Tilak Rishi's weblog

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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Naming the storms

"Katrina causes NO ENTRY sign on the road to New Orleans"! A movie buff as I am, reading the news heading I instantly thought of our own Katrina Kaif, and the latest Bollywood blockbuster NO ENTRY. However, being hammered by the minute to minute reporting on the devastations caused by hurricane Katrina, I immediately realized that the report was all about not allowing residents to re-enter New Orleans until announcements to the contrary are made by the authorities. But I was still curious to know why they had plagiarized the name of Katrina Kaif in naming their hurricane? Was it to pay back our producers in the same coin, who are all the time borrowing from the Hollywood blockbusters without ever acknowledging it in their credits or something unrelated. So I went to Google to get to the bottom of the matter. As was expected of Google, it opened floodgates of all the information on naming the storms.

In early 20th Century, an Australian meteorologist was the first to have a brainwave to assign names to storms and cyclones as an easy way of communications between the forecasters and the general public. His idea was immediately adopted. It would be a wonderful opportunity to name the destructive tropical cyclones after people whom the men in authority despised. After World War II, the U.S. meteorologists followed suit and started naming storms after their ex-girl friends or wives who had destroyed their lives of love and happiness, by dumping them. This kicked off another storm, this time by the feminist activists who protested against naming of destructive storms after women. This led to World Meteorological Organisation choosing a list of names that included men also.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2000, tropical cyclones in the North-West Pacific basin got Asian names after flowers, animals, birds etc. There is a move to give names to North Indian Ocean cyclones also. Tropical cyclone PYAAR is the first to hit the Bay of Bengal coast during this Monsoon. It is not yet clear how the name was chosen- from a Bollywood movie which might have bombed at the box office and destroyed the director's career or by a digruntled meteorologist whose life was devastated by unhappy ending of his love (pyaar) story? Whatever it may be, the big question will come when the full list of names for all the five years upto 2010 is to be decided, as is done for other regions. In a democracy as big as ours, it will be all the more difficult. Officers having authority to select names of storms will have their chance to settle scores with their ex-bosses. If they decide for female names, those alligned to Congress may come up with names such as Sushma and Uma, and those favoring BJP may go for Indira and Sonia. An officer with Marxist leanings may opt for Mamta and yet another from U.P.may suggest Maya. The religeous minded may dig into mythology and come up with Menka, Kaikayee or Dropadi. Anyway, it will be interesting to see the complete list when it is completed. Till then let's pray for SHANTI on our shores.

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