Saturday, 6 February 2010

These times are frustrating, amazing and fun!

This photo is particularly for Tom and Matt. There is another animal picture later in this posting. This lizard we saw as we left the Solar kitchen after lunch the other day. Question: is this a lizard or a gheko? Does anyone know?

So, as the title says it has been a bit frustrating at times, but hey, this is good because when things go well we really appreciate them. Being in India is the biggest lesson in being patient and always smiling no matter what is thrown at you. This is a very salutary lesson for us Westerner's and one which is being repeated to us on a daily basis.

We liked the blackboard proverb to the entrance of the Solar Kitchen the other lunchtime: all things come to he who waits patiently.


This is a photo of a typical lunchtime at the solar kitchen, sandals and shoes of the diners. The bikes all lined up is a typical sight here in India.

So, we are very happy living in Creativity. Its  a warm and very friendly environment. Our fellow apartment dwellers are great, we like them all very much.We have been given lots of top India survival tips and Geraldine and Andrea are helping us improve our very poor French. It is a sad fact that us Brits generally are so poor at languages, it makes me feel pretty embarrassed to be honest. The children here in Auroville and its catchment villages all learn, Tamil, San script, French and English which is taught from when they start Kindergarten.

On Thursday we have after a very exhausting and intensely frustrating day secured a scooter. This was also the first time I have ridden as the second pillion passenger on anything with two wheels. There was Kumar the driver, a young grease monkey in the middle and me. This is how I was taken to collect the scooter, I felt very, very nervous but all was fine and we arrived unscathed. Hiring the bike however took the whole morning!! Talking of things we have seen on bikes (Becca and Carys I am sure can add to the list) are:

1. whole familes; dad drives, child sits behind and mum on the back. Small children sit cross legged in front of the driver on the fuel tank;

2. calor gas bottles, largish ones too;

3. solar panels;

4. wood and or scrap metal;

5. computer stacks;

6. and lots of shopping.

Yep, Kumar first of all showed me a scooter with no headlight then he showed me a scooter which seemed to be almost ok which we ended up having, it was either that or nothing!!

This scooter though was not in good nick. No horn for a start, you cannot drive around in India without a horn. You use this bit of kit every time you overtake anything to warn them that you are about to pass. At night you also flash and beep! And always drive with full beam! Interestingly in the mad chaos which is driving in India everyone seems courteous and calm. We have not seen anyone at all anywhere get angry, early days I know, lets hope the tranquil peace continues.

Our old scooter!

Anyway, to cut a long story short we now have swapped our pile of junk for a very good scooter yesterday morning, and hey everything works, well apart from the speedometer which is normal apparently.

The scooter is good and our first major excursion was going to a Brazillian night last night at a place called Sadhana Forest. We wanted to be there at 4.30PM for the tour and talk on their current projects. Unfortunately we got confused and drove to a place called Sedartha Forest and surprised the Anna a guest living there. Happily she was going to Sadhana and she showed us on the map how to get there. It was quite a way from where we were and we would need to travel on the main Pondy road. The small roads were busy enough. packed with school buses and taxis and scooters, motor bikes and cycles.

We decided to drive back home and walk the short distance to the Solar Kitchen and get the coaches which were leaving at 6PM. We were glad we did this because that Pondy road looked treacherous to me a novice and nervous scooter driver.

The Brazillian night was brilliant and the whole night was themed on Capperio, this is a black dance/martial art that at first looks like break dancing. It is closely linked with Salsa. Actually it is totally different and is a spiritual and real way that black enslaved people practised ways to fight and rebel against their slave masters. Capperio is huge in Brazil and is taught in schools and various Academies.

So on arrival we heard drums and there were people doing Capperio outside. The buildings at Sadhana are massive thatched bamboo structures. There must have been about 300 plus people. We all sat down and watched a film on Capperio and then we were all fed. The whole night was free! The community at Sedahna is comprised of mainly young people all late teens and early - late twenties. There are about 150 people living and working there from all over the world.

To continue this culotural theme we went to the theatre on Wednesday night. The Auditorium is called the Sri Arobindo, Bharat Nivas. It is truely stunning!! It was built in the 90's and is a triumph architecturally. It holds up to 850 people is air conditioned with amazingly comforatble adjustable seats. It is the largest Auditorium in Southern India. We saw a dance troupe led by Aditi Mangaldas. It was a stunningly beautiful combination of classical and contemporary Indian dance. The place was packed. Again the age range was 2/3- 80 years plus. Again it was all free!!

At the end of the evening we all left and it was kinda crazy cos old and young all got on their motor bikes and headed off up the dusty drift road that leads to this wonderful modern building.

Auroville is pretty much a hidden township. magnificent buildings are tucked away down dirt tracks surrounded by lush forest, wonderful!
A frog amongst the strewn petals on the steps to the Sri Aribindo theatre.

Yesterday we went to Solitude Farm and were shown round by a lovely guy whose name we forget. Solitude is 12 acres in size and provides food which is grown organically using permaculture principles for Auroville. This time of the year Solitude is 70-80% self sufficient and is a self sustaining business! We were so impressed that next Monday we are going to work there, our payment a delicious lunch!

Photos of Solitude (Becca and Carys we thought you would like these.

Bye for now 

Love Marc and Rae XX


  1. hi dad it is tom i like your scooter how fast does it go?my performance went really well today but we only did one song we got a a lot of praise and a few fans. chat soon

  2. Hi guys! WOW I am so impressed, the blog is fantastic (and making me feel guilty about not updating ours!) You have had so many adventures already! I do understand how frustrating it can all feel sometimes but you learn to adapt in time and love it! Bizarre to see pics of you guys in all the places we have been, I miss Auroville!

    Lots of love to you both, Becca xxx

    Oh and to add to the list of things I have seen on scooters: A huge pig! (strapped on its back) and 10 double mattresses! Not at the same time as the pig mind!