01.04 oro in auroville

yesterday i went to auroville, a town which lies 12 km north of pondicherry. ranjith gave me a lift there on the back of his motorcycle. now i want a bike for myself!

back to reality. auroville is a manufactured town, designed in the vision of "the mother". the goal or purpose is to realise human unity in diversity. of the 1,700 people who live in auroville, 1/3 are from india, the rest from all over the world. i had envisioned auroville to be a massive hippie commune, even though its endorsed and backed by UNESCO. my perceptions were bang on.

the layout of the town is a microcosmic representation of a galaxy, the matrimandir - or the soul of the city - at the centre. the path to the matrimandir begins at a humungous banyan tree, which has many pillar-like branches that have grown back down to the ground. the tree will eventually be one solid mass of wood.

emerging from the path of plants from all over the world is a giant amphitheatre, with a cement urn podium containing soil from 124 countries (ah diversity). what looks like a giant golden golf ball, the matrimandir itself, floats up, seemingly held in place by the red stone beneath.

the matrimandir is closed so off for the beach! back on the bike for a trecherous ride. ranjith slowed to a snail's pace to negotiate the bike over and around giant rocks and got caught in mud fields. thoughts of cracking my skull on the rocks or being swallowed up in quicksand floated through my head. but ranjith is an accomplished motorcyclist. we made it to aurobeach totally intact.

here is where i decided to skip my afternoon at the school for perfect eyesight. having raided nehru street in pondi earlier in the day, i came prepared with my boy-shorts and tank. any woman in the ocean will get ogled like crazy. blind bat that i am doesn't really care, but i had been chastized by some rude indian women at the ashram guest house for wearing a knee-length skirt (they talked about me out loud as they stood right next to me, so obviously bending to give my skirted ass some old fashioned cut-eye). now that's what i call shameless!

but i wasn't going to give up the salt water for some old hags. the water was divine. the waves, kind. i stayed until the sun started to come down and hunger set in. i swear my eyesight improved that afternoon in leaps and bounds!

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