the roles we must play


The Fujiwhara effect describes the phenomenon when two nearby cyclonic vortices (I am aware my title picture is not of a cyclone) orbit each other and close the distances between the circulations of their corresponding low-pressure areas. It’s really a fascinating thing to watch – a dance of sorts between two chaotic, unpredictable elements that ultimately lead to a blending. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently – a product of the void left after graduation and a bunch of other significant events recently – and I’ve been wondering about how I’ve chosen to interact with people around with me and what that says about me.

When I was in middle school, my class tutor wrote in a note to my parents, “People will feel the wake of Rovik’s crossing”. I was 14 when this was written, but it has since stuck in my head. I never comprehended what that completely meant till recently when I realized that I was definitely leaving a presence behind, not in an egotistical ‘People will miss me’ kind of way, but in the manner that I’ve always aspired to – a legacy that is evidenced in tangible change created. More important to me though was recognizing how I got here, as a matter of introspection.

Perhaps the biggest thing about myself that I realized is that I’m a provocateur and activator. Just like a cyclone, I choose to be bold, overwhelming and a force to be reckoned with, simply because I come with a hope to bring change and evolution. I choose to disrupt because too many things gone undone¬†have been regretted by the quiet.

But what about everyone else? I recognize my role but I also recognize it isn’t everyone else’s. It’s team-building 101 – know who’s on your team, understand their skills and recognize the roles they will play to take advantage of their strengths. That’s simple enough.

How about if we extend it to inter-personal relationships in general though? Here, there isn’t an engineered effort to drive synergies. No, we’re forced by life to encounter people and choose if we want to be friends with them or not. But while we may start to piece together their personalities and characters, we inevitably also build a dynamic between us. These dynamics are again tied to the roles we have traditionally assigned to ourselves. So if two cyclonic characters meet, there will be a collision that causes a new set of chaos. If a cyclonic character meets a quiet calm sea character, you can expect some pain to be felt. If a cyclonic character meets a sturdy rock, you can expect erosion and challenge.

But the roles must be played, both for the individual’s sake to stay aligned to their character as well as for the sake of advancement of the existing state. ¬†Things must move forward, and the roles people play will assign the attributes to the progress created. This metaphorical way of looking at things helps me understand why people do the things the way they do and how things evolve out of moments of collision. Other cyclones are rare to come by, and when you do meet them, history has taught me to brace full on for the impact.