It was an evening in January this year when I decided to call up my naanu( grandfather). Unbeknownst to both of us, it was one of our last proper conversations on phone. It was a time when the farmers were coming from all over to Delhi to protest the new farm laws that had been passed by the government. I was engaged in having discourse with my friends and parents about the protest, and I was disappointed to see that a lot of them were not in support of the farmers. When he picked up, I asked him how he was, and how Kanpur was, as I always did. A few minutes later, the conversation turned to politics, and I asked him:
"To kya opinion hai aapka farmers' protest pe" ("What are your opinions on the farmers' protest?")
He simply replied with "Simple. It's give and take."
I was a bit confused and I asked him about it. He said:
"Isn't that what every protest is? A way to make the government realise that you aren't happy with their decision. You make them see the mistakes in their decisions, and they try to change their decisions so that every party is happy. It's always a comprise"
"Oh. Thank god, at least you don't believe that this protest is anti-nationalist"
"A protest can never be anti-nationalist. Protest hai tabhi toh democracy hai (Democracy itself is a protest). And when you have a government like this, even living and pointing their mistakes out is a protest..."
13th May. The evening after he passed away, me and mom were talking about him, when mom told me about how his friend was the leader of the labour union of the government banks in the days when naanu was a treasurer, and naanu was actively involved in both protests to higher authorities and conflict resolution with people who worked under him, and I could not help but remember that conversation. We ended up talking about how his nature to protest every thing he felt was wrong never left him even after he retired, and how he protested over the dalia being fed to him in the hospital when he was recovering from his second heart attack, and how much fun we made of him for that later. I'll always remember him as a man who was knowledged and understanding, and one who wasn't afraid of asking for what he deserved.