It’s midnight somewhere over Northern India, yet we have no way of verifying this small piece of information. We can tell neither our location nor the time in which we stand, other than in relying upon the data transmitted by the small screen lying directly ahead.

Warped in our metal capsule we reach a height of irrelevance for what lies below, when. It’s midnight, sure. But not for us, not quite anyhow. Suddenly, abruptly, the thick layer of clouds beneath us gives way to the infinite, pitch black horizon of the night and begins to unveil the initially unintelligible ground surface underneath. Gradually, the all-too-familiar constellation-like light formation of a city makes its appearance. Single light threads depart from the city to reach out to its North and into to a vastly dim light cloud glowing over the edge of our line of sight.

The view is mesmerising: a city ― Jaipur, tells us our ever-knowing screen ― with all its universally encountered light formation, this ever-present illuminated nexus put together by two innermost needs that make cities in the first place. Our need to come together weaves the urban grid; and our need to then drive ourselves apart gives form to the road network (…)