Of Bridges…

Have been thinking of bridges a lot lately, to the point where I’ve begun to feel like one! Do you know the feeling? If you’re living with or have difficult family ties, then you might. Ever since we moved in with my parents, I’ve felt like one, particularly in regards to Hubby and them. Although as the situation changes, so do the people on either side. Sometimes, it’s my Granny and my Mom on opposite sides or Mom & Dad or Mom and Me, in which case, there’s an abyss in between! I didn’t realize this before, but it’s a hard life for a bridge!

My parents as I’ve mentioned before are conservative and traditional. In Goan society that means, sons-in-law are like Gods, well maybe demigods! To be approached with caution and reverence that is often taken to extreme lengths. He is vigorously fed, endlessly pampered, always obeyed and never put in a spot! Most mother-in-law from my Mom’s generation rarely speak to their sons-in-law at all. I know for a fact that my Granny and my Dad never spoke to one another directly until a few years ago, and even then on rare occasions. Perhaps age has something to do with that! Mom is a ‘bridge’ herself, has been all these 44 years! All this means in my ménage de trios is a lack of direct communication between my parents and Hubby. As a result I function like a transmitter relaying information back and forth, feeling like a bridge that’s spanning the universe, connecting two entities that live on different planets nay galaxies 😛 Disregard that emoticon, I’m serious! So, my Mom asks me everything she needs to ask the Hubby and tells me everything she needs to tell him, which is almost exclusively food-related! “Will he be home for lunch, for dinner? Breakfast is ready! Does he need more tea? Has he eaten the new cake? I’ My Granny joins in (coz the more the merrier, eh?!), “Tell him to eat it while it’s hot!”, breakfast she means. This at the top of her voice, which he can hear perfectly.

Other stuff, the important stuff like what’s happening with his work and the like are NEVER broached with him EVER!! I’m asked these questions instead, to which I give vague, ambiguous answers, not out of a desire to hide but from a lack of knowledge! I know, I know! Some of you may raise a pretty eyebrow in disbelief, but it’s the solemn truth! Perhaps all you dutiful, lovingly involved spouses know exactly what’s up in Hubby’s work-life, I don’t. Never have, never will. It’s not out of negligence just disinterest (which is not as horrid as it sounds, so no hate mail please :P). I know the broad outlines of what’s happening of course and we discuss plans of action and the big picture together, but the minutiae bore me to death and I ignore them! Yes I know God is in the details, but mine is understanding and kind 🙂 besides which Hubby is the demon for detail 😉 To be fair, I do this with everything and everybody including myself! Unless it’s to do with something that I’m passionate about, which at the moment would be writing, books and a few other things, I don’t pay much attention. It works perfectly, coz we’re both the kind of people who work best when left to ourselves, but enjoy discussing progress or failure as the case may be, at regular intervals. Also, Hubby is rarely at home and what with Ishaan and everything else vying for our attention, it’s hard to get time alone or concentrate when we do! We’re very often so tired, we hit the bed already asleep, especially Hubby, for whom a late night is 10 pm 😉 (I’m being kind, sometimes it’s 9 pm :P). So, when Mom asks about his work, you can see how that might be difficult for me! It’s just another one of those little things that remind me how different their marriage is from mine.

When times are good, I still manage to hold my own and am an efficient conductor of this strange orchestra. When we hit a rough patch, is when things tend to slip out of control. I guess what I’m saying is that all this to-ing and fro-ing between individuals and trying to maintain a balance of sorts, wears me out and exhausts me and them. When we’re exhausted we get irritable and that makes everything worse. That’s what made me think appreciatively of bridges. I think they deserve much more credit than we give them – human & inanimate! Where would we be without either? Forever connected yet aloof; leading towards on end and away from the other; watching & recording history and on occasion making an important contribution, playing a vital role; bearing the burden of countless footsteps; they seem to symbolize my state in Life now. Yet I must always have and continue to be one, like we all are, connecting and dividing people by our thought, and actions and sometimes by our very existence.

This is something I wrote over the last couple of days. It’s been a while since a poem came to me.

The Bridge

Connector, divider, spanner of rivers,

A gateway, an entrance, a runway to tears.

A link in a chain, A cog in a wheel,

A path – weighted down by a million clicking heels.

London Bridge…My Favorite!

One foot here, another there,

Body suspended, trapped in mid-air.

Bringer of beginnings, journey’s end,

Traveler’s terror, voyager’s friend.

Frozen motion, standing still,

My existence is testament to human will.

