I Once Named A Cyclone & Felt Acutely Bad About It
by Tejas Nair
It is November 2013. The name was Rena. And it caused more than a thousand casualties. Although it was a dream which I now wish should never come true, I glanced at the headlines of TOI and instead of inducing jubilance, it worked against the purpose.
People in the eastern-most outskirts of India and beyond gasped last month whenever they heard the name of Phailin (pronounced Pie-lin) which was the given name to the devastating cyclone moving faster than the drunk teenagers’ expensive sedans in accident-prone Palm Beach highway, the only difference being the cyclone crashes and destroys whatever it hits unlike the sedans. Phailin means “Sapphire” in Thai and by the look of it, the people who named it are jubilant. It is derived from a list of 65 names given by few Asian countries. And before today, I didn’t know that even citizens of the world can suggest names.
What is the purpose of this feature? It is irony.
Naming a damaging natural calamity is okay as it serves the purpose of easy communication and record-keeping. But, asking the people of the world to suggest names is the most malevolent feature/thing I heard & possibly will hear today. In the dream, my alter ego, who is a bumptious bastard and can sometimes even adopt mind of a psycho, didn’t look happy when Rena made headlines. He had suggested the name online and the next cyclone that materialized (pun unintended) after the imminent Helen, was named that. Unlike how traditional government jobs take eons to conclude, the name-selection happened swiftly. The day came when the headlines adored the newspapers and outside the dream, I had visualized how the alter ego would hatch a Facebook status about it and tell every person he meets for the next twelve-thirteen months that the cyclone that caused very large casualties was named after his suggestion, which in turn was the name of the lady who he had dated the previous month and the relationship with whom had ended over a petty issue of the Hobson’s choice of watching the newly released Gravity through an illegally downloaded CAM copy and later how he would watch it alone in IMAX 3D was another thing which actually happened.
The irony is stupendous and can only infer to something dumb & eerie about our current world walk. The humor aside,
here’s praying good luck for the people who are bearing the brunt of a calamity which is playing havoc in their lives and which is also being talked about here in the noisiest city in the world to create unfunny humor. May the good be with them!
(Any humor in the previous sentence was unintentional.)
- Tropical Cyclone Phailin Barrels Toward India (livescience.com)
- How Bad Will Cyclone Phailin Be for India? (armageddononline.org)
- India Closes Port as Worst Storm in 14 Years Nears East Coast – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)