With the mid-summer sun bearing down on the weary populace and the sweltering heat confining most of them indoors, prayers all around for the skies to open up earlier than the usual period did indeed appear amusing!
For, complaining has come so very naturally to us humans! We are so low on resistance these days that the slightest of discomfort makes us cringe and look heavenwards for succour.
We however tend to forget that every climate needs to complete its circle, before the next one sets in. But considering the weather vagaries in recent times, it becomes difficult to predict the manner in which a particular season swings, for better or worse, at any given time.
Of course, climatologists have proffered a multitude of reasons for these changes which manifests itself in unseasonal weather conditions which have at most of the times been devastating.
However, draughts of late have become more bearable compared to the agonies of the sudden deluges.
Insufficient rain, which was a source of worry earlier, has turned into a sudden dread for the wet-spell now. A lack of rains has been amply ‘compensated’ by an abundance of it that is frightening. With every passing year, the intensity of the downpour has only increased.
The varying shades of nature are no more a sight to behold during the monsoon, at least not this once! With the darkness descending over the whole area, the skies have never looked more ominous! The gentle breeze that accompanies the showers has given way to howling winds which in unison with the eerie rhythm of the downpour creates a perfect horror setting which naturally ought to give one a chill to the bone.
The start to the rainy season this year was exceptional in this sense!
The prevailing cyclonic condition over the Bay of Bengal with strong westerly winds causing rough sea conditions over Arabian Sea and off the coast of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala for over the last five days, caused havoc over the entire region.
With rains accompanied by cyclonic winds leaving a trail of destruction, the monsoon this once has unleashed its wrath in totality across Goa. Where it once gave isolated examples of its fury, nature’s vehemence was in full evidence across the entire region this time around.
As always, the first casualty was the power distribution system of the state. Frequent tripping caused intermittent blackouts which for a change were attended to promptly.
One sincerely wonders why the electricity department does not permanently think of doing away with the ‘jumper’ problems that is one of the woes afflicting the department. The High Tension and Low Tension line issues further complicate matters for the consumers during the monsoon.
Ripping away metal roof sheets and uprooting dozens of trees, strong winds caused massive destruction of property. Reports of strong waves battering the coastline and sea incursion in the last few days are also equally portentous.
The heavy rainfall, water-logging and boulder fall in various sectors have necessitated the cancellation of several trains by the Konkan Railway Corporation.
If the news about rain water flowing into schools and residential houses were not startling enough, reports about roads in the state getting submerged under saline water ought to shock the officials off a reverie.
Paralyzing normal life, the wet-spell has brought along its own share of miseries for the locals this time.
As a state that largely depends on its neighbours for its supply of essential commodities, the landslides and flooding of roads prevented supplies from reaching Goa. Milk, vegetables and chicken just disappeared from the markets. Whatever was available was being sold at exorbitant prices.
I happened to travel along coastal Karnataka earlier this week and observed that the situation is far worse there. With rivers having broken their banks to enter fields, plantations and residential dwellings proliferating along the sides, one could well imagine the plight of the locals.
But unlike in Goa one could hardly espy any bystander in those affected areas indulging in the ‘mobilomania’ that has transcended from an attraction to an obsession for the modern generation.
The incessant rains and the ‘temporary’ deluge accompanying it should stop to be seen as an ideal pastime for the cell-phone fascinated populace who are quick to make their mobile-clicks go viral on the social media in equally fast time.
Rather than warnings, the social media has this once served to scare the public out of its wits. If the vivid pictures of the disastrous rainfall were not enough, there were a lot of mischief-mongers working overtime to ensure that a regular dose of erroneous messages posted on the social media kept the public in a perennial state of unease and alarm.
While such cataclysmic situations necessitate even the authorities to be cautious enough in releasing news and updates on the prevalent state of affairs so as to keep things under control, there have not been any such reservations on the social media.
It is believed that even the CM had to take to tweeting to refute statements ‘apparently’ made by him about certain ‘warnings’ which seemingly emanated from his office.
Arguably it is the first time that Goa is in the throes of such a climatic exigency. With a near panic situation that has been created, it is absolutely essential that the public maintains a calm demeanour under these adverse conditions and are not carried away by the spurious notifications posted on the social media or circulated by gossip-mongers.
Goans however need to thank the geographic and geological traits of its region which insulates it against the threat of flash-floods. Even then, such possibilities need to be studied in their entirety considering the rapid urbanization that the state is in the throes of.
The slew of developmental works in the state has also had its debilitating effects on the topography of the region. With almost all the projects that are complete or are underway creating quite a lot of ‘disturbances’ in the natural alignment of the areas, inundations in-and-around-these places have not come as a big surprise. The Atal-Setu approach road from the Merces side for instance!
As an area that finds itself exposed to the hazards of the natural imbalances brought about by various such factors, it becomes pertinent that the administration is geared to tackle all such extreme conditions, whether natural or man-made.
It is only when one realizes that, besides the health scare that is a natural fallout of these disasters, the knowledge that the state is not geared-up to tackle the eventualities in case of such calamities that the enormity of the whole situation begins to sink in.
As my friend from Assam put it, “The climate has changed drastically in various regions. We have to take some serious and immediate measures to restore the nature. It is really worrisome! Either it’s raining heavily or there is no rain at all. Extreme conditions indeed!”
Should we be giving reasons enough for a ‘future shock’!
(Published on 19th August 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 34)