Standing on the bus stop today at central silk board with my sister, waiting for our overnight bus to drop her off at her college in Manipal, I saw a young couple of my age hugging.

Hugging. Holding each other. Trying to casually smile off their impending separation and then hugging again. And again. Fiercely. Hoping to convey everything they feel in that one long squeeze of body warmth.

They looked so cute. Him. with his casually rumpled hair and her, with her blue shawl. There was nothing so unusual about them. But their longing and desperation stuck a chord with me, I knew how they felt. I felt my heart constrict with their pain and felt my own longing join them. How many times have I performed the same ritual? How many times have I felt that same heart wrenching desperation of not being able to be there always for the other person and how many times have I hugged with all I have, hoping to give enough warmth to impress a memory of it to be used in times of need?

In this age of globalisation when the world has come closer yet people are forced to be apart, a long distance relationship spread over years takes its toll on you. First of all, you have a very close relationship with your phone. And second of all, you learn to live with a constant sense of longing and prayer. Prayer, that the other person can feel your presence when they need it. Longing, to comfort your loved one in their sorrows and love.

And so much of it, that it almost breaks your heart.

The bus arrived just then and he hugged her again. She started getting on the bus. She looked behind. He ran back to her and gestured politely to the others behind her to board the bus first. I looked back from the top most step. He was looking into her eyes, as if trying to say, “its not gonna be too long, time will fly”, she had a brave smile spattered on her face for his benefit. They hugged again. Fiercely. She started towards the bus again, hands still in his. Their hands slowly slipped apart, reluctantly.

I turned forward with a sad smile, reached my seat and dialled a phone number hungrily waiting to hear the ring on the other side.