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Meeting Moorcroft / Soulons & Worldlines

Can we actually meet people who lived and died decades before us?

Being born a Hindu – I could use the idea of ‘atma’ and soul to support the answer ‘Yes’ to the question above.

But I think my idea is slightly different…

I think that as we pass through life, we give a little and take a little from every object and every form of life that we interact with.

Just as light is transmitted through photons – that get absorbed or bounce back or go through either partially or wholly when they interact with any material…so also when our spirits interact with that of any other – object or life form, there is an exchange of spirit or Soul. For the sake of developing a parallel with the quantum concepts of physics, let’s call these infinitesimal packets that are exchanged ‘Soulons’. So when I embroider a cloth and work in complicated designs, I leave an indelible mark of my soul on that artwork … I leave on it a few Soulons. And that textile enters my mind forever ….and remains there in the form of another Soulon.

And therefore, what I am today is an integrated aggregate of all the experiences I’ve had – the things, the sights, the people, the sounds, the words, the thoughts and the feelings. The ‘I’ is one large aggregated mass of Soulons that were impressions from other entities … to form ME as I am today.

Here is a story to develop the idea of the Soulon….

So a few days ago I was in Himachal Pradesh as a regular tourist, on my way to see a perpetual flame that arises out of the Himalayan mountain foothills (more about that in another note). On the highway I see a man selling mountain salt directly out of his mini-truck to tourists like myself. The driver and I got out and examined the wares on sale. Black mountain salt & Pink mountain salt, some Multan clay and some alum. My interest lay mainly in the rocks of salt and we began talking about it. The driver of my car told me they buy the black salt for their goats and just leave the large chunk there and the goat licks as much as his body needs. We talked about Multan clay and how I knew a family that had migrated from a village in that region in 1947 (whose grandmother in those days would swim across the river that ran through the village – I was very impressed and shocked by the wrong ideas of backwardness and progress that have been fed to my brain – but that’s the subject of another note). I asked the seller where the two salts came from. But the seller did not know where it was mined as he just buys it from the market at Mandi to resell at a lucrative profit on the tourist-infested highway.

I bought large chunks of both the types of salt to carry back home and improve the purity-score of my diet. And since no answers were easily available, I put aside my curiosity regarding the Himalayan salt mines. Ever since I’d heard this idea of Himalayan salts, as a true skeptic, I had already doubted the idea of their existence – and brushed it off as a marketing gimmick. But it still tasted better than normal salt so it was worth adding to the enormous variety of spices in my Indian kitchen.

The salt packed away in the suitcase arrived home with me and was put away in the kitchen and forgotten.

Two days later I am back trying to settle once again into the routine of home-living and enjoying my morning cup of tea. As usual I pick up one of the 2-3 books lying around that I read simultaneously. The book I pick this morning is “Travels” by Moorcroft – written a hundred years ago. This book is his diary or journal… and is written as a series of interesting episodes. Though he writes them chronologically as a diary, to me, the order of the episodes is irrelevant as it does not build up. Such a writing offers me the luxury of randomness – the freedom to open to any random page and still be entertained by whatever I might find on that page.

And so I opened the book to a page that happened to be numbered 159.

And what do the pages contain? Moorcroft’s account of the salt mines in the exact region of the Himachal through which I had traveled.

And in this manner, William Moorcroft who traveled to Himachal Pradesh in the 1800s and through his research on the Himalayan salt mines in the Drang and Gumha area, left behind a bit of the Moorcroft Soulons there.

And a hundred years later, I passed by and touched and consumed the salt of those salt mines into which a few of his soulons had been infused.

Our world lines * had crossed.

And now my Soul – made up of countless soulons gathered across my life journey shall forever include the soulons of Moorcroft.

Naturally, through the same salt, I will have been impacted by those of the miners and traders and many others along the way – but those all remain anonymous and invisible to me. Whereas, the Moorcroft soulon exchange became known to me, through the serendipitous opening of the book to that specific page.


Forgive me if this note – with the total absence or art / culture – has been boring to read. But personally, I am struck by the coincidence and by the story behind the otherwise-bland topic of salt.


jm /

April 2023



It will only take a few seconds and will help me to grow.

jaina mishra

*World lines:

Each event can be labeled by four numbers: a time coordinate and three space coordinates.

So as you walk through life imagine you were to leave behind a ribbon that remains there forever. Imagine that you passed through the McDonalds at Changi airport in Singapore in 2007. And I come along to the same spot in 2023. Our world lines will cross but not meet. But if were to be at the same place at the same time, our world lines would also meet …[this is my basic understanding as explained to me by my theoretical physicist friend from TIFR many decades ago … there is probably much more to this than I understand.]

2 comments on “Meeting Moorcroft / Soulons & Worldlines

  1. hissette beatrice
    April 24, 2023

    This was so beautiful to read. Thank you.

  2. Stephanie Miller
    April 24, 2023

    Love love this!

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This entry was posted on April 24, 2023 by in Articles about Travel, Life Lessons and tagged , .



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