Far away, the Sutro TV tower was hardly visible in the haze of rain.

“So, this is what you were talking about in the morning? I thought it was the other calculation. You are right!”. You suddenly feel happy and detect the smugness creeping to your face. I was right, I told you so, you want to say. But you don’t. “Not today! The smugness will have to die.”

As the thick rain drops fall on your naked torso, causing that ever so little note of pain that you have come to like and seek, you roll the muddy football under your feet and look up. Hands go up on the right flank and the young lad hugging his touch line is impatient and the wave of his hands are frantic. You turn your head and survey the left flank. Nothing going there, you quickly realise.

“We should focus on the lazy load. That will give us more boost.” You node and look away, to the beads of rain crawling down the window pane.

The lofted ball is a tough one when playing in mud and rain, and you know you have to make that extra push. So you dig deeper, connect your instep with the ball and push a little bit harder. The ball flies, over the old man caught in the middle; and the expression on the face of the young lad on the right flank changes from frantic impatience to anticipation. And then you feel the warm body behind you.

“So do you think we should go ahead with the first approach?”. You turn in your chair, nod again and notice that the rain is in full fury over the Bay.

As the ball flies away and you begin to turn and run, you feel the cold hard foot of the lad behind you on your right calf muscle. You feel the pain and turn to face him. “Oh, that lad! He always has his knives out when he plays against me.”, you realise. It is okay. He smiles, and you smile back and run away to the centre.

“Hmmm… this does not look like the right approach. What do you think?” You try harder to snap back from that Monsoon day in the paddy field and offer your opinion. It is cold and you notice that water on the roof is starting to flow.

“Not today. I don’t want to have an argument today”. He tackled, he tackled late, and he probably did it deliberately. It is okay - because it is June, it is raining like mad and you are in a muddy paddy field, playing football. Over on the right flank, the cousin lunges in with a sliding tackle and completely misses the player and the ball. He goes sliding in the mud, and it is a pretty sight. The sister-in-law would not be happy though and when we get back she will glare at him - glares of disapproval. Why do grown up men do this? And then as you try to avoid eye contact with her, her glare would have asked you “Is this what you fly half way across the world for?”. You will smile that nervous smile and nod uneasily. “Not today sister… I am not going to argue with you!”. For it is June and it is raining…

“I think we are stuck. What do you think we should do?”. You painfully realise that the present wants you back. Damn!

“Hey, let’s step back and look at it again. We will sort it out!”

If you have questions or comments about this blog post, you can get in touch with me on Twitter @sdqali.