Borders

I have always been fascinated with borders, I mean a border between two countries. In my head, it was always something very dramatic. In my defence, I had heard a lot about Wagah border, the famous border between India and Pakistan which has a ceremony by the security forces which attracts a lot of tourists. So, in my imagination every border had to be equally or little more dramatic, almost like a Broadway act announcing the entry into a new country. But I had to wait for a long time before I crossed one by road to verify that.

The first one that I crossed was the Turkey Bulgaria border. It is known as the second busiest border crossing in the world. And hell ya, it was. It was a long queue to just cross over from one side to the other. We had read about how it takes couple of hours to cross this border but that day it took us almost 12 hours to cross over. It was a sunny day so first we sat in the car for a while, patiently waiting for the line to move but when that seemed next to impossible, we got out of our car and looked around. Initially it all seemed amusing. There was a mixture of different languages floating around. First I started wondering where all these people were going to, I tried to do guess work in my head, I played that game for a while and then got bored. Then I clicked some pictures, chatted with some people, looked at car number plates, tried remembering those numbers like a memory game but after a while it became too boring to do in the heat. The line of cars moved at snail’s pace, we had reached the border in the morning and by the time we crossed it the sun had gone to sleep. By the way, the wait was all the drama that I got here. As soon as we crossed the road, it was just a road going somewhere, nothing actually changed, it was all the same. That’s when you realise that borders are just man made, the earth is a whole, a seamless whole. We are the ones who made divisions.

I crossed many borders after that, some were guarded, some were not. The excitement of crossing a border had almost died out, almost like a disappointing fade out. Then I reached the Myanmar India border. They had at least tried to create some drama. There was a bridge that we had to cross over to reach India. The bridge was painted in half yellow and half white. The yellow part was the Myanmar part and the white part was India. As I crossed that bridge I was thrilled. Finally, I got the drama that I wanted even though it was a very subtle, but I was happy.

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2 Comments

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  1. I know what you mean. Most of the borders I’ve crossed in my time (mostly in Europe) have been comparable to state lines here in the US. Essentially just a sign welcoming you to the new country. The biggest flair I’ve had is the train from China to Hong Kong and that’s only because our Chinese phones instantly lost signal when you cross the border. The bridge in Myanmar sounds interesting though.

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