Humans and microbes are interdependent. Humans are often the hosts, but so too are animals, plants and nature generally. In the main, these relationships are beneficial and harmless.

Linguistically we might cling to the word ‘destination’ or its plural, ‘destinations’ which holds out the hope for a plurality of ends, but I am afraid we are fated to face that old enemy: destiny.

It dawned on me, very late in life, that one must value the role of education in one’s life. Yes, I did attend school in South Africa, did my homework, got decent grades, but for the most part it was a perfunctory performance and drudgery.

The Iranian revolution made me giddy. I was a theological student at the Nadwatul Ulama seminary in India at the time, and barely twenty-one. My optimism about the revolution met cold blasts of Sunni pessimism from the teachers and leadership of the madrasa who were deeply hostile to Ayatollah Khomeini’s ‘Shia’ – ‘not Islamic’ – revolution.