I’m on my way to Samsun but I have to make a quick stop at my friend’s house in Istanbul. It only takes two and half hours to reach Istanbul from where I stay but because of heavy traffic, this time it has taken me 3 hours to reach the Istanbul bus station; Esenler.
Istanbul is a really very big city which makes it easy for people who are directionally impaired like me to quickly get nervous. But when it comes to Esenler, there is at least good news for folks who are incapable of figuring out the difference between East and West. The good news of course, is that Esenler sits on both short and long transportation systems. I like calming my confused brain when I reach Esenler by mostly using the underground metro train: it’s efficient and mostly traffic free.
In this trip of mine, my friend explains that I have to take a metro train from the bus station up to Üsküdar. From there I ought to make sure I squeeze myself into one of those intracity metro buses. I passionately hate these buses because they have few chairs. Being a young man, almost everyone is brainwashed into believing that I have no orthopedic problems, therefore, if I am to reach my destination, Sültanbeyli, then I should by default stand.
With undeviating confidence my friend informs me on phone that this bus, E-11, takes ‘only’ 45 minutes to reach Sültanbeyli; my first destination before going to Samsun this night.
Of course, the bus is full and your guess is right, I am currently standing and worse still I have been informed that the almighty E-11 intracity bus will today take ‘a little longer’ than usual to reach Sültanbeyli. By a little longer, it’s meant like 1.5 to 2 hours more.
30 minutes have already passed but it feels like 5 hours. My rebellious lower back is on fire and I am sure if one of these old people knew what kind of pain I am experiencing now, they would with no doubt offer me a seat. But it’s OK, they seem more worn out than I am.
In front of me, on my left, there are two kids siting on the nearest two seats facing me. A girl around 12 years and the other, a rather troublesome-looking boy maybe around 9 years old. On my right, well, there are just a bunch of old people seated. Of course, among them are women not so old but who definitely have all requirements for sitting. So as you have guessed, my right side is not very interesting. Again I turn my pleading eyes in front of me, to my left. This time those youngsters are just unapologetically gazing back into my eyes. It’s undoubtedly awkward, and by the way; who designs these backward-facing seats? If the aim of such designs was to emotionally mock those standing, then mission accomplished.
Several minutes have passed and several not-so-good thoughts have come and left my head. My eyes are now fixed on the plasma display directly on top of the bus’s windscreen, trying not to miss my bus stop name as a list of several other names are being displayed. This does not please me at all because I seriously don’t care about these other bus stops.
Our beloved bus pulls up at one of these not-so-important stops, an old man with a cane enters the bus. I don’t see him pressing his electronic card to pay as he enters. He must be one of those retired military veterans or something like that. Here, in Turkey, such people don’t pay (so I heard). For few seconds jealousy plays with my mind for, as for poor me, I had to go buy a traveling city card and top it up with a fortune of my precious money (you know how poor some students can be) so that I could be a member in these back-wrecking machines.
Quickly the jealousy is replaced with pity. The old man seems to clearly have a hard time to even keep himself on his two feet. By the way, this man is supposed to use two canes…it’s really painful to watch him
Since over 95% of Turkish population is Muslim (at least that’s what some records show), thus, I have no doubt that one of these Islamically mannered people will give up their seat for this frail old man.To my horror, not a single soul of homosapien in this bus has yet stood up to give a seat.
I know it’s supposed to be universal, right? I mean…like the rule that suggests that youngsters should give up their seats to elders. I don’t ever remember reading this rule in a book but I think somebody told or taught it to me. I’m not sure, if not, then I think it might be some inborn common sense or something of that sort. Or maybe it is just anger caused by my lower backpain. Whatever, I have managed to gather my courage and then I tell this little girl to stand up for the old man (I think it can still be considered courage even if it’s towards the kids, right?). This time, with apologetic eyes, she says she is sick so she can’t. I then request the same from the boy sitting by the window and he fortunatelly concurs.
Then I call the old man who is now seemingly breaking down under his own weight. Everyone knows what’s going on by now. As the old man approaches his precious seat, another guy squeezes through and unceremoniously sits on it. Everyone is stunned.
We ,with horror, all gaze at this healthy looking man with demanding eyes. Demanding a reason for such un-Godly…, forget about God. We want to know the reason behind his inhumane action.
This man, shamelessly, raises his right hand and we, again, obediently look following his hand. After some few seconds of trying to figure out what this clown is trying to convey to us, I finally realize that this guy has no fingers. To be exact, he has no palm. Therefore, no fingers on his right hand (he seems to have perfect left hand though).
From our faces, it’s still noteceable that we are still waiting for his explanation on why he has sat on the chair instead of the white-haired grandpa.
Oh, crap; his hand is still raised. Now I get it; his missing palm seems to be the reason. This guy is so screwed that he shamelessly looks at us and dares telling us that he is handicapped. Handicapped? Are you kidding me? Some of us are missing the who appendix (and frankly, who knows what else is missing in/on our bodies;kidney, heart valves, portions of intestines, thyroid glands? Well maybe I have given too much). But to think that missing fingers can be used to grade a person below a sickly and frail old man is beyond my moral understanding.
Anyway, I can see some lady offering the old man a seat, God bless her.
After some hours I arrive at my bus stop, Çiftlik. Ladies and gentlemen, Even though I’m arriving with a very wrecked back but one thing still lingers in my head; the maltreatment of the old man.
I thought this is the land of Muslims? With all these bearded men and veiled women, why was it literaly back-breakingly hard to find a single seat of one old soul? If we pray and give alms then what benefit have these prayers and alms brought?… Manners? Certainly not good manners! But if not good manners, then what advantage and to whose benefit is this religion for? And is a religion whose adherents are mannerless still morally admirable?
God knows, we have wrecked this religion.