Dimpu Baruah could be your average twenty-something-year-old from anywhere in semi-urban India. He does Sunday afternoon picnics in the countryside with his friends, loves his long-distance bike-rides, is always looking for opportunities to have fun – and makes sure he puts all of it up on social media.

But he is far from average. He is Assam’s most popular YouTuber – his two channels have over 2.5 million subscribers combined – and is already a raging sensation in the state and among the Assamese diaspora abroad. His rustic charm has fans across age groups.

I discovered Dimpu – as everyone calls him – quite late, during the lockdown as he “visited” homes of non-resident Assamese people across the world.

Dimpu had found his escape through a video editing software – and I, through him. He took me everywhere during the lockdown, from Chicago to Chester to Verona. Stuck in my room where I worked and slept and Zoom-ed, Dimpu’s outings were my breaks too. And from the comments section on YouTube, it was apparent I was not the only one who felt that way.

In November, Dimpu did the real thing finally. He rode his bike to Guwahati, then got on a plane to Dubai where he drove in a Mustang. The pandemic is far from over, but Dimpu’s escapades helped me escape grim reality one more time.