For the first time in a long while, we had the windows of our van open; an unlikely gesture for a bunch of tourists in Kolkata these days. But the setting Sun on Howrah Bridge never fails to allure travellers in the search of the picturesque. Clouds owned the sky but the encroaching Sun shined amongst them; made his mark. As I turned my head forward; I saw the slowly illuminating, unexplored world. There I had new buildings, new sights, new adventures and countless possibilities emerging whole-heartedly. Then I looked back and watched my known realm drift away. And then an old question popped up-
“When on a bridge, when exactly do you step out of one end and enter another… When do you leave the old world behind and move into the new one… At what point do you cross over… When, exactly?”
In Mumbai there are bridges connecting the east and the west sides of a precinct. As a kid, while coming back home I used to count the steps while climbing up and coming down. I knew the bridge so well that I would stop at one particular point and I knew, that after this point, I would cross over. I used to stand with my legs wide apart and claim of being at two places at once. I had the best of both the worlds.
But not all bridges have traffic flowing from both ends. Oh, not the conventional ones, but others. The smoke comes out of a cigarette, but never goes back in. When a vase breaks, the pieces cannot be put back together. A butterfly cannot go back in the cocoon it came from. And that’s what makes the halfway point so important! There is no turning back! The point when you are just about to cross over but you haven’t, yet.
Imagine the moment, 98o degree Celsius, when water prepares itself to sublime into vapour, but it has not changed yet. There is so admirable vibrancy over there, so much energy, so much potential. One simply cannot understand such an event unless he experiences it. And that’s why I do understand it,right now!
Here I stand, exactly halfway across the bridge, when I’m about to enter the final year of schooling and I know that my education has merely begun; I feel like a bird, standing on the ledge and about to take his very first flight. I am as scared as a kid would be when he had to leave his world, his mother, behind to enter a new world. I am as excited as butterfly to break free from the cocoon.
I am going to keep the windows open now; it is about to dawn on me. As I turn my head forward, I see a slowly illuminating, unexplored world. There I have new buildings, new sights, new adventures and countless possibilities emerging whole-heartedly. When I look back I have my past, slowly drifting away. I am a boy on the start of a long journey whose conclusions are uncertain. And I hope.., I can make it across the bridge.