An official of the weather bureau was explaining to me: "The monsoon season ended on August 31, 1990. What you are seeing now is the advance current of next year's monsoon season."
"Interesting," I said.
"Yes, the 1991 monsoon season has begun in Bombay. For this evening and tonight, we expect occasional rain or showeres, a few of them heavy, and accompained by gusty or squally winds. Wind speed will be 60 kph."
"Would you say the 1991 monsoon season has begun?" I asked.
The official said: "According to our study of INSAT 1A, in conjuction with INSAT 1B, the 1991 season has begun. A little early, no doubt, but not unusual. There have been several examples when the monsoon for the following season has set in within a fortnight of the conclusion of the preceding monsoon."
"I see," I said. "What is your forecast for the season that has just started."
"Well, the immediate forecast is that the present wet-spell will continue for a few days. Fishermen are being warned not to venture out into the sea. As for the long-term forecast, it will be a good season, making up for the short monsoon season we had in 1990."
"That's good," I said. "When did the 1991 monsoon season actually start?"
"Last night," the official said. "You can put down the official start of the new monsoon season to last night. The monsoon, as a weak current, advanced across the Indian Ocean via Sri Lanka and along the Kerala coast, through Goa and Ratnagiri to break over Bombay last night."
"And how long will the 1991 monsoon season last?" I asked.
"Till August 31, 1991, that is when the official monsoon season always ends, you must remember that," the official siad. "It has got nothing to do with Lord Ganesh, this is all very scientific."
"True," I said. "And will it be raining throughout this 1991 monsoon season?"
"Well, if it does not rain in the monsoon season, when else is it supposed to rain!" the official said. "You have already had your summer and sunshine from September 1 to September 23."
"Just one more question," I said. "Do I continue to use my 1990 umbrela or do I buy a new one for the 1991 season?"