Rajesh doted on his daughter...We were such a happy family, I used to always think I must have done something really nice in my last life to have such a wonderful family. We had so many plans for her. We were planning a holiday on 15th of June. We planned a birthday party for her and we kept telling Aarushi, call as many people as you want. She used to say,'Dad, it might get expensive.' He would say it does not matter. I am going to do your birthday party. Just do what you want," she recounted.
Life, Nupur said, had ended. "All I can say is that my life has come to an end. Aarushi and Rajesh were my life." Life as the Talwars knew it, had certainly ended. They would live the next few years in the harsh glare of media attention; they would shift from Noida to south Delhi; Rajesh would go to jail, be released and would be attacked in court, his face and hands sliced with a knife; they would fight sniggers and insinuations, open accusations, legal battle after legal battle and finally, accused of Aarushi's murder and destruction of evidence along with her husband, Nupur would go to Dasna jail.
She spent the first few days in jail under intense media scrutiny. There were reports of her bonding with other women inmates; of her telling them that she was innocent; reports that she is writing a book.
In all the years since Aarushi was found with her throat slit, the Talwars have stoutly denied all the many conspiracy theories; about being enraged at having found Aarushi in an objectionable position with Hemraj, the 45-year-old domestic help; about extra-marital affairs being chanced upon; about swinging parties and much more. Through all that Nupur Talwar has worn a stoic public face, often to the criticism that she appeared too cold for a mother whose young child had been brutally murdered.
Those inclined to be kinder to her suggest that her stoicism is based in her upbringing as an armed forces kid - Nupur's father retired as a Group Captain in the Indian Air Force. A Maharashtrian, she reportedly met Rajesh Talwar, a Punjabi from Delhi, at the prestigious Maulana Azad Medical College. They fell in love, married and had one child, Aarushi.
Before their world fell apart in May 2008, the Talwars practiced together with a family friend Anita Durrani at a Hauz Khas clinic and also saw patients at Fortis hospital, where Mr Talwar headed the dental department. He also taught.
Nupur has been described by acquaintances as having been her teenaged daughter's confidante. Video footage shows the mother and daughter strolling holding hands and shopping as any mother and child would.
On May 15, 2008, Nupur Talwar was at the Hauz Khas clinic in the morning, picked up Aarushi from school and they had lunch at home, before Mrs Talwar left for Fortis Hospital. The parents returned home in the evening. Nupur said they had food and watched television together like any other family.
The doting father had just received a digital camera he had ordered for his daughter - much more fancy than the one she had asked for. It was an early birthday gift. A little before midnight, Rajesh reportedly sent out emails from the computer in Aarushi's room and mother and daughter chatted. Then they all went to sleep.
That night, Aarushi was murdered in her bed. Her parents, who slept in the next room, say they heard nothing over the sound of the air-conditioner.