National Geographic Photo of the Day

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ramanan, my friend :)

Growing up, I went to school like everyone else. Whenever it rained, I was always hoping for a holiday. Sometimes there would be a test coming next week for which I could study in the event of a holiday, sometimes I'd just want to sit in my room, look out the window at my long driveway and enjoy the rain. I love rain!

So it was that every rainy season, I was glued to the local news channels for my fill of the weather report. The news that a depression or cyclone had formed in the Bay of Bengal would thrill me no end. This news of course was (and still is) delivered by a great man, Dr. Ramanan.

S.R. Ramanan (first from left in the below photo), director of Area Cyclone Warning Centre, Regional Meteorological Centre. He would tell how the day went, weather-wise, and finish it off with the news I was waiting for - "In light of the weather, a holiday has been declared tomorrow for all schools and colleges in Chennai".

Sometimes the last line would never come, but that was the Pièce de résistance. The final dish of the meal that we would savour the most, that would make or break the entire show, the part that we would sorely miss if absent.

Predicting weather is serious business no doubt, but as youngsters the part of it that had us hooked was obviously the possibility of a holiday.

His appearance on Sun News or Kalaignar TV's News brought new hope each time it rained cats and dogs, every time the wind blew hard, every time the sky darkened. He was and is a hero to a number of my school and college mates, saving them when there is almost no hope to be had - granting them that one day of reprieve. But for all this, he's an unsung saviour, one that works in the background, whose efforts we scarcely appreciate. This man single-handedly saved my entire class at college from disaster in an Electronic Circuits end semester exam :D . Most days when it got really cloudy and poured, we'd just say "Inikki Ramanan solradhu paakkalaam da" (We'll see what Ramanan says today). That's the extent of appreciation he got from our part.

He's the hero we needed, but not the one we deserved. So I salute this not-so-average scientist, for he commands my respect, for I've listened to his words far more than I've listened to my own parents ;) . I look forward to more miracles, more rain and more holidays thanks to him. He's the superman we never see. I know him well, but I'm sad to say that he does not know me .


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