Churchgate isn’t very far, but it seemed awfully far on that damp and dark night.
We knew he stayed back but then he moved to get home. A mistake?
The phone rang. I’m taking a bus till the station he said.
Another ring. The bus stopped and I got down he said.
Another ring. There’s water till my chest and I’m walking home, said the 5’10” tall father of mine.
No ring and the phone died.
That night he walked along with numerous others who formed a human chain and kept walking through the night.
He made it home after twelve hours of walking in the muddy water.
The beige color of his shirt now gray, Ma washed it over a couple of times, it remained the same.
Dad said let it be and never spoke of it again.
We don’t know what he faced that night, but we saw fear and hope that overcame it.
That night, this city, endured and came out every bit stronger than it was the morning before.
Now every monsoon, different than the last, we’re asked to come home straight, for we don’t know which night may turn darker than the last.