Weekend-off in Pondicherry

Sunday, April. 26, 11:34 PM
Sahdana Forest, Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India

neon cotton candy at the beach
neon cotton candy at the beach

There’s nothing like a great weekend to restore balance. Arriving on Monday morning, it’s been a long and hard week, filled with good work, much learning, evenings and nights full of activity, constant socializing, and countless spells of deep thought/reflection/contemplation/extroversion/introspection and speculation. By Friday night, I was wiped out. By mid-afternoon, I was taking a nap in the children’s loft (the breeziest place I know of here in the forest). My rest was short and sweet, but I roused myself to go listen to Aviram’s Introduction to the Forest Tour, which he was giving to all the new volunteers and the 20 or so visitors who came for Movie Night. I helped serve the big meal, we watched Crude Awakening, a great film about the impending end of the Age of Fossil Fuels, and afterwards, and positively rejuvenated by the tour, in which we walked all around the compound and into the forest, when I first truly gained a deep appreciation for the scope and progress of this place in only 5 years, I then hopped on a new friend’s scooter & we went to Auroville for a reggae dance party (coming home at nearly 1am, a super-late night for us!)

Saturday was sort of lazy, and I felt kind of unproductive (which was a weird feeling), but by the end of the day after talking to some friends who had napped for most of the afternoon, I realized that I’m already quite immersed in life here I’m really part of the community and I did in fact have a full day (including the relaxation, which was a key activity!) I woke-up naturally at 5:55, five minutes before what would be our morning wake-up call (one or 2 people who go around singing from hut to hut at 6am), and I don’t even have an alarm clock (R.I.P., iPhone!) I looked-out to see the rising sun poking through the mist, scowled at it (as well as my own body clock for being so well trained in only 5 days), found and slipped on my eye mask, and forced myself to sleep until about 9. In a haze I wandered down into the main hut, just in time for brunch, so sleepy that I can barely remember it except for the battle with my eyelids and my complete lack of conversation. Afterwards I flipped through a book on meditations, tried to pick-up some tips on visiting other worlds, seeing the future, and healing myself and my friends. By the end of it I knew the only thing to do was to drag myself back up to the children’s loft (my new favorite place) for a nap. Upon waking, feeling much more human, I walked around from hut to hut, scouting for a new ‘bedroom’ to share with Amy upon her imminent arrival this week, and found some new arrivals, a couple whom I chatted with for an hour, just off their trip through SE Asia, yippee!) Then I showered, washed my hair for the first time this week (I’ve been bathing in the mud pool!), did laundry, ate leftover porridge on the kitchen floor, got a free haircut from my Irish roommate Anne-Marie, helped Lasse stir the poo in the dry toilets (this is really cool, but I’ll explain it in another entry, when I detail some of the eco-friendly aspects of the forest), I fed the dogs, checked my email and found a letter from Amy, announcing her arrival here in two days! I had many duties in the kitchen this weekend, so I spent the evening cleaning up from amazing “American night” dinner and doing some general chilling.

at first i thought these were Siamese bugs. then i realized they were just doin' it.
at first i thought these were Siamese bugs. then i realized they were just doin' it.
i saw so much wildlife today... love bugs (doin' it!), sea turtles (representing, sadly, in the aquarium), liards slithering like snakes, and bats pirating a tree form some birds. Pondi is wild!IMG_5636IMG_5668
i saw so much wildlife today... a magnificent (and lonely) sea turtle at the aquarium, lizards slithering like snakes, and bats pirating a tree from some birds. Pondi is wild!

Today was a blast. With my team of four, I cooked breakfast, cleaned-up, claimed a sweet ‘room’ for Amy and I in another hut where a Portuguese family will be departing on Tuesday (perfect). Then I took a ride on the moped with my three friends (two Indian girls from Gujurat and my boy Lionel from Belgium) to Puducherry, the nearest city, for an afternoon field trip of culinary delights: quiche, tofu salad, fish fingers, ice cream, beer my first in over a month, and finally a COLD COFFEE. The coffee was actually my one and only goal for the day, my first chance to get my “fix” all week! We went to the best hotel we could find, sat in the really nicely air-conditioned restaurant looking out onto the Bay of Bengal, and relished the delicacy. Afterwards we attempted to jump into the swanky pool with fountains and waterfalls, but the guard busted us just before we got in. Leo and I had to take-off shortly after, as he had dog-feeding duties back in the forest, and what an adventure that was! About 1/2 way home the old moped made a loud sound and stopped. Some folks told us to give her a 10 min. rest, but as soon as we were riding again she choked again. Since we were no more than a few kilometers from home, I suggested we just walk her back. Really, walking the bike back for an hour was virtually no task at all, when compared with cycling up a mountain with my fully-loaded touring bicycle! So we enjoyed ourselves, laughed a lot, and when some friends pulled-up to see if we were ok and to reminded us about the big town meeting at 5:30, we hopped back on and made it home just fine, puttering along at 20km/hr.

The meeting was really fantastic. (Damn it’s 1am on a work night so I must summarize!) We chose our jobs for the week, people announced workshops they’d be giving, we did a big group introduction, one by one (to acquaint and re-acquaint all the fluctuating population, 38 at present), and then we had Massage Bonanza, followed-by a bonfire out by the mud pool, and swimming. I must say, it’s one of those magical situations where it’s just right, we’re all so happy to be here, and everyone feels like family. So yes, I love it here. Every-thing’s gravy. I have a really good feeling about Amy coming, about us sharing some time here, and about making some new plans. Where I stand, in the forest, life couldn’t seem more perfect.

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One thought on “Weekend-off in Pondicherry”

  1. damn you Anthony! I should have gone with you to Auroville!!!!!! right now at the moment, it doesn’t make sense at all I went back home….. arghhh….
    everything here is so same,same with people living their lives through slavery work and parties….hmmm….guess I just have to use all my energy on positive thinking! think about the woman in yellow….haha…from the sivananda ashram….

    well….HAVE FUN! and take care
    ***J

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