The tsunami, like any other newsworthy event, has spawned a set of legends and myths. Among these, the most widely circulated now are those that account for the causes of the tsunami. Almost immediately after the news of the tsunami came the first “cause.” Divine retribution, said the godly, for the arrest and subsequent “humiliation” of Jayendra Saraswathi.
Then came a lot of discussion on the underwater quake that had actually caused the tsunami. Learned and unlearned heatedly discussed plate tectonics and geological stress. Streetside seismologists gravely predicted that “all was not over,” and that we could expect a series of such tsunamis in future.
Then came the really funny ones. “Americans!” thundered one person, “they carry out nuclear tests and cause huge explosions under the water. No wonder there was a quake. And that is why Abdul Kalam firmly refused permission to any American vessel to approach Indian shores for relief work. They are cunning fellows these Americans. In their so-called relief vessles they will carry all the instruments and take all the readings they want of Indian territorial waters, even of they are allowed in for only a day.” The total incoherence of that outburst made me burst out laughing.