Strong or Weak?

The story of a humiliated underdog turning into a true hero. An entertaining story involving an angel mother, cruel step-father, family secrets, damsel in distress, action and happy endings.

Swollen red eyes, with a damp black and white photograph held in his bleeding hands, Kartik cried out his heart. 4 years. It had been 4 years since his mother died. Taking a little of happiness in his life and the remainder of humanity left in his father and brother. It had been years since he had friends, had smiled genuinely. Until his mother died. She accidentally fell from the stairs. However it was accidental to the society out there. She had committed suicide. He couldn’t blame her after watching her being beaten by his father. ‘Step father’. His real father ran away when he was small. Ran away afraid he wouldn’t be able to take care of them. His maternal grandmother married his mother off to another man who also had been married once but was divorced. So many dreams he had seen of having a rich life. A new father. A elder brother with whom he could play. Yet life proved to be no better. His new father had a temper problem. Also his new brother had it. His mother and he were the boxing bag for the two too strong men in the house. He often retreated to crying, pleading for mercy but his griefs were unheard to their inhuman ears. He was told to be strong. Crying was for the weak.

After his mother died, he did change. He stopped crying in the daylight. Emotions were resisted often until he was frustrated enough to take out his anger on anyone. He could not allow himself to bully someone to calm himself. This would make him no less mean and nasty than his step father ‘Girish’ or step brother ‘Rahul’. So he took a interest in martial arts. He could channelize his anger on something productive. He could learn being defensive. Determined as he was, he slowly became the strongest in the class. Yet irony laughed at his face. At home he still was considered weak. Knowing he could defend himself now, they didn’t hurt him physically. But mentally they never left a chance to wound him. Taunts about his father leaving them, weak mother were often thrown his side. He didn’t show his pain thinking they would stop taunting yet it was in vain.

“You coming down here for breakfast or should I drag you down?” Rahul screamed to Kartik.
“Try if you want to.” Kartik snickered.
“It is on our mercy you are staying here so watch before you speak.” Rahul countered.
“Such a pleasure it is.” Kartik grunted loud enough to earn his father’s glare.
“How’s your girlfriend Rahul? The one you brought here few days ago.” Girish asked.
“She is past. She was just time pass. Can’t stand their crying and all. Had enough from this crybaby.” Rahul replied referring to Kartik.
“Just like your father. These girls feel as if they own the world. They have to be kept under our feet or else they will fly away.” Girish replied.
           

***



Not wishing to encounter his ‘lovely’ family again for sometime, Kartik decided to has his dinner at a nearby restaurant. He had earned money by doing some part time jobs and winning some prizes in martial arts contests. He saved his money for such days and keeping in mind the life he has encountered he was more mature than most people of his age. Eating dinner at the cheapest restaurant outlet he could find, he left for home. Walking alone on the dark road, he felt peaceful. Halfway through the route he could hear screaming of a girl. This screams reminded him of her mother and he rushed towards the source of noise. Two men were trying to corner a women and it didn’t surprise him thinking what they were going to do. Not wasting another moment he rushed to help her and in any few minutes both of the perverts were knocked out cold. Without initiating any conversation with the girl, he left for his home again. After many years he felt satisfied. He felt he was complete. He couldn’t see any other girl facing the same as her mother and wanted to do anything to help them. He decided to teach self defense to vulnerable people, to make them fit to face the world and not be bullied by anyone. Busy in his thoughts he didn’t realise when he reached his home……oh sorry! His house. The day his mom died this was no longer his home but just a place where he lived temporarily.



Days went as they always went. Alone as usual he was, but now he had a purpose. To teach those who are weak to defend themselves. However he would need money more than he had and more than he could earn in another two years. Till then he had to implement plans to find people who need help and do it secretly as this plans should not reach the other occupants of the house.


For few days there were no fights until one day when Kartik was caught making posters for the defence school. Due to absence of money, he had stole some from Girish and had thought to return it after he earned it again. However there was no chance his mean father would believe this.
“You are no less than your mother,you sneaky thief.” Girish screamed at Kartik.


“Don’t you dare take her name.” Kartik screamed with the same intensity.

