Walking with a firefly on my balcony.

On the night before my last night in Uttarkashi, as I’m walking about on the balcony of my room, I see a firefly on the ground. He is walking around here and there, walking and glowing at the same time. It’s the first time that I’m seeing a firefly walking around and glowing. His light is blinking exactly like that of a plane. It is as if I’m on the airport control tower and watching a plane walk from the terminal towards the runway for takeoff.

A little plane, warm yellow lights blinking, looking for the runway in my dark balcony.

Suddenly, the firefly takes off and flies towards the grass and flower plants outside the balcony. Takes off without the runway and without having to run on the runway. Takes off like a helicopter, with lights blinking and in complete control.

A little plane blinking and flying over knee-high flower plants.

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A beautiful coincidence happened three days after I wrote the above in my drafts. As I love coincidences and think they are one of the most beautiful and magical things in life, I will always share them here, even if they look insignificant or dull to others. So here it goes:

Three days after I wrote the above, I was talking to my dearest friend Anjali about anime and Ghibli films (she loves anime), and she asked me to watch Grave of the Fireflies, made by Studio Ghibli in 1988. I had seen two Ghibli films before (Kiki’s Delivery Service and My Neighbour Totoro) and loved both deeply, but somehow never got around to seeing more of their films.

The very same day I finished watching Grave of the Fireflies. While watching the film, the following scene reminded me of what I had written three days ago. This is the scene where the teenager Seita and his younger sister Setsuko go for a pee and see a kamikaze plane blinking overhead.

For context, they are living in an abandoned bomb shelter near a pond surrounded by greenery and fireflies. They had been playing with and catching fireflies before this scene.

Screenshots from the Studio Ghibli film Grave of the Fireflies, 1988.Screenshots from the Studio Ghibli film Grave of the Fireflies, 1988.

Such beautiful imagination, isn’t it? I find certain affinities between Ghibli films and myself, in our ways of seeing and dreaming life. Setsuko saw a firefly in the kamikaze plane in the sky (in 1988), the way I saw a plane in the firefly walking about on my balcony before taking off (in 2022).

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None of this would have happened without the coincidental meetings of many people and things across time. None of this would have happened—

  • If I had not met Anjali, which was another wonderful coincidence that I will forever cherish.
  • If I did not go to Uttarkashi, and did not walk around on the balcony on that night.
  • If the firefly did not join me for a walk on the balcony.
  • If Studio Ghibli did not exist.
  • If Grave of the Fireflies was never made.
  • If Anjali and I did not talk about anime and she did not recommend this film.
  • If I did not watch the film.
  • If I watched the film but wasn’t smart enough to make the connections.

All of the above, and many more things, were necessary for this one coincidence to come into existence — how marvellous! This is why I love coincidences. I believe everything in life, including life itself, is coincidental. Here is to many more.

July 5, 2022