Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Of a little girl and her fascination for dams and bridges!

Once upon a time, in a crowded city in the middle of nowhere, there was a little girl who dreamt of dams and bridges. At her age, computers were a recent rage and everyone wanted something to do with it. But the little girl was fascinated by the alignments, the structural diagrams, the sluices and the gushing torrents of waters. When she expressed her wish to be a civil engineer, the same was rubbished by all the knowledgeable people around. Engineering after all was not for girls. She was expected to refine her thought and expression by studying literature, and history and political thought and likes. Not that the rebel in her accepted the choice before her entirely, she could do little to realize her dream of civil engineering.  She charted her path in alternate territories, became conventionally ‘successful’ but her heart jumped each time she saw the beautiful aqueduct colonial bridges and barrages which dotted her professional world.

A magnificent barrage with eleven sluice gates

Years later, passing by these wonders in brick and stone, she often thought (and still thinks) if life would ever afford her an opportunity to sit for hours along a river/canal and marvel at the shape and form of these structures. She envied the village kids (and even cattle) that swam freely and had the fortune of living in vicinity of such marvels of engineering. One seldom realizes the power these structures wield on the lives of thousands who possibly do not even acknowledge their existence.

Fortunately for her, her alternate ‘territory’ gave her ample scope to gaze and study and understand these structures to her heart’s content. The reservoirs, the rapids and even the abandoned canals beckoned her everywhere. Foolish as it often sounded, she expressed her curiosities and sought logic and explanations from anyone who could furnish the same. Often she stumbled upon fascinating stories associated with these. Perhaps life has an invisible law of compensation. Even her ‘alternate’ choice occasionally gives her rare moments to relive her dream.

Even if she did not get to build the bridges per se, in the words of T D Jakes, she likes to imagine herself as “a bridge builder, building bridges between people, between races, between cultures, between politics, trying to find common ground.” For all the bridges and dams she has spent secret hours gazing astonishingly at, she nurtures a wish of being able to look up the stars while standing atop a magnificent bridge.