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.