There is always a bridge, be it physical, mental or human that connects two parts, two land masses of two people. If not for that bridge they will forever remain separate.
When I say I am connected, I am mostly through the WWW, the Wicked Wide World of internet. My smartphone, tab, laptop are all loaded with email, Facebook, Twitter, Viber, Whatsapp and what not. What is sadly missing here is the human connect.
During my childhood, we never thought twice about suddenly popping into a relative’s house just because we happened to be free and wanted to while away some time with a cup of coffee and something to munch on. Today we need to check with them before visiting. The impromptu fun is lost.
Summer vacations meant an entire month or so spent in your grandparents’ house or your uncle or your aunt. Your favourite dishes would be prepared, visits and trips organised and most importantly there would be that feeling of family and belongingness. Vacations today mean a trip abroad or a stay at a resort or a road trip.
We meet our cousins only during weddings or funerals, if it is convenient for us to attend them. Our next generation kids are almost strangers because they are either too busy with their schools or their careers or they live abroad. Blame it on distances.
We are always busy these days. Busy studying, busy working, busy with something or the other but with no time for social and familial occasions…
I realised the importance of the human touch or connect during my wedding. Though my father disappeared from our lives when I was a kid, my mother maintained contact with all her in laws. She never missed any functions in their families. When I got married, my father’s entire family except the man himself was there to stand behind her and extend their support. That she was a part of their family and will always remain so was made abundantly clear. She goes to my father’s native place once a year with all his siblings and cousins to visit the temple and spend some time. Most of them made it to my daughter’s wedding too.
My mother like the others in her generation, always finds the time to pick up the phone and talk to her cousins, nieces, nephews, in laws and friends. She knows about every birth, death, marriage, illness, graduation in their families. She tries to share in their happiness and sorrows either over telephone or by visiting them. I hear about all of them from her. Most of it doesn’t register in my mind and I make the appropriate ahs and ohs and oohs when she is talking to me, while I am thinking about other things that to me are more important.
A simple phone call to say hello and ask after their wellbeing is almost therapeutic. A text message is good but lacks a personal touch.
With growing age and increasing maturity, I now understand what she has been trying to do. My mother was and still continues to be the bridge that connects me with the others in the circle of our family and friends. I would like to carry on what she has been doing all these years.
This bridge, however rickety it might be, ensures that you get across to the other bank. It simply connects. That we have driven over this makeshift road bridge on our way from Buchanan to Yekepa and lived to tell the tale is a story for another day.
So why not be the human bridge and connect people?