He may have retired from government service, but there is no retiring from science.
Till March 31, Yesudhas Eben Arumai Raj, popularly known as Y.E.A. Raj, served as deputy director-general of meteorology at the Regional Meteorological Centre in Chennai, and spent long hours tracking changing weather patterns and cyclones.
After over three decades in the meteorological department, Mr. Raj is content he was involved in the modernisation of prediction systems and also in outreach programmes to sensitise people about meteorology.
Daily weather reports in newspapers inspired him to take up a career in meteorology, he says.
All he needs now, he says, is a brief hiatus to pursue other passions, before he can spring back to his favourite subject — atmospheric sciences.
“I was not able to take up research work in meteorology because of long work hours. I will resume research in climatic change and the northeast monsoon, and attend international conferences,” says Mr. Raj, who has presented over 100 papers and authored a book on climatology.
During his five-year stint as deputy director-general of meteorology, Mr. Raj visited close to 95 per cent of the observatories in the region that comprises the Southern states and the Union territories of Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep Islands and Puducherry.
“Some of the observatories we have, like those in Minicoy and Agathi in Lakshadweep, are a century old and are now being upgraded,” he said.
Mr. Raj regards the establishment of a field maintenance station and exhibition centre in Kanyakumari, and the acquiring of space for Doppler weather radar in Karaikal as projects close to his heart.
A voracious reader, he now wishes to return to Tamil literature and spend more time listening to old film songs. “During hectic days, I found peace in the choir songs, accompanied by the 160-year-old pipe organ, at St. George Cathedral,” he says.
Weather prediction services have come a long way, he says. “The days we spent predicting Cyclone Thane and saving lives are still fresh in my memory. In 1994, when the internet was unheard of here, I spent the night in office, observing the crossing of a cyclone near Chennai,” says Mr. Raj, who has a PhD. in mathematics from IIT-Madras.