Unpredictably Yours: Confessions of an Indian Weatherman

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Unpredictably Yours: Confessions of an Indian Weatherman

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

M

y fellow countrymen,

We poor saps at the IMD, infamously known as the Met Department, have received a lot of flak lately for erroneous forecasts of the cataclysmic, epoch-ending dust storms across India that left even Thanos shaking in his boots. At this point, many of you think we at the Met only serve as hype men to the weather gods. The truth is, we’re the country’s premier speculatory service whose accuracy lies somewhere between the NSE and Bejan Daruwalla.

Even though our CV says we’re scientists and we aren’t as well respected as Bejan or other astrologers, our jobs involve similar amounts of guesswork. Then why this discrimination? Is it because Bejan inaccurately tells you when you’ll meet the love of your life, and we kind of do the same? Except we fail to warn you of an impending Biblical deluge that might wash away the both of you?

It’s unfair that we have to be the pin cushion for all your weather woes. You think predicting stuff like the arrival date of the monsoon, in a country where two-minute noodles take five to prepare, is easy? Lemme tell you, we’re like the CIA: Our failures are known, our successes are not. Also, we use water boards, but only the kind that measure water levels in our lakes and not the Americans’ “Made in Abu Ghraib” version.

But we’re planning to make these forecasts less ambiguous by replacing words like “imminent” and “expected” with “God promise” and “Fo shizz”.

Despite having access to scientific models and state-of-the-art equipment from last decade, one of the reasons we can’t do our jobs properly is the acute shortage of manpower. Kids these days would rather be Sachin Tendulkar or Sachin Bansal, depending on which side of the sports quota they lie. Even science nerds, our favourite recruitment pool, would rather study engineering, get an MBA, and then establish a start-up selling FitBits for dogs, rather than dedicate their lives to the science of weather.

Allow me to give you the elevator pitch about how cushy government a job can be. While you toil away, blurring the lines between night and day, we’re working nine to five, Monday to every second Saturday, with enough time to meet and exceed your typical #lifegoals. Bonus points if you get transferred to a remote outpost in the hills that make you meet your #travelgoals as well.

If you’re angry because we keep telling you to wear a sundress when you need gumboots and a raincoat, consider this: A typical weather forecast consists of a lot of numbers and terms like “precipitation”, “high-pressure systems”, and “El Nino”, and the last time anybody, including us, understood that gibberish was in eighth standard Geography class. But we’re planning to make these forecasts less ambiguous by replacing words like “imminent” and “expected” with “God promise” and “Fo shizz”.

In a bid to bring back young people to the Met, we’re planning to replace forecasts like, “Increased chances of precipitation of supercooled atmospheric dihydrogen monoxide in geographic areas whose topography lies within the snow line” with a Bollywood meme of Rani Mukherjee from Black with the caption “Lagta hai baraf padne wali hai”. No longer will we dampen your plans by telling you to stay in during a storm; we’d rather send you a picture of the boys from Delhi Belly saying, “Bhag bhosdike, aandhi aayi!”

Of course, you’d have to subscribe to us on social media to get these updates, but who among you actively seeks us out on Facebook or Twitter? I don’t blame you. How can you when Google searches for IMD show results for IMDb first? Our Instagram account was a fail because no one wants to see pictures of clouds and rain, unless they’re accompanied by a cup of chai, a Murakami book, fairy lights and #petrichor, despite us being the OG pluviophiles.

I’ll wrap this letter up by saying that despite being called the Met department no one wants to meet us halfway and see what we do. Why would you? Most of you barely even know we exist. After all, Met Department does sound like a hipster restaurant that also serves as a coworking/speed dating space during Happy Hours.

But I digress, let me just say that when it comes to the weather, we’re not always wrong, we’re just misunderstood. Like any hormonal teenage drama queen will tell you, the severity of our warnings is directly proportional to the attention we’re craving. We may not always make the right call, but please don’t treat us like your barometric booty call.

Yours Truly,

Dr Sachme Hogakya

Sr Scientist, IMD

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