"Don't know how you all got here. You must have needed boats to get here," the US secretary of state John Kerry, who is in India for the second Indo-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, quipped to the 200-odd students who had assembled at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi to listen to him.
Mr Kerry was of course was referring to the heavy rain that had lashed the Indian capital on Wednesday morning, gridlocked traffic, and made the US secretary of state late for his talk by about an hour. (As anybody who lives in Delhi will tell you, it does not take much rain to bring the city to a dead stop. It rains, the roads get waterlogged, and traffic gets gridlocked.)
Mr Kerry was supposed to start speaking at 10 am. He was finally able to at 11, which is when he came up with the quip.
That however was not the end of his woes. Mr Kerry was today supposed to visit three places of worship -- the Gauri Shankar temple, the Jama Masjid, and the Gurdwara Sisganj Sahib -- in the old Delhi area at around 11 am today but the rains and the accompanying traffic forced him to call off his plans..
Kerry also talked about pluralism and democracy -- he had after all wanted to visit a temple , a mosque, and a gurudwara or a Sikh place of worship -- in his speech.
This has not been the first of Mr Kerry's traffic woes in India. He had found himself stuck in traffic for an hour when he landed on Monday night; the roads then too had been waterlogged.
Even should Mr Kerry have wanted to escape from his rain and traffic woes, he might have found that difficult too for the rains also led to a slight delay in flights taking off from Delhi airport.
Meanwhile, the met department has forecast rain through the day.