Building the bridges

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A bridge requires thousands of hands to build, but a relationship requires only two hands.

Last week, I took my wife for a long drive to visit our relatives who stay on the outskirts of the city.  Bangalore is known for its traffic snarls and driving in the city is always a tiresome task.  One often feels it better to hire a cab or travel by the hi-tech Volvo buses that are available.  When I started my car, I was mentally prepared that the next two-hour drive would be more of an ordeal and that I should remain cool-headed, no matter what happened.  I was more worried about one specific junction that I had to cross.  For over a year, construction of an overbridge was on, putting the commuters to a lot of hardship – inhaling the dust and taking too much time to cross.  As I was nearing that spot, I prayed and hoped I could pass that spot sooner.

My wife, who commutes daily crossing this junction, to her workplace, told me that the overbridge had already become functional and there were no more blockage.  She was correct, the junction looked so empty and the overbridge majestically stood as if with the expression, ‘I am ready, happy to serve you.  Happy journey!’  Seeing it, my joy knew no bounds and pressing the accelerator, I crossed the junction in less than a minute, which I thought would otherwise take more than twenty minutes.

As I crossed the bridge, a wonderful thought passed my mind and gave a new perspective to the way I looked at my relationships.  Huge investment of resources, effort and time had gone into the construction of this bridge.  When it was under construction, so many people would have cursed themselves for having to cross that point, so many would have taken alternate routes, some would have felt that the bridge was unwarranted, some others would have criticised the government for improper planning and corruption.  It is but normal human tendency to look at today’s hurdles, than tomorrow’s strides.  Today the same people, who struggled earlier to cross that junction and made all criticisms, zoom past the bridge.  The time saved per commuter may look minuscule compared to the huge efforts and investment that had gone into the construction of the bridge.  However, the overall time saved for thousands of commuters and the peace of mind they get cannot be measured in monetary terms.

How different are our relationships as compared to my experience of the bridge?  Most of our important relationships need to be built just like the bridge.  Firstly, it is commonsense to understand that it takes time to build a solid relationship.  The fundamental ingredients of a strong relationship like acceptance, trust, understanding, forgiveness and love take a long time to be built.  The bridge has to be built despite the dust and the mess around the place of construction.  Rain or shine, the construction has to keep progressing for the cement, sand and iron to finally become a bridge.  Similarly, efforts have to be made constantly, despite anger, ego or misunderstandings between individuals to unite and to remain a relationship of a lifetime.

Just like a few commuters, we could choose to avoid the mess in a relationship and look at alternate routes.  This might help on the road; but in the journey of life, the longer we avoid difficult situations, the wider would become the gap in relationships.  Whether it is building bridges or relationships, criticisms are bound to be there.  But the successes lie in turning deaf ears to senseless criticisms and remain focused on building what is important.  One should neither be carried away, nor lose focus because of unwanted suggestions, unreasonable expectations and uninvited comments during a rough phase in a relationship.  No matter how much noise is created, whether it is the bridge or the relationship, it has to be built.

There may be time overrun in constructing a bridge.  People would continue to suffer during that extended period.  But at the end the bridge turns out to be a boon.  Building each relationship too needs different time span.  Sometimes it is sooner than expected; sometimes it is just as expected, sometimes longer and sometimes much longer, making the wait unreasonable.  No matter how much time it takes, those who are happy in a relationship today are those who forgot their watches and watched the relationship grow with love and understanding.

A poorly built bridge can harm several lives and a weak relationship can break many hearts.  A bridge requires thousands of hands to build, but a relationship requires only two hands.  Two hands to hug the other person and express your love and care at all times.  Two hands to wipe the tears of agony and to assure that you are always there to comfort and help.  Two hands to hold each other and walk the journey of life, irrespective of the ups and downs, good times or challenging moments.  Two hands that join while you dance in joy, with the most important person of your life, like there is no tomorrow.  Two hands that come together to express the unity of spirit that exists beyond all differences.

Every time you see a bridge being constructed, just enjoy the experience.  Despite your discomfort, cribbing, hurry, or criticism, the bridge will be built one day and you will be on top of the world while you happily travel on it.  Every time you are having difficulties in a relationship, just enjoy the learning in the process.  Your tears, disappointments, or frustration should never interrupt the growth of the relationship.  No bridge can be constructed in a day and so is a relationship.  Wait patiently and give all the effort it requires.  If not today, tomorrow and if not tomorrow, the day after; but you are sure to enjoy the drive someday.  How many bridges have you built in your life?  How many relationships have you bridged successfully?  Be the best architect of your life!  Build your bridges happily; for you know that the process is difficult, but the journey is blissful!

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