A CLOSE LOOK

Is this going to be the wettest ever Baishakh?

Nilratan Halder | Published: May 18, 2018 21:10:44


Had there been a wetter Baishakh than the one just gone by? Kalbaishakhi (tropical storm in this part of the world), the name of which is derived from the month, has been synonymous with this inaugural month of the year. But Baishakh's violent form, as highlighted by Rabindranath Thakur in many of his poems, is best expressed in the unbearably sultry heat. The sun overhead appears to be a burning cauldron, sending melting lava downwards.

This year, Bangladesh and parts of India have been spared of this heat. Instead, the sky remained mostly overcast and there was no knowing when gusty winds would start blowing like hell and soon afterwards rains would be sweeping accompanied with lightning of frightening proportion. In a city like Dhaka, when wind blows dust starts swirling giving no opportunity for people in the street to run for cover.

There was, however, nothing unusual if Nature's caprice were limited to this. A new phenomenon was noticeable. When the army of thick black clouds competed in a race, an eerie scene got created. A pitch-black smokescreen covered the sight all around enveloping the city in an unnatural darkness. It was suddenly darker than night for a few moments. It acted as a premonition to what is known as apocalypse.

Scientists and environmentalists are worried that the planet is growing warmer. There is no doubt that it is. But no experts have warned people in this part of the world of phenomena like this. A wetter summer is certainly enjoyable for the time being but what will be its long-term consequences is giving many people sleepless nights.

Since no expert does enlighten the public about this alarming development, there is no harm analysing the matter from a layman's perspective. Does it mean that the cycle of seasons is set to embrace a radical transformation? If so, how will it affect people's lives and livelihoods here?  It may be that the clouds formation was completing the process quite early and with early rains they will disappear. The monsoon in that case will be the driest ever.

However, if Jaistha which along with Baishakh forms the high summer, remains equally wetter, its impact will be felt not only on cultivation of crops but also on summer treats like mangoes, lichi, jackfruit etc; But if the month suddenly assumes its usual character of extreme heat, the monsoon may retain its wetness as well. Some people started reading footsteps of floods in the unprecedented rainfall in the first month of the high summer. If that happens, it will be a double blow to farmers.

Already farmers are the worst affected segment of the population as a result of rains that have induced flush floods in the country's north and north-east and submerged fields of standing Boro crops. What is worse is that intermittent rains do not allow farmers to enjoy a few hours' sunshine at a stretch in order to get their wet paddy dried. If this continues, paddy will either get destroyed in field or rot after it has been stacked without drying.

Signs are not at all encouraging particularly when the formation of huge clouds over a vast area of India and Bangladesh is taken into consideration. An ominous prediction in relation to melting of polar ice was the rise of sea level and the consequent sinking of coastal areas in the south. Now the danger comes from above. Not only are rains harrowing farmers but it seems to be the start of a protracted ordeal.

If both sky and seas become hostile to man and a people like the Bangalees here, the enormity of the problem can easily be gauged. A wetter summer is contrary to reasons. If other things remain same as before, there is no harm. But if other features of Nature change for the worse, there is the likelihood of an apocalypse taking place soon.

Share if you like