Monday, 1 April 2013

The bridge on the way to work....

    The greatest optimism in building bridges, is that they are built without hoping that the water will go away.

Simone got off a couple of stops earlier at the bridge, on the way back home. She moved from the busy main bridge to a quiet spot on a parallel unused one and stood there with her arms on the railing, gazing into the distance. It had been an especially hard day at work, one of many such days in recent times and this was her oasis of calm in the big, buzzing city.

As she felt the cool breeze on her face, she reflected on how differently things had turned out from what she had thought it would be. The big dreams of her student days had been contained by the box-sized cubicles, the intellect was wasted in ridiculous wasteful exercises, the boistrous enthusiasm tamed by the formal business attire, close friends had become virtual entities, relationships with family was strained on several counts and liesure had  diminished exponentially as the pay check increased. Following your calling seemed over-rated, and listening to your heart, seemed like the domain of the impractical and irresponsible. But something certainly needed to change. That is when the water and the bridge inspired her.


Building the bridges:  There is the utopian and there is reality and the two are unlikely to ever merge completely. This is true for most people, in relationships, in jobs, in big and small negotiations; in fact, in most aspects of life. It is easy to be lost in all dissatisfactory real states, with an army of real sounding reasons, of why these states cannot be altered. Perhaps that is true, perhaps the states cannot be radically altered. But when all these reasons fall apart, there emerges a possibility: Are there no bridges that can be built?

The most obvious thought when we think of building bridges are between two people. With time many seemingly significant fall-outs can start to seem small. But if the bridges are never built, the relationship will stay in an indefinite state of discord. Simone picked up the phone and called her close friend of college years and following initial trepidation and some hesitant apologies, very soon they were chatting about the good old times.

But bridges can be built not just between two people, but between just about any desirable and undesirable circumstance: between money-earning endevors and passionate interests, between firm opposing views, between the most desirable and the not-so-desirable outcomes and between the day job and what you long to do. The starting point is just to think about what bridges you wish to build.

Let the water be: The greatest optimism in building bridges, lies in the fact that, they are built without hoping that the water will go away. Wisdom then is in accepting that, if the terrain were to become acceptable, there would have been no need for a bridge at all.

When Simone picked up the phone to build bridges with her friend, the points of past disagreement did not change. The water continued to flow. The opposing beliefs and points of view did not vanish. But what she established was a working relationship, going from the point of discord to mutual understanding.

The trials and frustrations of the day job, will only become more bearable if you have something else to look forward to doing. The outcomes of a situation will not always be the most desirable, but they can still be in the middle ground of acceptance. So, accepting differences in states and beliefs is as essential to the success of a bridge, as the building them.


As for Simone, I see her when our paths cross. Sometimes she is standing on the bridge on her way back from work. But on most occasions, she is on the virtual ones, with friends and family, at the painting canvas and on the conscious occasional vacation from work.