Why are weather forecasts in India/Mumbai so pathetically off the mark? Apparently (this is authentic gossip and though i have no legal way or means of verifying it me thinks it may be true) the Met department of India has up to date,state of the art weather prediction equipment that equals the best in the world that the governement has spent a fortune and a half on very very recenly-as late as after the July 2005 floods- but have just been too lazy to install.
Or they couldnt be bothered. Or it is stuck in a beaurocratic loophole or they have not bothered to acquire the manpower and technical knowlegde(which has to be imported ofcourse like the machinery itself) to learn its operation.
So all this apathy/corruption/laziness renders the machinery unusable and useless-so it is lying in a Government customs godown god knows where. So we are forced to rely on predictions that arise from equipment and machinery that should have been rendered reduntant atleast a quarter of a century ago
Let me give you an example. My strongest network in the city is what i call the mothers network. A network wherby mothers exchange notes apprehensions and information with each other on a minute to minute basis so as to keep our children safe. Its what we do-we see a mother with a child around the same age as ours in our neighbourhood and exchange numbers and stay in touch, exchanging valuable safety information and tips.
It is through the mothers network that i found out about the terrorist attack on 26/11. Got the sms from a school mum. Its what made me turn on the TV to verify that its true, keep my baby safe at home and sms every mum on my phone list.
So thanks to this mothers network and thanks to the inaccurate incorrect and irresposible weather forecast in our city I have been bombarded with calls and sms’s the last few days wondering if I am sending my child to school this week. Torrential rains expected yesterday( 23rd July) heavy flooding due to the highest tide of the century or whatever expected today (24th July) blah blah.
In both cases i laughed and said that since the indian met department had predicted it-I’m sure the reverse was true and that i was definitely sending my daughter to school. I would rather trust my own instinct than the nonsense dished out by the weather guys. And i was proved right.
The met department in India dosent know their arse from their nose-ask me. I waded though nose high water on the 25th of July 2005 to reach home safe. There were times that night when i thought i might not make it through the 12 hour walk home. I clutched on to the person next to me as we waded through water climbing up our nostrils , watching dead animals and other debris float by us. We prayed. And wondered why the met department had not seen the biggest storm in our lifetime coming? We marvelled at the spirit of the average mumbaikar, reaching out, trying to help, ferrying us across on high tiered hummers, sometimes carrying the weak maimed or helpless to safety on their shoulders
Surely a storm of the magnitude of 25th July 2005 was visible on the met radar? Why was the average citizen not warned? why were so many lives and countless crores of property lost on that fateful night ? Who was responsible for not sharing this vital peice of information?
Why was a dry day like today & yesterday not spotted on the met radar? If it was why was this misinformation of thunderstorms flooding and mayhem sent out? To what end?
I have lived in cities all across the world-when the met dept says its going to rain it will. If they say the sun will shine you carry your dark glasses in your pocket. When they say there is going to be a storm and we should stay indoors you better take it seriously.
Most catastrophies have been predicted to a very large extent and rescue or prevention measures put in place and many lives saved in the bargain. Ofcourse nature can also be unpredicable sometimes and we all make allowances for human error.
But in Mumbai accurate weather forecasts even once in a blue moon seems to be too much to ask for. You can almost take it for granted that if the met department predicts something one can assume the opposite to be true
Why? Why? WHy?
Its that word again-apathy. And we accept it like all the other crumbs that our governments and other institutional bodies feed us
But because the public voice is now becoming loud and jobs may be lost-thanx to the intervention of the emerging new media- those in power now panic. Declare every 2nd day as an emergency. Schools and public institutions shut down. Work education and productivity comes to a grinding halt
Yesterday -23rd July 2009 (torrential rainfall predicted) and today 24th july 2009(declared as high tide flood dread stay at home days) have been the driest days in the last month in Mumbai-the sun has been shining for gods sake.
The school next to my home has declared both days as holidays thanks to this ill informed prediction of the meteorological department-that always seems to get everything wrong. –
I had calls and sms’s till 2 am in the night from mums asking if if it was okay to send our children to school.
What is going on? What are we paying taxes for? Why are we keeping quiet about all this? Is globalization about slumdog millionaire winning a few oscars? Or a few business families being declared the richest in the world? Or the fact that bollywood dance is now declared as a legit dance form by virtue of it being featured on some American TV reality show?
If globalization is where we are headed why cant we live like the rest of the world does? With the right and access to accumulation and dissemination of information that will make our world a better and safer place to live and raise our children in? Why are we crowing at being fed platitudes, half truths or lies?
Isnt it time we all woke up and spoke our minds and demanded right action?