August 24, 2014

Monsoon watch 2014

I write this on 24 August 2014. We had a bumper monsoon in 2013, when rains started early and went on and on...they just wouldn't stop. Read about it here.

This year, as I recorded on this blog, there were rains in March, and in some places, hail and 'snow' (yes!). Then, my own observation is that it wasn't continuously hot in summer. It kept raining on and off, and everyone lamented about mango crops getting affected. I also remember waiting for one continuous hot week so that I could make my pickles. So summer wasn't typical even though it was hot end May and June.

But July-August have compensated for the untypical summer. Hot, and unusually humid. Never before have we experienced this stickiness in Hyderabad. Normally we need a light blanket as soon as summer gets over, and we never sweat this way. Now, even breeze from the fan doesn't seem to reach us and there is no relief even in the nights. Humidity levels are very high and it is like being in a sea-side city. What kind of a curse is this?  
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Anand Vishwanatha posted this on Facebook along with a fabulous photo of a flock of munias:

A flock of Scaly-breasted Munias (the tan-cream-brown fella in the foreground is a juvenile) feeding on the algae growing in a roadside ditch. This photograph is from October of last year, when the monsoons were munificent. This year, however, with the effects of Climate Change catching up with us, it has been another story -- at least so far (not that it would have mattered, that roadside ditch has been paved, the trees around it have been cut). Hot days followed by humid nights. Humid nights followed by even more humid days. As July segued into August and August segues into September, (across large parts of Telangana and AP) the chilling reality of drought awaits us and the birds.

Maybe, the returning monsoon will still bestow us with its munificence; maybe we will manage to evade a drought, maybe we will all still learn and desist -- from wantonly cutting trees and mindlessly paving the earth, chasing a development ideal that is flawed, a way of life that is increasingly lacking in aesthetic. 
Maybe...
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My father said it will rain in September, as it does some years. I am hoping this will happen. I feel really sorry for farmers. What will they do? The other day, a beggar came to me and said something about crops failing because of lack of rains in her village. Venkatamma tells me in her village, the crops looked a duller shade of green this year. At these times I feel a no-rain situation is a great equaliser...no political party is powerful enough to make it rain, no?   

God...help, please. Make it rain in September...

26 Aug 2014: my Facebook status: "Oh, don't bring the clothes in...let them get wet; let me get wet too! There's thunder and it is raining...at last!"

28 August 2014: I said, on Facebook, "This has to be the mother of all downpours! Wow, it is coming down in sheets". :) Yes, it was a huge, huge rain and after that it has been cool and raining on and off. 
I write this on 8 September, and today's newspaper talks about floods in Jammu and Kashmir, and about copious rainfall in Telangana. We no longer have power cuts.