Monday, April 09, 2007

Just left Auroville yesterday. I spent a total of two weeks just relaxing and working on an organic farm there. My weekdays consisted of getting up at six o'clock, starting work at 6:15 then weeding or planting or mulching various plants until 9 am, then it was breakfast. We were served a different rice dish every morning...usually either curd rice or dal rice. From there the rest of the day was free. I was living in a "capsule" with my friend Sahil. The accommodation was very basic. It was a little cabin on stilts, made of bamboo and such. No electricity, and the restrooms consisted of squat toilets and bucket showers. This may not sound tempting, but the atmosphere and cleanliness of the place was excellent. I could have stayed there longer. Met some really nice people and basically just chilled out for two weeks.
Auroville's really spaced out, so we soon realized that the rickety bikes we rented weren't going to be a good way to get around for two weeks...especially at night without a headlight, so we rented a moped. Auroville is more of a village than anything. It's full of spiritually minded westerners who want to live "free of politics". There is no voting in Auroville, so what they do is appoint a selections committee to choose the next governor or whatever the term for it is they use...only problem is how you select the selections committee without voting. They decided that going door to door and getting people to select via petition was a good way of doing it...one that would follow the wishes of "THE MOTHER". Did I mention that I think something very sinister is going on behind closed doors in this town? THE MOTHER is the deceased founder of Auroville. Her picture is everywhere. It's creepy. Also, in the center of town is "Matrimundeer" which is a giant golden golf ball. Inside the golf ball is the world's largest crystal which sends rays of light cascading from the ceiling across the walls of the completely white "inner chamber". In order to get into the golf ball you have to first go through various people who send you in circles back and forth for a while. Actually before that you need to be upgraded from visitor status to guest status. In order to do that, you have to be staying in Auroville for a certain period of time...I think. So you need a guest card. Then when you finally present your guest card to the right people and tell them that you want to visit the golf ball (did I mention that I think the golf ball is their spaceship?) you have to make an appointment for the next day. You do so by calling them and booking. You can only visit during the designated 2 hours a day...I think it was two hours...so many details. If you don't do this, then you can present your guest card at the gate during two designated periods each day, and you can get within around 60 meters of the golf ball. But you MUST stay behind the rope. So, yeah...needless to say Sahil and I lacked the necessary organization skills to get into the "inner chamber", so we had to stay behind the rope. We contemplated running towards the ball, but then figured that some spaceships are best to remain mysteries.
Mopeds played a large part of the two weeks. We had a total of 5 flat tires, 2 runnings out of gas, 2 cases of headlight going outings, 1 lost gas tank lid and one case of stick droppings into the gas tank...my bad...just wanted to avoid another runnings out of gas.
The most entertaining of these issues was probably one of the times our headlight went out. I was driving us to a techno party in the forest somewhere. We had to follow the sound of the music to find our way, which proved to be a challenge as we had to drive through narrow and winding forest paths to get there. Our headlamp went out right in the middle of this. I had to drive the moped through the forest at night with the aid of two very weak flashlights which Sahli shined over my shoulders. Every now and again, a strategically placed candle, set in place by the party organizers would guide us. After the party, we had to do the whole thing in reverse, plus find our way back to the farm...keep in mind that there are no streetlights in Auroville either...probably another one of THE MOTHER's wonderful ideas.
Another interesting moped ride was when we drove to Pondicherry (spelled Puducheri...I think) to get Sahil to a bar to watch the cricket match. Driving in big cities here is absolute chaos. Whereas in western society, the horn is used as a warning, or release of aggression, in India (as well as Nepal) it's used to denote your position on the road...this means that everyone honks all the time. Also, traffic rules seem to be ignored in place of the rules of chaos theory. People will swerve into oncoming traffic in order to pass people in front of them. Their only defense against seemingly certain death is the ever sounding horn. So, when in Rome...I was laying on the horn the entire way. Also, we didn't know where we were going, and didn't have a map, so it was an interesting trip. Ended up paying a rickshaw driver ten rupee to show us the way.
The people we met in Auroville made it really special as well. I don't think I've been in a place that's as chilled out as Auroville. When we first arrived, Sahil and I didn't know how to take it, but soon found ourselves sucked into it, and gradually becoming one with the chillness.
Anyway, good times all in all. We also went to the beach and ate lots of cheap cake.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Janet said...

