Sunday, September 13, 2009
MON--SOOOOOOOOOOOO-N and My Disdain for the Media
"MONSOON SEASON".......before reading further, I would like all of the "NON-INDIAN" readers of my blog to pause for a moment and close your eyes......think about these two words and file away the thoughts and images that were conjured up.
My family and I grew up with another weather season....."HURRICANE SEASON"..a period from June to September where the Gulf Coastal region of the United States are subject to the threat of hurricanes.....that actually start off the coast of Africa and make their way across the Atlantic.
Yes.....I have seen my fair share of hurricanes.....extreme weather; rain and wind reaching up too 150+ MPH(240 KPH for my Indian friends).....extreme flooding, and devastation of buildings and homes, trees, power lines.....and sometimes loss of life for those who do not evacuate or leave their homes for one reason or another.
As a matter of fact, in September of 2008, just before moving to India, a terrible hurricane hit the Houston Texas area, where we moved from.....but enough on hurricanes. I just wanted to inform my Indian readers that my family and I are not unfamiliar with "extreme weather".
Back to my "Non-Indian" readers.....what were those earlier thoughts when you read or hear the words "MONSOON SEASON"? For many of you, like my family and I, who were "educated" (and I use that word with embarrassed sarcasm) by the media.....you probably envisioned months upon months of torrential rains, flooding everywhere, no sunshine......and worse.
Well....."Monsoon Season" simply means .....rainy season! Yes, June through September, it rains more often than it usually does, ooooooh, the MON-SOOOOOO-N!!!!!
The Monsoon Season is actually very important to India....I have read that up to 80% of all of the rainfall in the entire country, happens during this period. The monsoon season is welcomed by the farmers......70% of the population of India make their living in one way or another through agriculture (70% of 1 Billion...you do the math)...that's a heck of alot of people making their living on the fate of the weather. Here is another factoid......agriculture accounts for 25% of the GDP of India.
There are definitely those incidents of flooding.....loss of lives and livestock, hundreds of thousands of people who live in low lying areas that have their homes destroyed, or those living in mountainous areas that are subject to landslides, etc.......but it is not the norm.....these are terrible and sad to hear about, bu they are the exceptions that the media sensationalizes
and "educates" with.
As with the perception of "Monsoon Season", I believe the media is also responsible for creating other such misconceptions or creates panic or fear in all of us around the world. Recent examples of such media bias would be the panic for both the "Global Economic Recession" and the "Swine Flu".....both of which are real, but I believe that had they not been sensationalized and talked about ad nauseam for 24 hours per day, we could recover from such occurrences much faster. Tarnishing the psychology of people in all parts of the world, does more harm than good, unless you are the manufacturer of "surgical masks"......those guys are making millions and hope that the "SWINE FLU PANDEMIC" lasts for years.
Educating myself about the Monsoon Season just reinforced the notion that one shouldn't believe everything you hear or read in the news......it is best to educate yourself on all of the facts then draw your own conclusions as to the reality of the situation. We should not be lazy and allow the media to "spoon feed" us with hype and sensationalism.....
The beautiful pictures that I have included are of a MONSOON afternoon on a visit to Pune, just west of Mumbai; the area of India that receives the highest average rainfall during the season. Just another rainy day!