It was when Sid was just over a year old. We were in Dubai Airport. There was some delay and I was left with the onerous job of entertaining the baby. I found nothing that could entertain baby Sid, except for a row of three steel chairs in a corner.
I pulled baby Sid along and hoisted him up the steel chair. Baby Sid was stupefied. He gave out a loud baby sound and opened out his pudgy arms for me to grab him. I offered my hands and signalled for him to hold my fingers. As he clasped his tiny baby fingers around mine, I brought him closer to the edge.
“You are on the edge Sid. Hold Amma’s hand and you will be safe,” I said out to him as I watched his little feet dangerously close to the edge of the steel chair. “Edge”, Baby Sid repeated as he wriggled his whole self. I laughed.
“Now, you can jump on the count of three”, I laughed some more. Lil Sid waited. When he heard the word three, he lifted his little feet in the air and landed safely on the ground. He giggled deliriously and wanted to do it again. Somehow, he found it thrilling and he screamed, “more”.
After that morning, in the airport, Baby Sid continued to wriggle his whole body whenever he described an edge — edge of a cot, a chair, a table, anything. He would always call out for me, hold my hand and jump off the edge, fully aware that he was safe as long as I held him.
Edges always remind me of baby Sid wriggling his body. Not every one can wriggle and squeal excitedly like him. Sometimes, these edges can end up defining who we become.
The edge is just that, a thin line that demarcates the safe from the unsafe, good from bad, beautiful from scary. On a rare occasion, an edge can offer a new surface. But, most times, it is what it is — a thin line that can make or break anything.
I know the edge. It was where I found myself one late February morning. Till that phone call announced my whereabouts, I was blissfully unaware that I had been dancing too close on that extreme rim.
When I think back on that phase of my life near the rim, I shudder to this day. It was hard to keep my focus on that dangerous path — difficult to hold on steady or think clearly. All it probably needed was just a step or two towards the safe zone. But, the safety net seemed like an apparition. Could I just put my hand out and take that leap of faith? I wasn’t sure.
When I asked myself the question, I knew the answer because, there was simply no other way than to believe that, beyond the edge, there is a safe zone. And, then, I stretched my arms, took a deep breath and jumped with faith believing that, there would be a safety net.
When he heard the word three, he lifted his little feet in the air and landed safely on the ground. He giggled deliriously and wanted to do it again. Somehow, he found it thrilling and he screamed, “more”
The leap was not bad. It taught me a thing or two about life — I had to up my game and live my life. Yes, I knew every crack and crevice on that thin line of near finality but I had to cling to faith though at times, it was nearly impossible to see the light.
As life takes new turns, I see other edges, falls, safety nets that reminds me of my journey — the edge that changed my life, the edge that is the reason for what I have become. And, when things get scary, I picture little Sid gurgling away with his arms stretched and beckoning me to grab him. Somehow, that little detail instils a faith in me that beyond everything, there is a safety net for all of us.
— Sudha Subramanian is an author and freelance writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @sudhasubraman