“It’s the truth, you can’t dodge it.” Girish smirked meanly.


“She was not a thief, it was her money too. She just took it from you.”

“She stole it in the dark hours of night.  Why do you think I pushed her to death.”


“What.” Kartik stared with a look of disbelief.


“It was no suicide. I killed your good-for nothing-moth…”

SMACK!!!


With all the strength he could summon,  Kartik punched his father. Knowing he was no match for his son, Girish lay at the corner of the room smirking. Packing all his belongings,  Kartik left the house promising himself to avenge his mother’s death.
With some of the money left, he took a bus from the bus stand. En route he felt as if he was being followed, but shirked the thought thinking no one would follow him. He left the bus after passing two stops at a bazaar. Thinking he could work for some shop for money he entered the bazaar. Roaming through the bazaar, he was suddenly pulled towards a dark alley by someone. He turned to look and saw a girl who looked familiar. He had seen her somewhere but couldn’t remember properly.

“Thank you first of all.” She beamed.
“For what and why have you pulled me here. And who are you?” Kartik asked utterly confused. 
“You don’t remember me?” She looked somewhat disappointed.
“No!”
“I am the one you saved from those perverts couple of nights before. “
“Oh.”
“Yes. You didn’t gave me a chance to thank you. You just left.”
“Yeah, I did.”


“Why.”


“I don’t know. I didn’t felt like waiting. “


“Okay. By the way where do you live.”


“Nowhere.”

“What do you mean?”

“Nothing, just forget it.”

“You should come to my house.”

“We don’t even know each other. How can you even think of bringing a stranger to your house.”

“I didn’t say we will be alone. My dad will be there, he would like to meet you.”

“How does he know me?”

“I told him everything. I always do. He is my everything. My life.  My priority. If he hadn’t adopted me, I would still be rusting in a orphanage. “

“You are a orphan too?”

“So are you?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. My father left my mother long ago so I dont know if he is alive or not. And my mother died few years ago.”

“Oh. Sorry for asking. You coming right?”

“How can I trust you?”

“Do you have another option?”

“No, to be honest.”

“Then follow me.”

Behind her, he chuckled a bit. He realized he smiled after years. Talking with her, he felt as if he had a family. She was somewhat similar to him. She seemed like a sister to him. Annoying yet cute. Although many years younger than him, she was quite bossy.

“I forgot to ask your name.” She spoke out of blue.”

“Kartik, and yours?”

“Riya.”

“How long we have to walk now?”

“Just reached.”

“Okay.”

Few minutes later, he came across a small bungalow. Coming out of the house was someone he had seen before. Someone he remembered brought him toys when he was small. Someone for whom Kartik cried when he was left alone with his helpless mother. Someone whose photograph he still had in his backpack kept carefully.

“Dad?” Kartik whispered.

“Kartik?”

“What are you doing here. You left me…you left us. How could you? We always waited for you to come back. You never thought about us?” Kartik broke down in tears openly after years.

“I did. After a week, I came back realising my mistakes. But I was too late. Your mother was married of to someone else and your new dad told you both were happy with him and I thought maybe he could keep you both more happy than I ever could have. You won’t believe maybe but I still regret leaving. To reduce my guilt, I adopted Ria and I i am taking care of her for years. But how did you find us?”
“I never knew I would meet you here. It’s a long story.”

In few hours he told all what happened with him from his dad’s departure to his mother’s murder to saving Riya.

“I am so sorry you had to face all this. It’s all my fault. I…I am going to put that moron behind bars. This is not finished. Please forgive me Kartik.” His father pleaded with teary eyes. Kartik knew it was genuine and decided to forgive him because he couldn’t afford to lose someone close again.

In a few days, Girish was put behind bars when he confessed the murder after the police officers beated him black and blue. Also Kartik could now fulfill his dreams of teaching those who are weak to defend themselves. He now had something he longed for all his life. A happy family. He knew strength doesn’t always mean physical strength but to not give up even after being knocked out thousands of times and weak are those who think of themselves as more dominant than others. For strength and weakness doesn’t lie in a person’s body but his personality.

Saif Madre

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