freedom, chains, apathy and corruption...Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India Tuesday, Dec 04, 2007 01:32 Entry 13 of 13 show all about Olivebranch
I’ve been in Auroville for a month now, and have just over another week to go...I have been slowly finding out about, and participating in, all sorts of things which I would have never had the chance, or motivation, to do at home. I’ll try and remember some the things I’ve been getting up to…- Most of my time, of course has been spent at the Udavi school, teaching my lovely class of 11-12 year-olds...The school is kind of run like a Steiner school, in that the subjects aren’t rigidly separated and instead they are taught through broad projects, which the children have a role in choosing. So, apart from that, what have I been up to?- To be honest, mostly I’ve been having great fun exploring the island (although its not actually an island it feels like one – a piece of land that seems to be its own country… completely different to the rest India, or anywhere for that matter). I love it! Total freedom…. Scary at times though, like when I got lost on my own along these dodgy jungle tracks that just seemed to be getting smaller and smaller, with bigger puddles and more insects and with only a couple of inches of petrol left!... I wont be doing that again! Luckily I met some old aussie man who directed me back to a proper road. Driving around to find the perfect sunset spot is fun too.- Being part of an Om… choir! Amazing, uplifting stuff! The most beautiful sound! - Yoga - Shopping, but mainly for christmas presents - Watching the most bizarre modern dance performance by this group of French dancers… if you could call it dance… reminded me of the film The Idiots quite a lot. Snuck off quite soon after the ending so I could avoid being asked (by the French dander who had invited me after I picked here up when she was stupidly hitch -hiking across town in the dark) what I thought… I’ve never enjoyed such far-out/ ‘modern’…whatever you could call it performance… in the same way I just don’t get experimental jazz… it was cringy! - Trying to rebuild my tan on the beach, after having to cover up everywhere else (Aurovillians and their guests have their own private part of the beach, where no outside Indians are allowed… there are guards enforcing this rule which makes beach life so much easier for girls, as without them you are constantly harassed, photographed or just stared at in a horrible way by local men or male Bangalore holiday-makers… the down side is, it feels a bit like a beach in Cape Town might have felt like in the 70s.... and just beyond the boundary they all flock, trying to get a distant glimpse of bare thigh or cleavage, making the women cluster together in the centre)… very strange, but still, it’s a nice, hot sandy beach in December. - Meeting lots of cool people: Aurovilllians, New-comers, guests, villagers, non-aurovillian business people. - Playing, stroking and secretly feeding my dog, Blackie…. And for your reference (especially Juliet), he’s not diseased, or at least he doesn’t look it! I haven’t really been reading too much literature about or written by The Mother, to be honest… I basically agree with her broad principles but I think to base a town and its future, so dependently on the worship of an idol, especially a deceased idol /hero (or even the teachings of a deceased idol) is basically backward-looking and closed to change. I think the most interesting thing I have been doing is talking to the Aurovillians about their town and the politics and problems within it… its rather depressing to see that just like everywhere else it seems on the planet, the same problems of greed, corruption and decay are happening within both the political structure of Auroville and the daily lives of its people. I haven’t even started to understand it really. The Aurovillians themselves speak of corruption, election-rigging, economic exploitation, power-hungry private business people, the fakes, the apathetic second generation, the spattering of acid-casualties in the first generation, the classic moral panic about the odd party (now, officially all parties in Auroville are banned!... the only bar has also been closed because of a few underage people getting too drunk). That’s one example of how things seem to be fucking up here as they do in any religion or society – someone has a good idea… creating a basis for the likes of Christianity, Islam, Communism etc and then, as the years go by, and the original prophets die, the followers left behind in the world of the living and ( in their bid to preserve the tradition) become more and more fundamentalist. They think they are preserving its purity and doing what the original prophets would have wanted but what they end up doing is creating something rigid and oppressive, something brittle that will then break as it cannot adapt to movement and progress. Its just one small example but The Mother never said alcohol was evil and should be banned, she just said over-consumption was detrimental to the individual and those around them – fair enough, but that’s no reason to ban the ONE party they people of Auroville are allowed at new year!