The Brooklyn Bridge…a close second!

Built of timber, from sticks & stones,

From thoughts, from hope, from human bones.

From ideas and spirit, from wishes and sighs,

Comes the ethereal rainbow, in your sky.

In myth and in legend, are my stories told,

My foundations harbor secrets untold.

I’m famous, unknown, symbolic, enshrined,

Spanning centuries, hearts and minds.

Forces of nature, and human assault,

Victory, defeat, bested them all.

None of these yet all I am, or am I just Me?

Entwined, enmeshed, at once aloof,

Like that was meant to be.

Watching, waiting, standing tall

Connecting shores until I fall.

– Harsha

And I’ll leave you with my favorite ‘Bridge’ song. I love this live version by Art 🙂

Weekend coming up, People! Smile 🙂

11 thoughts on “Of Bridges…

  1. whoa! that was a beautiful post H! they’re coming so thick and fast, and my writing reflexes are so slow these days (winter, maybe?) that i can’t respond to them all in a timely way 🙂
    very cool metaphor, and i love the way you write and express yourself! some talent you have there.
    not only are you witty and funny, but you describe your situation so completely with just a few well-entwined paragraphs, it leaves me enthralled.
    and you do poetry too!! whoa!!

    1. You’re very kind M 🙂 All those compliments are in serious danger of giving me a swollen head 😉 I’m glad that you get my ‘funny’, coz that’s one of the hardest things in Life na? To find people with the same sense of humor? Winter maybe! But you can’t hold on to that excuse for long Girl 😛 I’m longing to read the good stuff 🙂 Especially after going through the stuff you posted on FB after Salman Taseer’s brutal assassination 😦 I have begun to read Ateesh Taseer’s, Stranger to History today. I’ve had it for a while but never got around to reading it. It feels strange reading about a son’s search for his father after the latter is gone.

      Write soon!!

  2. Great to meet you, Harsha! I love this post – and strength to you for continuing, with patience, to be the bridge across the divides. It must be exhausting and quite confusing, I can imagine.
    LOVE the photo of the familiar Tower Bridge in London – yay!

    1. Hey Sunshine!! You have no idea how happy just typing that makes me feel 🙂 Thanks for coming over and I hope you keep coming back! London is my absolute favorite city on the Planet and I totally envy you for being able to live there 🙂 The Tower bridge has such memories…going way back to the nursery rhyme e sang as kids…London bridge is falling down 🙂

      Cheers, Harsha.

  3. I’m right there with you, Harsha…I’m the bridge between Jim and my dad, and between my kids and Jim sometimes…it’s exhausting!

    Love the poem (and that’s one of my favourite Simon and Garfunkel songs!).


    1. From one bridge to another…Hang in there! Women so often land up with the bridge role, don’t you think? I guess it’s cause we’re the better communicators? But it is exhausting!

      Thanks for liking the poem 🙂

      Hugs, H.

  4. Great post, Harsha! This is really relevant to a lot of aspects in life – work, family – you name it. Someone always has to do the bridging. Just like the bridges in your photos, the people who fulfill this role stand tall, maybe out of necessity?

    Thanks for including the song, it played in the background while I was typing 🙂

    Stay strong.

    1. Thanks CM 🙂 (May I call you that?) I agree…most of us (and isn’t it odd that bridges are mostly women or is it?), stand tall out of necessity. It’s exhausting and yet I think the alternative is scarier, perhaps that’s why we persist.

      That song is one of my favorites 🙂

  5. I’m the opposite of your Mother. I ask my son in law some things before i do my daughter..i think it all comes down to who youd rather deal with. My daughter is not bad or mean – she just takes me wrong sometimes and my son in law seems to be calmer ( unless you talk about her in any bad way)..then he gets defensive.
    I introduced them 20 years ago when she was 18..and i thought they’d get along, even though he’s 7 years older. She refused to even think of ging out with anyone i wanted to fix her up with. so i simply invited him over for dinner..and it worked.

    1. You certainly are Connetta! My Mom is getting better about talking to Hubby, but she’s got a long ways to go! In India, especially with her generation, it’s more of a cultural thing. Being quiet and deferent is supposed to be a way of showing respect…never mind what you say behind closed doors! It gets my goat coz I’m can be honest to the point of being blunt at times, but I bear no malice and I can take as good as I give.

      Love that you fixed up your daughter and she hadn’t a clue 🙂 My husband is 6 years older than I am and I’ve always thought a girl needs a slightly older man to take care of her. I’m happy they’re happy 🙂

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