In October 1996, I boarded a flight from Delhi to Calcutta. I was returning after attending a meeting I had been invited to, for planning a research study on urban poverty in India. It was evening, the sky was dark. As the plane took off, I looked out of the window. The city of Delhi lay below, all lit up. As I looked, trying to discern the lay-out of the city, I thought of Rajghat, and tried to spot that, and then thought of the sight from above, like this, at the time of Mahatma Gandhi’s funeral procession. As the plane rose higher and I lifted my head away from the ground below, low over the horizon was a bright star. A star, so far away, what we see is something from the distant past, a memory … And I thought, like remembering Mahatma Gandhi, so far away … like a star…
I dwelt in a rich wash of profound reflection. On the reverse of my boarding pass I wrote:
Starlight, like remembrance, weaving constellations of tales
Floating in immensity.
The human experience, a great Milky Way.
Life and the universe, mind and material,
One mirroring the other,
In infinite rounds of resonance.