As a companion to his fascinating Raffles and the British Invasion of Java, Tim Hannigan has a blog — Footnotes and Sidelights from the Story of the British Interregnum in Java, wherein he shares interesting stories that could not find space in the published book. [more inside]
The Saawan So Far: In Hindi, as it is in other Indian languages, they are simply the Nairutya Marut, the Winds from the South West. "Bursting" every year at about June for the last sixty million years, the Monsoons are the pre-eminent weather formation for the lands south of the Himalayas; over a period of three months, they travel all over the sub-continent in a north-easterly direction. They are India's meteorological tryst with destiny; as a past Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor once said, "If it rains everything is well on earth and cordial in heaven[...] I am once again hostage to monsoon;[...i]f it rains, the monetary policy works. [...] I want you to realise that all of us are 'Chasing the Monsoon'": [more inside]
The Honeymoon From Hell. Stefan and Erika Svanstrom had planned a long trip that would start in Singapore in early December and end in China four months later. But things didn't go exactly as planned. They encountered floods, fires, tsunamis and earthquakes along the way.
Tuesday, July 26th, 2005, was a wet day for the city of Mumbai, India (formerly Bombay), to say the least. Within 12 hours, it rained more than half the average annual rainfall. Upwards of 400 people are believed to have died, with more in adjacent regions. In many regions, the water rose as high as five feet. All transportation links to the rest of India were severed. Within the city, many commuters who left work, for home, on Tuesday evening, didn't reach home till Wednesday night. There have been substantial financial and ecological damages. The state apparatus was caught offguard and proven unprepared; the police were nowhere to be found, and the meteorological department found wanting with their warnings. The rumour-mongering of an incoming tsunami or cyclone also didn't help, as 24 people died in the resulting stampede. Alas, just as one is relieved that the ordeal is over, it appears there's yet more to come.