“27 year-old Manju, mother of three, inched carefully towards the makeshift door as it barely managed to stand between her family and the barrage of brickbats and abusive threats that were being hurled by the armed assailants outside.
The provocation? A couple of days ago, her husband, young Advocate O. P. Dixit, had scored a major victory in a property case against a party of strongmen. Unbeknownst to him, they were actually related to him.
Back in the 1980s, pleading a case against one’s next of kin was easily considered a major betrayal and a justified cause for revenge, in the district of Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh. Two days after the victory, in the dead of a freezing January night, the losing party arrived in enough numbers to serve it hot with sharp and blunt weapons, and years of practice of such visitations.
But they had not taken into account one crucial factor - Manju Dixit, the lady of the house, Double Masters of Arts, and top-notch N.C.C. cadet. She had spent years pedaling her Hero 22 inch heavy frame bicycle for a daily average of over 30 kilometers, to college and back. She was built of steel nerves and iron mind.
When the assailants started the attack, warming up by abusing her husband loudly, she quickly switched off all the lamps in the house and climbed the roof, to check their strength and numbers. The assailants were by now confident of having scared the family. They stopped for a moment only to rest and ready themselves for round two – the final round they planned to have with the family.
When the attack started again, she lit up one lamp in the outermost room, positioned her husband so that his shadow fell on the grill-protected glass panes of the outermost window, and waited. Then came the moment of truth. The strongest and heaviest of the assailants charged at the doors. Just as he was about to hit the doors with his bulk, they opened. He only had time to see a pair of strong legs that hit him right in the middle of his chest. The next minute he was flying through the air and shrieking for dear life. Using the two doors as support, Manju had jumped delivered a two-legged kick with all the strength and power of an aircraft carrier.
When they heard one of the assailants screaming for his life, the neighbours built up enough courage to venture out, and intervene. Enthused by Manju’s example, they tried out all their favourite punches and kicks on the party of assailants. Eventually the police arrived and the hooligans were not arrested but insulted enough to never return again.
For several hours after that, a lot of men and women sat discussing the game-changing kick over endless cups of hot tea made by Manju. They were convinced, at least on that night, that education was, after all, not such a bad thing for girls and it should involve at least some instruction in shooting .12 bore shotguns too. ”