A Summer of Two Bridges

Can you believe Summer of 2016 is over? I can’t. For one thing it passed too quickly. The other is, with weather patterns changing as weirdly as they are, it is still hitting 97 degrees this week, so it’s almost impossible to believe summer is over.

But the schools have opened and the kids are out of the pools and back in their new classes so . . . ready or not, fall won’t be far away.

How has your summer been? Good, great, awesome?

Mine has been unbelievable. This summer has taken me across three continents, six countries, and over 20,000 miles. That’s what kept me away from the blog (although working on the novels didn’t stop for more than a day).

So, what did I do exactly?

Thanks to LEGO, I have a budding bridge enthusiast at home. Earlier this summer, we built a model of the Tower Bridge and guess what?  Curious minds turned even more curious (what were you thinking, Mom?) Since London was smack dab in the middle of my travel plans and since we needed to manage that darned jet-lag, we stopped to say hello to our friends across the pond. And good planning always pays off — I managed to grab front-row view of the bridge lift, YEAH! The fish and chips and beer at the pub right under the bridge was not planned, but that turned out perfect as well.

But the heart of my summer was visiting the city of my birth, Calcutta (Kolkata, now), after quite a long time. Trips to India are always something else, but this time it was even more special because my daughter was with me on her first visit to the country.

It was funny how quickly the six weeks flew past. It was strange how easily my daughter felt at home. It was unbelievable how meeting friends after decades felt like not a day had passed since we left high school.

Some things never change, and yes, Calcutta of twenty years ago is pretty much the same now. There’s still an electrifying joie de vivre among the sweltering masses that I’ve never felt anywhere else in the world,  there’s still the oh-so-amahzing food at every street corner, and an hour-long thunderstorm still leaves the city waterlogged.

Some other things don’t change either. When as a little kid I’d visit Calcutta with my parents, I used to be in awe of the Howrah Bridge (that picture on the left up top). My eager eyes would linger on its silhouette for as long as they could. Back then, it was the mightiest thing I had seen in my young life.

My daughter has seen much more–prettier and grander things–than I had at her age. But when I noticed her eye light up as she saw the mammoth structure spanning the mighty Ganges, I realized something else. It’s not just cities that stay the same, the pure and simple joy of being amazed by the awesome also stays the same across generations no matter how many more bridges (larger or more famous) the new generation has grown up seeing. I know this memory of viewing the Howrah Bridge will remain with my daughter forever just like it has with me. For that one shared feeling alone, this summer has been out of this world.

Here’s to making new  memories and reviving old ones!

S.G. Basu is an aspiring potentate of a galaxy or two. She plots and plans with wondrous machines, cybernetic robots, time travelers and telekinetic adventurers, some of whom escape into the pages of her books. Once upon a previous life on planet Earth, S.G. Basu trained to be an engineer, and her interest in science and her love of engineering shows up time and again in her books.

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Posted in thoughtful thursdays

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