On our way to Pondicherry, where we wanted to meet Lee, from Sri Lanka, we got invited to an Indian wedding. At first it shocked us but then we got more and more intrigued to actually go there. But first let me say a word about Auroville and the closeby Sadhana Forest, where Lee volunteered for the past month. Sadhana forest is a project of reforestation on paper but in truth is actually so much more – an ongoing social experiment about an alternative way of life: a life in harmony with the nature, nurturing and growing the surroundings and accepting the sacredness of mother Earth.
A tour around the forest
Lee invited us to visit him there and so we did. We got a nice tour around the property by one of the long-term volunteers (I think his name was Mike ^^) showcasing the wonders of Saddhana forest in fluent verbose English, explaining the ideas and systems that make Sadhana forest a really special place. The stories he told absorbed all the people following him around to see the tour.
After that we ate some really good food, which had been cooked really energy efficient in a special woodfired stove before. We also watched a nice documentary about a social project in Nepal. The evening was completely wonderful and it was sooo nice (see what I did there?) to meet Lee once again. He is a really nice person to be around and by now a quite good friend of ours. Hopefully we will meet somewhere sometime again.
On the next day we wanted to visit Auroville but decided against it once we had our first glimpse of the visitors centre. This area was overrun by people, who wanted to see this city. It had everything a proper tourist attraction needed: super expensive cafès, guided tours… everything.
But we had a nice hotel room and nice conversations with the owner of the place. Still… To us all of it seemed to be totally against the original idea behind Auroville. A city based on trust and hard work in search of fulfillment. Without money, without the help of outsiders, self sustaining and enclosed. A new and revolutionary concept of living together as a community. The concept was to break free from capitalistic shackles and ideas like race, gender and class. So that individuals could pursue their own path to a better self and a better community.
Maybe those core ideas still live on. Somewhere inside the city, hidden away from the outside. Revealing themselves only after one spent more time there. Somehow we doubted that. But who are we to judge right? In the afternoon we left the area around Pondicherry to follow the invitation from the day before, towards another adventure.