In July 2013, I was standing on the southern edge of the Khasi Hills in Meghalaya, overlooking the vast expanse of the Bangladesh plains. I could literally see the monsoon advancing over Cherrapunji. And where had it come from? It had begun its journey from the southern Indian Ocean, crossed the equator, changed directions, then it had overcome the barriers of the Western Ghats, traversed the Deccan Plateau, turned around over the Bay of Bengal, and then covered the Bangladesh plains….And yet its power was so great, that the monsoon clouds looked like an army of elephants charging menacingly towards the Khasi Hills. Only when you stand in its way, you can realize how strong the monsoon is!! 

Over the past several years, I have increasingly felt that we have been looking wrongly at the monsoon as if it were a slave of some distant operators located in the south Indian Ocean or the east Pacific or the north Atlantic. The monsoon comes every year with an unmatched regularity while the other factors have an uncertain and indifferent periodicity. How can they control or influence the monsoon if they don’t even exist in some years? And then we try to examine as to how the monsoon behaved in such and such manner when the parameters correlated to it gave contrary indications. 

I sincerely feel that we should now concentrate on studying the monsoon itself, rather than looking at factors which we think are influencing the monsoon. It is high time that we regard the monsoon as a master of its own destiny. The monsoon has a mind of its own. It is the monsoon that calls the shots. Surely when the Indian monsoon chalks out its own path, it does not have to consult the Indian Ocean Dipole or seek advice from the El Nino Southern Oscillation or take the permission of the tropospheric temperature gradient over the north Atlantic! 

It is the style of the media that when a great person is not available for a direct interview, they approach his friends or close associates, and try to get a peek into his personality and thinking. We cannot understand the monsoon in this media fashion. But that is what we have been doing all along. We ought to find out more about the monsoon directly and try to understand its mind, rather than go to ENSO or IOD and ask them what they feel about the monsoon!!

Advertisements