Yesterday was interesting.

I had told someone I would meet them for a drink post work, and so we (Niket and I) headed out of work around 7pm. Got to the lobby and saw that it was raining cats and dogs outside. Typically tropical torrential rains. Called the driver, no signal. Waited for a few minutes and then decided to head to the main gate and see if he was parked there. The main gate was about a hundred meters away and in that time we were fully drenched. Got to the gate, looked for the driver, no dice. Now we were faced with an interesting choice. Should we stand here and keep getting soaked or walk to the hotel which was slightly less than a kilometer away? Men of action that we are, we decided on the latter option!

Now the fun began. The road to the hotel was completely blocked with cars end to end. Almost nothing was moving. The sidewalk disappeared in a block and so now we were weaving through the cars. The road sort of disappeared in a bit too, water started seeping through our shoes. We were soaked by now. And my laptop bag was more like a water bottle. Jump, weave, side shuffle, wipe water off glasses, repeat. Swerve, avoid that car, hold on to the lamppost, jump, we shuffled along like ballet dancers on a hot tin roof. And then instinct took over.

I remembered growing up in Bombay when the monsoon would hit. It would be like a wall of water hit the city and the rain would keep going on for days. My mother would pack our school bag in a large plastic bag and we would forge bravely into what felt like an unending lake to walk to school. The first hour of school would involve drying various things — Boots, clothes, books, bag, you name it. There used to be a slightly musty air around things. Everything was slightly wet all the time. Lights would be on all day since the cloud cover would make it so dark. We would skip rocks in puddles on the way back home, play with earthworms, jump from rock to rock trying to cross an inundated road. Sometimes, the area around my house would be so waterlogged, we would wade through it with bags on our heads. I remember sitting at the window in the evenings, praying, hoping that the rain would abate so I could go play soccer in the water sloshed fields. More often than not, I would be denied.

I guess carrying a laptop bag on my head and weaving through traffic in a muddy Bangalore road is nothing. I have done this for years when I was growing up. Perhaps this is what they mean by going back to where you come from…

Week in. And it all feels different.