Here’s the next instalment in the first chapter of Sangharsha. By the way, the word is in Hindi and, when translated, means “Struggle”.
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“Karan! Karan! Are you all right?” Varun’s concerned voice filled the empty street, the entrance to M.G. Road. Karan was down on the pavement, convulsing with what appeared to be a seizure.
Varun shook the boy, trying hard to bring the boy back into the world of sanity. It took some work, and water from Varun’s bottle, to bring Karan out of his fit. Once Karan realized where he was and what had happened, he turned into a sobbing mess, hugging his knees and burying his head in them.
“Did you relive it again? Varun asked. Not waiting for a reply as he already knew the answer, Varun continued, “God Karan! How long has it been? Two months? You can’t live like this, dude. I’m taking you to Dr. Gupta first thing tomorrow.”
“No,” was Karan’s hasty reply.
“I’m not hearing any…”
“I said, NO!” Karan shouted, wiping his tears with the back of his hand. “All she’ll do is tell my parents and pester me to go to the police.”
“She’ll be doing the right thing then. You should go to the police.”
“And what good would that do?” Karan asked sarcastically. “It’d just add more people to the list of those blackmailing me. The only difference would be that the ones in uniform can ruin everything. Ravi and his gang, I can deal with. Not the police.”
“You’re obviously not dealing with this the right way, Karan. I can’t stand seeing you like this anymore.”
“Varun, right now I need a friend more than anything else. Please be a good one and drop this topic. It’s quite late, you should go home. As a matter of fact, so should I.”
Karan got up and brushed the dust from his clothes. He didn’t notice the look of exasperation and pity laced with defeat washing over Varun’s face. Avoiding looking into his friend’s eyes, Karan said a quick goodbye and turned to enter M.G. Road.
With a deep breath and a firm jaw, Karan prepared himself for what lay in between his home and himself – the dark road and its shadowed people.
* * * to be continued * * *