That scene in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” where Indiana Jones is chased down by a giant boulder inside a cave sometimes gives me the goosebumps. Back in my college days in India, going back home meant a lot of preparation for a two-day journey that involved almost all modes of transport - train, bus, scooter, rickshaw and even walking to cross the no man’s land into another country. We never had a chance of knowing what the weather conditions would be like. As I moved from Varanasi in Northern India, and headed towards Kolkata, the train stopped in its track after a few hours. Floodwaters had submerged the rail tracks a few miles ahead and the next station was out of service. I changed course and planned a detour up north. Same story. I ended up stuck in a town called Bhagalpur in Bihar because floodwater had submerged the rail tracks there, too. I decided to make another un-informed detour to Kolkata – this time by bus. After a few zigs and zags, I finally made it to the border and crossed to get ahead of the floods. The two-day journey took four days, exhausted all my supplies of cash and wiped out my energy reserve. Twenty-five years later, it is probably no accident that I sometimes get nightmares trying to forecast floods using science, models and satellites.
I’m Faisal Hossain and I am a flood chaser who gets his inspiration for science watching Indiana Hossain getting chased down by giant boulders.