There is an an old piece of weather folklore that notes “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailor’s warning”. Red sky at morning is said to signal rain.” But what about red rain?
I have always loved the Peter Gabriel song of Red Rain. It is haunting and melodic and is an easy earworm to live with. I was listening to that song this morning during my new exercise routine. This particular song doesn’t really get me pumped up and burning off those calories that are bogging me down but it gets me into a solid running groove. As I dream of red rain, I got to thinking about whether red rain is real. I mean I have seen locusts descend like mad onto certain regions. Which is disgusting by the way. The sound of constant crunching underfoot is quite revolting. However, has red rain descended upon us as well?
Well, back in 1896 in India -Kerala to be exact- there was a reported red rainstorm. How serendipitous that the red rain has poured down over Kerala as I have wanted to travel there since it was featured in a special National Geographic top 50 places of a lifetime to visit. What is even cooler than the 1896 red rain is that it rained red again in Kerala in 2001 and 2012. The rain that many have hypothesized could be the result of divine intervention or extraterrestrial life forms coming down to earth, has left stained bedsheets, sidewalks and animals behind. Apparently the red rain eerily looks like blood giving a new meaning to blood bath. Such a possible sight, makes me want to run outside in such a red rainstorm and jump in all the puddles. Of course, if it looks too much like blood, I would probably pass out half way through my puddle jumping, from a major drop in blood pressure (and vasovagal syncope) as I suffer from hemophobia. Admittedly, however, I did not pass out during the big blood scene in Interview with a Vampire. I did get woozy but managed to stay upright. Thus, I can probably handle some bloody red rain.
Now what has caused this red rain to fall in Kerala? Some recent conjectures speculated that the red rain was a result of a meteor burst. Some have believed that it has been divine intervention. Others have wholeheartedly believed it is a form of alien invasion. I Not just mere everyday people, mind you. Professors from Mahatma Gandhi University publicly proposed that the red rain was the result of alien invasion. Well, more that the red rain is a form of extraterrestrial life form. According to witness reports, as noted in the India Today, wells disappeared in some places while they appeared in others and trees turned grey. Obviously, it was not the end of times, but assuredly many felt at that point, that red rain could very well be said harbinger. Especially as the red rain was supposedly preceded by a thunderclap and flashes of light. Orchestrated red rain? Who is doing the orchestration?
Recently, scientists have found “evidence” that that the red rain is a seasonal local environmental feature caused by algal spores. Boring! Can we get some scientists to work on a more thrilling set of findings? Isn’t that how we do science these days anyway?
Now Kerala is not the only place to have had red rain fall from above . But it surely seems the most mysterious in a place of immense beauty. As such, I must one day make my way to Kerala! Luckily, according to scientists, the red rainwater is perfectly potable, “even for vegetarians”. Why the emphasis on vegetarians befuddles me. Although, I suppose there is the underlying nod to the possibility that the red rain is a little something more than algal spores. Next time you can, go dancing in the red rain and give it a taste.