Safia: Okay, when you told me there would be a lot of traffic today, I imagined a ten-minute delay. Oni, we’ve been stuck in the same spot for half an hour!

Oni: I mean, even the tiniest drizzle puts this city’s traffic in a frenzy. This is rain, good and proper. Not to mention, at rush hour.

Safia: Ugh, you’re right. I suppose we’ll have to get used to this now, what with the monsoon settling in.

Oni: I’m guessing you’re not a fan of the rain?

Safia: Oh, I don’t know. I loved it as a child. I was always thrilled to run around in the rain, and jump in puddles and whatnot. But now it’s just there, I guess. I hardly notice it.

Oni: I see.

Safia: You know, I think I resonate more with the raindrops these days.

Oni: How’s that?

Safia: I mean, have you ever thought about a single raindrop? It leads an entire life. Just plops out of the clouds one day, and spends an eternity falling. It has no direction of its own, and relies only on the winds and the force of gravity to move around. There’s no knowing where it will land. But it has the same fate as all the other raindrops in the end.

Oni: Well, a lot happens before it can just plop out of the clouds. The cloud has to become filled with millions of water droplets to make it rain. And for that to happen, atmospheric moisture has to condense around tiny particles of dust. Of course, atmospheric moisture comes from rivers and seas and lakes and just about all the water there is – old rain. It’s all the same. Just a part of an elaborate water cycle.

Safia: I’m not sure how I feel about you bringing science into my poetry. But you’ve only proven my point further.

Oni: What poetry? And what point?

Safia: That sometimes I just feel like a raindrop! And don’t laugh! It makes sense. I feel like I’m stuck. Not static, but stuck like raindrops are – stuck in the pull of gravity, in the whims of the winds, going only where I’m being taken. And, you know, raindrops are transparent. They have no colour of their own. They can only reflect what’s around them. I feel like that. My personality is made up of everyone else’s, with no originality. I’m not even sure if I like my job, but I do it anyway – mindlessly! – because it’s a “good job”. The small things, too – my taste in music, my favourite colours, even the kind of shorthand I use when I text, for god’s sake. In every way, I’m stuck leading a life of being directed by trends and expectations, without any drive of my own.

Oni: Oh! We’re finally moving! Right, sorry. I see what you mean about the raindrops. But what about the water cycle?

Safia: It only adds to that feeling. I’m just one part of a large network. I came from people who are exactly like me. I’m going down the path that everyone else is taking, but I still have no idea where I will end up. I will leave without a splash, and then eventually fade away. And to add to the melodrama, I feel like I’m surrounded by grey skies, with only the occasional sliver of sunlight.

Oni: Wow, the monsoon really brings out the gloom in you.

Safia: You’re not very funny. There, see, you’re the only one laughing.

Oni: Okay, okay. In all seriousness, though: I hear you. But I think if we’re going to compare people to raindrops, there’s another side to consider.

Safia: Do tell.

Oni: You say all raindrops seem the same, and none have any individuality. But that’s not exactly true. Two raindrops that are falling close together might reflect the same landscape, but they do it differently. The light doesn’t hit them in the same way. So while they both shine, they shine differently. Because they are individuals, and being part of a large mass of raindrops doesn’t automatically render them homogenous. You are a reflection of your circumstances – everyone is – but you’re also your own person. Your individuality lies in the way you reflect your circumstances, what you show, and how you shine.

Safia: I suppose that makes sense.

Oni: Right. That being said, it’s worthwhile to remember that being part of a large network is not inherently bad. Raindrops are loudest when they fall together. You wouldn’t leave with a bigger splash if you were the only raindrop falling from the sky. Sometimes we need to come together to make a real difference. It’s corny, but it’s true. None of our biggest problems would even begin to get resolved if we didn’t come together to change things.

Safia: See, you’re right. And this is all very inspiring and Aesop’s-Fables of you. But it doesn’t change the fact that for the most part, we’re all just mindlessly headed in the same direction, because we’re too scared or too oblivious to deviate from the norm. It doesn’t change the fact that like raindrops, we have very little personal drive.

Oni: Right, that brings me to my third point – we are not raindrops. While the metaphor is romantic and poetic, it is not absolute. We have more control over our lives and trajectories than raindrops do. Raindrops don’t have complex thoughts, or even limbs, for that matter. They certainly don’t have existential crises. But we have all those things and more! And so we have the sensibility and power to take control of our lives– Argh! Brace yourself, traffic jam imminent.

Safia: Why are you frustrated? Can’t you just “take control” of the situation?

Oni: You are also not very funny.

Safia: So you say.

Oni: Anyway, I hear you. But I’m not saying we have control over everything that happens to us. Of course, we often don’t. And in those cases, all you can do is ride the winds for a while. That can also be pretty fun.

Safia: Really? Because this endless series of traffic jams isn’t turning out to be that much fun.

Oni: Oh, I don’t know, I’m having fun. Didn’t expect to be metaphorizing raindrops today…Hah! I heard a laugh! I guess we know who the funny one is, now.

Safia: Yeah, yeah, okay.

Oni: To come back to the point a little: I think it’s all about taking control when we can, and learning to be okay with letting the winds take us for a ride once in a while. Doing that doesn’t make you unoriginal. You know what, doing that doesn’t even make raindrops unoriginal! Because I don’t see how any two raindrops can have the exact same trajectory. They will all float a little differently, and be pushed in slightly different directions. So, one may land on a rooftop, another might find a flowerbed, and a third will settle on someone’s head.

Safia: So wait, are you saying we’re raindrops or are you saying we’re not raindrops? Oh, finally! The traffic’s moving!

Oni: I’m saying it’s hard to equate people to raindrops! In some ways, we’re raindrops. In other ways, we’re just people. What I’m really saying is, if you don’t love your job, you don’t have to wait to be carried away. You have control.

Safia: Oni, if I quit my job I wouldn’t know what to do.

Oni: Well, if you have enough money saved up, then let the winds pull you away for some time.

Safia: Become a raindrop?

Oni: Perhaps, for a while. Make your path as you go.

Safia: Right. And once I land somewhere I like, I can take control again.

Oni: Yes! A flying human-raindrop superhero!

Safia: Or, you know, a bird or something.

Oni: Please don’t take this away from me.

Safia: Okay. You might be right. I’ve got some thinking to do. Maybe it’s time to take control, and then ride the winds for a while. I’ll just have to trust that they’ll take me where I have to be.

Oni: Yep. Speaking of which, we’re here. See you tomorrow, and enjoy the rain!


This piece has been written by Farishta Anjirbag. She will be writing for the network for a brief period before moving onward and upward. We are proud to host her large ideas and clever writing.



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