We are Waterfalls
Author: Nihit Kaul
Do you like waterfalls? I love them!
The allure of a waterfall is the power that hides beneath all that majestic beauty. Mesmerizing to look at. Pulverizing to be under. Their gigantic form, seemingly pulled apart from both ends, like a tug of war between the base and the top of the waterfall. A silver cape that the hill wears with swagger. A veil from which it can watch the river descend from its high horse and meet the downtrodden rocks below. A lazy sketch with chalk on the rocks behind.
However, the real reason for my intrigue is that I see all of us in waterfalls. All of us, together, rushing through life. Drops huddled together, being pulled by an unseen force. The river decides things for us - what direction we take, when we get to be calm, and when we fall to rise again.
From the perspective of any of the drops, the journey is very uninteresting. Each drop sees itself as, well, just another drop in the bucket. Unimpressive in size or force. Yet, when all the drops combine, they create this unstoppable force of nature. Reminds me of how we often think of ourselves as inconsequential, immaterial, invisible. And yet, just like the drops, we too are capable of joining hands and moving mountains. Slowly we chip away at the world, changing it, shaping it, molding it without knowing it. And like the rocks sculpted by the force of water over millennia, we also make massive changes to the world without knowing it. I never said the changes are for the better. Some are and others not. Like some rocks getting crushed by the force of a waterfall and others getting polished smooth. We are as capable of going to the moon as carrying out genocides - mobs of rabid droplets killing in the name of an imaginary God.
And just like the droplets, we are equally defined by our inaction as our actions. The drops of water can fly past the thirsty roots of a tree, stretching its emaciated hand out begging for a drink of water. They can be callous and cold-hearted. And they can explain it to themselves - what could I do? I am just a drop of water. What difference would one drop of water make anyway? We do the same as we zoom past a car accident after slowing down to quench our morbid curiosity. After all, we are late for office. I am sure someone has already called it in! What can I do anyway, that needs a doctor? What if one of the cars blew up?
But every once in a while, a drop jumps onto the shoulders of a gust of wind and tries to make a difference. It soaks itself into the parched roots of that tree, not caring that it doesn't get to run on the treadmill of the waterfall anymore. It gives itself up completely in the hope of making something else better. Or so it thinks. It doesn't realize that it didn't do anything. It was just at the right place at the right time when that gust of wind blew in the right direction. It pats itself on the back as the other drops zipping by, clap and admire this brave drop.
We are waterfalls.
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