O.M.G. Salad greens! Kombucha! Tuna salad sandwich on wheat bread! Glorious foods I have consumed here in Auroville, the first stop for Poni and I on our brief tour of southern India after months in Mysore. Auroville is a self-described "Divine anarchy" where people from all over the world have worked to create a sustainable community that is not based on religion, but rather a unifying consciousness of the divine. Based on the ideas of two people, Sri Aurobindo and someone known as "the Mother", and founded in 1968, this community seems to be a visionary success, if not a bit angsty and cultish. Indian people make up about forty percent of the population, the rest mostly white or Western. People wear miniskirts here and get all touchy-feely in public. They eat at a giant solar kitchen and meditate in a bulbous temple dubbed the Matri Mandir, a structure straight out of the heart of what I imagine the late sixties to have been like.
Not only have Poni and I had amazing raw, vegan, organic, and completely non-Indian Western hippie foods in abundance, but we have also seen the BEACH, and a beautiful ashram in the city of Pondicherry, a quaint and very French-influenced town about ten miles outside of Auroville. Our guide, and Poni's longtime friend, Ethan, has been showing us around when he has time outside of his busy schedule at the Youth Camp he teaches environmental science at. The "youths" are spirited American college students with idealism glittering in their eyes. They and their camp (and subsequently Poni and I as well for the past few days) are kept clean and extremely well fed by the Tamil Indian folks working here. Much of the grunt work in Auroville, it seems, is done by Indian hands, which is no doubt a subject of constant moral debate for the rest of the community. I am feeling quite at home here, gobbling herbal energy ladus and fruit keifer drinks, Poni and I debating the debatability of the term "anarchy" as it has been applied here, and being constantly reminded of my glorious days at Fairhaven College in Bellingham, where I too once had idyllic glittering eyes and a fierce passion for unity, knowledge, progressive thinking, and what have you. Not that I don't still feel that way now, I just feel a whole bunch of other things as well.
It has been a lovely stay for the most part, but the time has inevitably flown, and we are preparing to leave tomorrow, much to the chagrin of Poni, who has fallen digestively ill again, and will be missing his friend Ethan, who has been a refreshing figure in our travel adventures.
As the moon wanes yet again, I find myself dreaming of family and of babies I might have one day, and missing my friends harder than ever. I have dreams congealing in my heart for the chapter of my life which will directly follow India. All plans of the past have been weeded thoroughly and all new ones have begun to flourish in their place. I have been sleeping and sleeping and sleeping, and meditating and meditating and meditating. I taught some more yoga to a few folks the other day as well, which may have been my first experience teaching anything at all to a group of folks. It was really fun and taught me a lot about...teaching.
Next we head to the state of Kerala and the very tip of India (which is still in Tamil Nadu) to see some amazing sunsets/rises. We plan to spend most of our time on the beach, and possibly on houseboats in the backwaters, and most certainly eating more amazing food, though perhaps not quite as hippie fresh as the foods of the past few days.