THE crowd waiting for the Naha-Kola route became agitated on Monday when bus operators decided to take the much shorter route of HTC- Talise or HTC-SDA route.
I checked the pocket in my pants and found a single $50 note.
As a matter of protest against these short customer-ripping routes, I refuse to take a short-bus route after work, even if I can afford to take three buses before I reach home.
It is my way of sticking up to these greedy bus operators by applying what Indian greatest leader, Ghandi, did to the British many decades ago in his homeland of India.
There is difference though between Gandhi’s protest and mine: Gandhi protested against a foreign occupying force while I protest against my own fellow citizens ripping me and countless bus commuters off with their crazy short-bus routes while charging the same standard bus fare!
Finally a bus conductor called out the Naha-Kola route via Kola Ridge.
I joined the crowd trying to get in.
About 30 or so of us were competing for those precious 15 dirty and rusty seats.
As a fit and abled-body person, I managed to navigate my way around the crowd and find a seat right at the end of the bus; a skill practiced and rehearsed many times over since the short-bus route was introduced.
Next to me in the bus was a lady in her 60s from somewhere in the northern region of Malaita.
She did not smile or looked happy so I ‘kind of’ wonder what was wrong.
I expected her to be joyous, all smiling and looking forward to get home since we had been waiting for close to an hour for a Naha-Kola bus.
At the front of the bus, there was still competition for those remaining 10 seats or so.
I sat down and was looking for a three dollar coins in my back bag when she said something that I would not forget in my life.
“Son, the wedding vow,” she said to me in a north Malaita accent.
Confused, I just stirred at her point black wondering what the heck she was referring to.
Of course I know the British decided to build our mental health hospital at Aoke but I did not detect anything wrong with her.
She repeated the same words again. I soon realized that her husband of some 40 years was struggling to get into the bus.
“Matron, you wantim younger blong you fo kam insaed long bas?” I politely inquired.
She noted her head and said: “Yeah son. My wedding vow says ‘in good or bad time, we shall be together.”
She then was about to pick her bag filled with market produces and headed out to join her husband when I asked her to sit down.
I told her that I would be more than happy to wait for the next bus. I invited her husband over to take my seat.
Some passengers saw me heading to the exit and wondered what was wrong with me.
I told one whom I have come to know because we seem to take the Naha-Kola bus often that I was making way for a husband because of the “wedding vow”.
“Oh yeah, hem applae long bus too?” she said. Well, if it did not, it surely was applied this Monday!
I took a taxi home but to my surprise the “wedding vow” couple got off at the same bus-stop I told the taxi driver to let me off.
She came over and thanked me for the gesture but also asked me what I did for a living. I told her I was schooled in law.
“Oh ufala lawyers kaen tumas,” she remarked.
I disagreed. I told her that her submission by quoting her wedding vow was more than enough to convince me to rule in her favor by vacating my seat for her husband if I was a judge.
What the lady did was to apply the “wedding Vow” in a more practicable situation.
Luckily she did not ask me if I still remember my wedding vow.
I wish them another 40 years of hapi marriage.
By ANDREW D. MUAKI
A more practicable application of the wedding vow