Very interesting...reminds me of the plot of a Margaret Atwood novel...yet to be published...this Auroville. Watch your back :)

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salut, ça fait longtemps que je n'ai pas un moment pour écrire, car très occupée entre le voyage à Paris et les visites à mamie...
Ta lettre a été lue par toutes les infirmières de la clinique car je l'avais imprimée pour mamie et je lui ai portée....Elle voulait que tout le monde sache que tu es en Inde et que tu penses à elle.. Bien sur elle t'envoie des tonnes de bises... Elle va mieux..
Alors tu as fini de planter des laitues dans la ferme et te voilà reparti vers Hampi j'espère que tu passeras aussi du bon temps dans ta nouvelle destination avec une cabane propre pour dormir!!! Bon appetit pour le riz du matin... Est-ce-que tu ne rêves pas de pancakes ?? ou de peanut butter?? ahah!!!
Je vais maintenant regarder sur internetHampi voir où tu vas et j'espère ne pas rester trop longtemps sans faire de commentaires. Bisous de tante Josée

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cake...did someone mention cake.. and cheap cake at that? Was there anything else written in the latest blog entry? If so, it's a blur. All I remember about it is CAKE!!!

Love,
Mommy

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As usual your adventures seem to be drug induced. Your stay on the farm sounds like just the ticket to rejuvenate yourself for the next adventure.Why is that weirdness of all kinds follow your every move? It must be something cosmic. Well, my boy has returned safe and sound and it was great to have him in my arms. Now I will just look forward to wrapping my arms around my Justin. Seems like forever since a good Justin hug. So be warned in advance that I am expecting either one terrific hug or a series of not so terrific hugs. Your choice!
Love you
Belle

5:34 PM  
Blogger Kristi M B said...

Yo, Sanchez
Sounds like you're having an awesome time. Janet is wrong though, it's not Atwood, it's X-Files. And they worship an alien slug who they believe is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Also, they catch their guests and insert the slug into their spines to play host to the beast. It's a good thing you didn't get into the golf ball.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Justin,je suis allée à Hampi (par internet) et c'est très pittoresque!! Si tu es déjà là tu dois sûrement visiter plein de monuments.. Quelle chance... ça serait bien pour nous de voir encore des photos sur ton blog..
Continue bien tes Aventures et... sois aussi prudent...
Bises des arbiol's

1:13 AM  
Blogger Justin said...

Janet,
It's exactly like an Atwood novel. I think that if I would have entered the golden golf ball during non visiting hours I would have found them performing some strange animal sacrifices in there, or something equally sinister.

Josee,
Je suis bien content que Mami va mieux. Quelle temps dur pour vous.
Hampi etait fantastique...j'ecrirai plus tard as propos. En fait, j'ai achete du penut butter, et il y a beaucoup de pancakes et de pain frit ici...la plus part de la nourriture est pain frit.

Mother,
Yeah, Cake is one of the things I remember most too. That and flat tires and beaches and cake.

Shelley,
The farm was a great place to rejuvenate. As for weirdness...normally I'm not sure why...maybe I like it, so it just materializes. Also though, normal people staying in Auroville probably wouldn't have found it as strange as me...I just enjoy searching for the truth, rather than accepting the place as it appears on the surface...others might have thought it was just a normal giant gold golf ball. As for hugs, you can have several terrific ones if you like (as I only offer the one kind), but so you know I've started marketing them now...but I'll give you a good deal cause your family.
As for drug induced...ummm...

Kristi,
After reviewing your theory, I've found much evidence to coincide with it. I think you're right...and a friend of mine was complaining about an itchy spine before I left. Hope he's ok... I'm sure he'll be just fine.

1:57 AM  
Blogger your friends in Japan said...

Interesting, but sorely lacking in detail. WHAT KIND OF CAKE WAS IT???

It reminds me of the plot of a Justin Sanchez movie. I can't wait to see what script is borne out of these adventures!

-ian

8:49 AM  

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