The Bridge Across

Dhania and Shanaja were sisters who were born two years apart. They were inseparable, more so as the younger one, Shanaja had the responsibility of taking care of her Dhania, who was a special child. They lived in their ancestral village with their parents, and it was a common sight to see the 12-year-old Shanaja holding the hands of her elder sister, guiding her everywhere.

The girls would go to school every day, for which they had to cross a long wooden bridge over a mountain river. Shanaja always led the way while Dhania would hold on to her hand as if her life depended on it. She was terrified of the intensity of the turbulent waters that flowed below them, but she knew that with her sister, she was always safe.


In the village school, Dhania was allowed to sit in Shanaja’s class. She was promoted each time with her sister on humanitarian grounds. Shanaja was the star pupil of the school, and after completing her high school in which she topped in the whole state, her parents sent her to the city for further studies. They knew it would be very difficult for Dhania, but they wanted their younger daughter to follow her dreams of becoming a scientist.

Dhania would keep waiting for her sister to return home during her vacations. Those were the only time she smiled. Then one day, almost three years after Shanaja had left for the city, Dhania never woke up from her sleep. Her sister was devastated, and her pain made her focus stronger on pursuing her aim in life.

Almost two decades passed, Shanaja who was now a well-known scientist working for a leading research institute in Europe, met with a car accident resulting in a severe head injury. She was rushed to the hospital and was in coma for 21 long days. On the 22nd day, when she gained consciousness, she had an incredible experience to tell her family. She said all through the days she was in coma, she could feel her sister, Dhania, holding her hands crossing a long, almost never-ending bridge. She was never afraid as her sister was with her, guiding her. While in life, it was always Shanaja who held Dhania’s hand leading the way, at the threshold of death, she believed that her sister had led her back to life.

After she recovered, Shanaja went back to her ancestral village in India, and stayed there for many months. Every day she would spend a few hours at the bridge hoping to catch a glimpse of her sister. She never did, but by now she had understood how true bonds of love go beyond life and death.

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