"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan

Vatsal was the brightest kid in her tuition class. He had an amazing capacity for logical and creative analysis but lacked focus and attention. The teachers at school and his elders at home could not get him to listen and, hence, they sought the service of the tuition teacher. The tuition teacher was a middle-aged lady who herself worked as a teacher in a school, and took tuitions in the evening.

It is quite a tiring job to manage today's hyperactive kids, yet like the other teachers she never skimped on her duties; and her involvement took its toll - her hairs greyed early and her face was crunched by wrinkles. She never saw any of her students as burdensome. Rather she loved the kids and their energy, and in their frank effervescence she found hope to live on.
Vatsal's admission into her tuition class was not merely an act of academic intent, there lay a sinister reason behind - the boy's father had been trying desperately to get to the teacher. He had been lusting after her for many years now.
The tuition teacher's family issues were known all over the neighbourhood. Her husband worked odd jobs and was out most of the time. He hardly brought any income home. It was upon her to make ends meet. Hence, she had taken up the tuitions to supplement her income, and Vatsal's father knew this weakness of hers. On several mornings he would stand by his balcony and watch her leave for work - her sullen face, drooped shoulders, and faded clothing were clear indicators to him that she was vulnerable. He had tried to bump into her a couple of times so he could befriend her and offer some help so as to exploit her weakness, yet she never fell into his trap. She wouldn't even let him complete the conversation and disappear into the house. For lack of a strong excuse, he could not follow her into the house.
Now, with the excuse of Vatsal's tuition he had found good reason to enter her domain.
He would personally drop his son to the tuition every day, and make it a point to stand at the door and ogle at her for long. Sometimes he would walk inside with the pretext of discussing Vatsal's homework and try to stand close to her while talking. Very often he would try complimenting her so as to break her stoic expressions, yet she always kept a wooden face towards him and his subtle approaches.

He would force the teacher to accept more fees than she asked. He sought to oblige her into submission that way. He would pay the fee in weekly instalments, and made sure he handed it over himself, clasping her hand in the process. He would try to bring her gifts on the pretext that his wife gave it for her. Once he got a pair of earrings and insisted that he would put it on her. She managed to escape his trap after a lot of excuse making and story-telling. Yet, he never relented, and came every single day at her doorstep with increasing intent and hunger.
A couple of times he had found opportune moments to grab her hand, and she was horrified if he would do something dirty. It was just by stroke of luck that she had gotten away. If he had indeed managed to force himself upon her, he could have easily gotten away as she had no courage or energy to seek punishment for him. Yet, she never let him see her frailty.
Her weaknesses were out in the open, but not her helplessness. She was a lone fighter with no backing or support. And she put up a brave face, so that people who knew her vulnerability would never realize her inability to defend herself.
After observing Vatsal's father's lecherous actions over many days, the considerate landlady questioned her, "Why are you continuing with that kid in your tuition? Can't you just expel that kid and stop his father from coming here?"
Tuition teacher lamented, "Madam, you know I need every penny. I cannot afford to drop students and reduce my income. My son's college fee is increasing next year."
The landlady still tried to help, "Okay, I understand. But just let that Vatsal go. His father has been a real asshole. I will reduce your house rent to accommodate that boy's fees."
Tuition teacher replied, "No madam. You don't need to reduce rent. I shall manage with Vatsal's father somehow. I can't drop that kid because he has a bright future. I see a lot of potential in him. I can't let his father come in the way of his success..." And both ladies retired to their homes.
Several years later, Vatsal graduated from college with the highest honours. At the medal ceremony, Vatsal was asked what was the secret of his success. And Vatsal replied, "It was sheer hard-work, blessings of God, and the effort of my parents, especially my father. I used to be a difficult kid in childhood but my father never gave up on me. He used to walk me to the tuitions everyday and stand there until I settled down. He even brought gifts for my teacher, which he hid from my mom, so that the teacher can give special attention to me. Today, my father is paralysed and bed-ridden, but for what he contributed in my childhood I give him all the credit for my success. Thank you!"