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She held out her hand; I couldn’t wait to hold them. But just a handshake will have to do for now. I didn’t wish to overwhelm her.

He shook my hand very ceremoniously. He must do this a lot. It was firm and formal. It is but normal. I nodded as we shook hands. I hated handshakes.

“We’ve gathered here in solidarity with women, men and children living in these lands. We wish to not be oppressed by the State no more. Fight, we won’t. Unite, we will,” a voice blared.

It would be a shame to die in a lathi charge today, I thought. I have only begun to realise what my life’s goal is. Direction that I have been craving finally materialised. Even if it was a distant voice and a feeble light. Their struggle would not go waste. I looked over to see him focussed on the voice. He was absorbed, too.

I caught her glancing towards me. The movement had just begun. The cause brought me closer to people that lived their ideals, their passions. Not just her.

“We stand today and we will continue to stand here in a silent protest, refusing to tolerate these injustices. We will grow as people from across the lands of Kaila here about our struggle. Patience. Dedication. Determination. I ask these of each of you here,” the voice continued.

It seemed simple. But it was a lot to give. I looked around me. Nobody retreated. That gave me the reassurance I needed.

“Don’t look for external reasons to stay,” he whispered.

I was baffled he had read my mind. I nodded solemnly. He had a point.