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I can see the bus closing in and I can also see that it’s empty; I get myself mentally prepared to take that long bus ride home sitting instead of fighting it out with the handle bars. But, as the bus stops and I fight my way into the smelly, sweaty, sticky crowd; trying to avoid body contact as much as possible (i don’t like my flesh touching anybody else’s flesh) I get on the bus to witness the most outrageous act I could imagine anyone doing to me! Every place that appeared empty had a cloth on it. It wasn’t an expensive cloth or anything and it didn’t have anybody’s name on it but the person sitting next to it made it seem that it was some special seat which no one else could sit on but their friends and co-traveler. They made it appear that the little piece of cloth was the saving grace to their relationships with their loved ones. My fat ass could’ve easily replaced that little piece of cloth, yet for some reason I stood there being beaten to pulp mentally by a ragged piece of CLOTH!! My fast legs beat those people but I didn’t have a friend who would beat the rush and save me a seat. “No, you can’t sit here. This seat is taken.” “Sorry, my friend is sitting there.” “My wife will be sitting here.” “My children have had a long day.

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Damn you people!! I had a long day too. I had to change 2 buses before this one to get here and yes I’m tired as hell but no, your friendship seems to have trumped my fatigue. Yes, you can take that seat.

I luckily find one seat which didn’t have a cloth on it and sit through my long bus ride home. I was furious initially and as I slowly let the anger subside, I stared at all those people who were travelling together from work and college probably. They weren’t really friends, most of them and if you listened in on their conversation (you have no business to judge!) you can tell that they’re not really close friends either yet, it seems to come as some kind of protocol to save the place next to them so that they can travel together.

I was brought back to school days when I used to take the bus with a friend and I couldn’t for the life of me remember such an incident when I had saved her a seat or that she had done the same for me. Does that mean that we weren’t good friends?! That can’t be true because we’ve known each other since we were 4 yrs old and despite our differences, we’ve always been thick. This act of saving the seat was something sacred that I suddenly felt bad that I hadn’t done it for her. What kept me from doing it, I wondered. Was it the public declaration of our friendship or was it the angry eyes and muffled curses which would follow?!

I was then brought back to earlier days when we were much younger and we used to save a seat for our friends in the van which used to take us to school. The innocence with which we’d announce that no one was to sit there because a friend of ours was getting on in a few minutes. There it was, friendship at it’s purest level when we didn’t give heed to peoples’ curses and were absolutely ignorant of the angry eyes, those simple days when friendship was a lot more than a name to invite to a dinner party.

I smiled a little then, staring at all those people whose innocence beat me to that seat and it made me hurt a little that I didn’t have a friend with me who would go to such lengths and who I could do the same for at any moment given in time. Who would’ve thought that a piece of cloth would teach me the act of FRIENDSHIP. It just goes to show that there is a lesson to be learnt in everything, if you’re just aware.

Friendship is saving a seat for her on the bus, despite the angry eyes you get from the other travelers.” – Me

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