ArieLadybird's Travel Journals

ArieLadybird

  • Currently in Auroville, India

Life So Far

A month into things, here's what's going on. Trying to summarize a life that's different and full, hard to put into words. Here's my shot at it.

Life So Far

India Auroville, India  |  May 02, 2011
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I've been in India for over a month now, and thought it about time to check in back home (if yours is changed and inspiring you I'd love to hear about it!). I've been living in Auroville, a strange place of social and environmental experimentation, where you can get lost in accents from Southern India, Europe, the Middle East, occasionally America and any other place you can think of. Auroville attracts people on all types of missions, whether it's spiritual or ecological, social, something along the lines of sustainable energy, some combination of the above, or something they're still working out for themselves, it's definitely a land of beautiful characters.My going-ons have reflected this sense of multinationality, from capoeira classes, to surfing the Bay of Bengal, ashtanga yoga and playing good old American folk music, among lots of other things ;) Our first couple of weeks here, we were exposed to lots of places within Auroville, including the solar-powered kitchen and cafe (where I'm writing this from), WELL (women's empowerment through local livelihood) a group that creates beautiful things out of recycled materials, the Matrimandir- the central spirit/meditation hall of Auroville, a handful of farms practicing permaculture, S.Indian traditions, or mix of their own inventions, and too many other places to name. After our orientation, we settled into one of three living communities and chose a place to volunteer our time in the mornings. I'm living at a "rock-and-roll permaculture" farm called Solitude (as it was first introduced to us), although there's more folk music being played between myself and a close friend on the program, and a large handful of other volunteers living there. It's just like home having extra guitars (and occasionally a uke and violin) lounging in the kitchen with a bunch of smiling singing faces. Solitude Farm is definitely not a place of solitude, as there are always people around. We're all learning how to study natural patterns and apply them to growing food and nurturing the earth, and each weekday morning our group contributes with mulching, planting, harvesting, reforming beds post-harvest, irrigating, etc... Krishna, who runs Solitude, has done all he can to follow Fukuoko's ideology of natural farming (author of One Straw Revolution), trying to keep the farm a closed-loop cycle; the beds are mulched with whatever the last crop was, in combination with compost made with the help of the cows and us (there are composting toilets!); there's hardly ever a single crop growing alone, and the bugs are invited (no chemicals are used at all). Outside of the fields, the resources are all managed on-site; drinking water is drawn from an onsite-aquifer, pumped by windpower from the windmill, then gray-water is recycled to irrigate the crops (many times after we've jumped into the gigantic well it's stored in); electricity is harvested by the solar panels behind the well and on top of our capsules. So with permaculture principles at the heart of things, I'm experiencing life off the grid, which is pretty sweet but can be iffy. For instance, when there's no wind, there's no water... buut Solitude's just one example of life off the grid, don't get disheartened. When I'm not working on the farm in the morning, I'm volunteering at Svaram music shop (no big surprise). My first couple of weeks there I spent helping with an exhibition of all the instruments the group makes here in Auroville, and categorizing the children's instruments into an age-group sorted catelogue. More recently, I've been getting tight with string instruments, working on fixing up an old dulcimer and a lap guitar. My next project is to re-design an instrument called an anantar, to make it bowable instead of just pluckable. Wish me luck ;) As mentioned, I've been playing and writing a lot of music with another woman on the program, Emma. We've called ourselves Bandicoot, after the creature that liked exploring our capsule at night during our first couple of weeks. After playing at a talent show, we've been invited to play at a couple other shows going on in Auroville in the next couple of weeks (woo!) One of the Living Routes faculty, Abby, caught us on video during our very unprepared encore, covering one of my old-time favorites by Alela Diane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlRZKb4mf_8Hoping to get an album out by the end of the program :D She's been volunteering at the radio, so we've access to all the equipment needed. All we need is our determination and more time (easier to say, harder to find....) 

Enough rambling. More to come later.Much love, and hope you're happy and healthy!Ariel

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  • Life So Far

    May 02, 2011
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