media monsoon

Every year India has a date with the monsoon. The date is always 1 June, but the monsoon usually comes either earlier or later. This year it came on 6 June. Soon after IMD made the official announcement, PTI reported that “four days after missing its date with the country, the crucial south west monsoon has finally hit Kerala.” The onset of the monsoon was perhaps a hit-or-miss affair!

The India Today web site was charting the future course of the monsoon with great confidence. It said, “Monsoon arrives in Kerala, find out when it is reaching you.” It seemed to know the inner workings of the monsoon system more than anyone else! held a negative view. It said that the progress northwards is expected to be slow and monsoon is unlikely to cover half the nation by the first half of June. Like the glass which can be half full or half empty!

The Wall Street Journal announced that the Monsoon had arrived over the Indian “mainland”, a word more familiar to Americans. It also quoted the Director General of IMD as saying that “the monsoon has finally arrived but it is currently moving at a slow pace as the parameters that support its progress are either weaker than their normal positions or not properly placed.” Whatever that may mean, WSJ hastened to add that “a weak monsoon could push up food prices and with it inflation, testing the new government’s ability to promote economic growth.”

The Hindu had mixed its metaphors quite thoroughly, reporting earlier in the day that the monsoon was about to make “landfall any time now”. Its special correspondent also added that the monsoon was “sailing in on weak tailwinds.” Is it a cyclone? Is it a plane? Is it a ship?

I had never imagined that the monsoon could be so vicious, but the Hindu also said that “the Andaman territory had come under the spell of the monsoon”.

The Free Press Journal, Mumbai, had a different story. “Monsoon set to catch up with city on June 10”, it announced. As if the city of Mumbai was moving northwards and the monsoon was racing it out with all speed.

And there was a man-made storm as well! On 4 June, Economic Times reported that “a storm is brewing over the onset of monsoon”! Not over the ocean as one may think, but with private forecaster Skymet declaring that it had spotted the monsoon and IMD maintaining that it had not!

The last word, however, was that of a Marathi news channel. It said that the Bay of Bengal had held the monsoon captive all these days, but finally the monsoon had managed to escape from its grip!