Are North East Monsoon, El Nino 2015 over

After the Madras, now Chennai deluge, a former senior colleague and well-wisher called about our well being at Chennai.  And we reminisced about how I warned him about vigorous North East Monsoon, and the failure of South East Monsoon, six months ago.

Both the warnings about the effects of the El Nino – the failure of South West Monsoon and a deluge from North East Monsoon was not from my imagination.  It was by the-now-routine (to me at least) observations of the Neem, and the Easter Tree in front of my apartment complex, and the reports of the blooming, fruiting of the Tamarind trees in rural Tamil Nadu, as an indication of the El Nino effect.

I had commented about it in The Hindustan Times – which uses Disqus commenting system – in the months of April-June & to my eternal regret did not post it in this blog for iron-clad proof.  BTW why is it so hard to search Disqus commenting system?  If they do not correct it – I am afraid Disqus will die away; just as I switched back to Blogger commenting system, many others would soon shift.

To get back to point, the pointers (pun intended) were that the Neem trees initially did bloom during the time of Ugadhi (Telugu New Year) and persisted for the Tamil New Year (March-April 2015).  But soon after, the blooms sort of crisped, and the usual spray of the Neem seeds, which we used to find everywhere were absent (the Tamarind trees too, gave up).  Then later, the Neem trees flowered once again, and there was the usual, abundant spray of seeds – the crows and other birds eat the ripe fruits, and drop the indigestible seeds around – once again I failed to blog about it, though wrote on HT comments.

But equally relevant – and AFAIK, only from my observations over the last few years - is the Easter Tree which I have been referring about.  I usually sheds its leaves when there is a weather change around.  Around the time of Easter, the Madras, now Chennai weather changes from mild to hot – and the tree sheds.  That’s the reason for my naming the tree as ‘Easter Tree’.  But it also sheds when the rainy season turns into the milder (though to the warm blooded Chennai people – cold) winter climate.

And it happened after the Chennai deluge.  Though the official Met forecast is another round of heavy showers, implied as another deluge, I am going out on a limb and predicting – based on the Easter Tree indication, which has shed its leaves – that the North East Monsoon is over.  The El Nino effect for this year too, is finished.  A word of caution though – I am not saying that there will NOT be any more rains, only that the worst is behind us – especially for Chennai Metro and northern Tamil Nadu.  And probably, with crossed fingers, probably the El Nino is petering away.

Here are the images of the Easter Tree shedding.  As for the Weather Forecast, always trust the official IMD Met forecast. 


Next couple of days would prove whether to trust my native, observant weather forecast.  While keeping fingers crossed, if NOAA, Australia and IMD forecast that NE Monsoon and El Nino for 2015 are over, remember where you read about it first.

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Rogue Lawyer by Grisham is roguish but likeable

John Grisham’s latest thriller fiction Rogue Lawyer is something like a Bollywood remake-copy-lift of a Hollywood movie, but unlike the unwatchable Bollywood copies, has some saving grace.  Rogue Lawyer is almost a cheap version of the Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Haller written by Michael Connelly.

Like Haller, the rogue lawyer Sebastian Rudd works from a van, though not a car, is a defence attorney, has a former convict for driver and bodyguard.  And there the similarities end.  Instead of the very interesting Haller, Rudd comes off as a cheap, egoistical, and a cheat.

But Grisham is a master when it comes to weaving a seemingly inescapable legal web, and then nicely snipping it away with drama.  Sebastian Rudd is the beneficiary in this instance and it saves the Rogue Lawyer from becoming another Gray Mountain – Grisham’s last novel – which I threw away half way through.

Rogue Lawyer is more like 3 or 4 short stories, clubbed together for a continuous narration which certainly holds our attention.  It is not one of Grisham’s best efforts – not in the same class as the Testament (1999), or The Litigators (2011), but better than say Calico Joe, Sycamore Row or Gray Mountain.  If you are travelling this holiday season, Rogue Lawyer will be good company.

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Kartigai–Tamil Festival of Lights

Greetings to everyone on the occasion of Karthikai Deepam – the Tamil Festival of Lights.
A very tasteful, and beautiful arrangement of lights, snapped at my apartment complex.

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Rainbow over Chennai

Reflection, refraction, and dispersion of sunlight is what causes a rainbow.  But you need some rain, preferably a drizzle, and not the thunderstorms we have had over Chennai over the last few days.

Today evening, it was a not so dazzling rainbow which adorned the Madras, now Chennai skies.  Needless to say, the rainbow appeared in the east, as the evening sun was preparing to set in the west.

Just like the leeches, it has been quite a while since I have spotted a rainbow.  In spite of the slight fever which still persists, I climbed the overhead tank to snap these pictures.

It is a primary rainbow as the red is towards the outside of the arc. Sometimes, there are secondary rainbows which appear with the red on the inside of the arc instead.  Have never seen one of those, though.

For the moment, enjoy the rainbow over Chennai.


and one more snap of the full-half arc.


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Man-eater of Bandipur killed

ManEater story reads just like Jim Corbett or Kenneth Anderson adventure. Look at the cap still caught in canine teeth. Lesson: don't be the last man in file hunting man eaters, unless you know what you are doing.

To elaborate, let us just see what Jim Corbett had written while hunting The Chowgarh Tigers. "Tigers do not know that human beings have no sense of smell, and when a tiger becomes a man-eater it treats human beings exactly as it treats wild animals, that is, it approaches its intended victims up-wind, or lies up in wait for them down-wind.

The significance of this will be apparent when it is realized that, while the sportsman is trying to get a sight of the tiger, the tiger in all probability is trying to stalk the sportsman, or is lying up in wait for him

The contest, owing to the tiger's height, colouring, and ability to move without making a sound, would be very unequal were it not for the wind-factor operating in favour of the sportsman. In all cases where killing is done by stalking or stealth, the victim is approached from behind.

This being so, it would be suicidal for the sportsman to enter dense jungle, in which he had every reason to believe a man-eater was lurking, unless he was capable of making full use of the currents of air.

For example, assuming that the sportsman has to proceed, owing to the nature of the ground, in the direction from which the wind is blowing, the danger would lie behind him, where he would be least able to deal with it, but by frequently tacking across the wind he could keep the danger alternately to right and left of him.

In print this scheme may not appear very attractive, but in practice it works; and, short of walking back- wards, I do not know of a better or safer method of going up-wind through dense cover in which a hungry man-eater is lurking."

Read the original newsreport at The Hindu
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Where has Narendra Modi travelled as PM

Whether the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on the path to Digital (India) and Smart (Cities) is a question only time and history can answer.  That he is singlehandedly out to keep India in the front pages of as many countries as possible is undeniable.

I do not think that even James Bond, who is one of the most travelled hero, could have managed so many cities in so few months.  Last month BBC published an interactive map showing all the places where 007 has been. []

Which gave me the idea to plot all the cities abroad where Narendra Modi has set foot as Prime Minister.  As of today, the globetrotter has flown on 31 missions, to more than 35 cities.  This is not the first attempt to plot the Prime Minister.  The Wikipedia page itself has a nice map.  But what is different with my map is that it is interactive – the popup shows the date he visited (to me more precise one particular day when he was in that city), and the purpose of the visit.

If I find the time, I will plot out the travels of the previous 2 Prime Ministers, too – Manmohan Singh, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.  For now, have fun with the map.

Static image for pinning:

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