Today while we were at Matrimandir for the morning city-wide meditation (concentration) I realized that not only is it Auroville's 41st birthday today....yay!!!....it's mine too. Again, yes. I was born in the United States at 12:24pm on the 27th of February. India is 12 hours 'ahead' in time though...so while I celebrated my birthday on the Indian day of the 27th, I hadn't really yet been born. This morning at 12:24am (Indian time) I was born in the USA. Yah? Yah! Two birthdays for me!
And happy birthday to Auroville. I am only beginning to fathom how this city works. I know there are (as all things) multiple layers, but methinks these layers are more manifold than most. It's pretty de-centralized here. Is it democratic? Unitarian? Vedic? Who IS on first anyways??
Answer: all of the above, everyone, and no one.
I wished for a bicycle for my birthday, and today I purchased one for about ummmm sixty US dollars. A sweet bike. It won't be available until March 9. I can always make it available again (translation: for sale, in the News and Notes of Auroville...where I found the original ad for said purple bike, complete with a cute little pink Ganesh sticker awwwwwwwwwwyeah) when I leave.
Here's the other bike story, and then back to this morning's 5:30am rendez-vous with the Aurovillians at Matrimandir to kick off the City's birthday: through a series of coincidential serendipitous happenstances, I am now renting a classic one-speed rickety Indian bike from Drupad's friend Raj who he hasn't seen for years but was just thinking about and Raj popped up out of nowhere going in the same direction as Drupad (I'm staying with Saraswati, Drupad, and Masha, if you'll recall...if I even wrote that down....life is even more Gabriel Garcia-Marquez lately, so I could have dreamt it all). Raj and I actually made an appointment by phone, I understood what he was saying, and we met at Matrimandir at just past four this afternoon.
And I rode home :)
The roads here are mostly dirt, very reddish orangey dirt. They twist and wind all over the place. There is some signage, and I have a map, and my sense of direction (as I may have written, or may have dreamt) is returning, so I am fairly whizzing around this multi-kilometre wide city with gaining ease and confidence.
Oh wait, another bike story. In fact, bikes are actually motorbikes, and cycles are bicycles, best not to confuse them. On the walk back home from a pretty far-away point (to check out a house sitting gig) I came upon a young Indian unmounted from his moto, picking leaves on a tree. I bet he's in IT (info techno). He asks me where I am going, he says can you drive? I am driving from Chennai, I'm very tired. I say Nooooooo I've never driven a moto before.
I repeat this several times to make sure he understands, but he keeps saying, "Is no problem, I show you...is no problem, brakes, go, brakes, go, like that."
So he sits behind me, I sit in front, and away we go, brake, go, brake, like that.
(of course he tries to cop a feel or two and I put a stop to that by getting off the bike...once we're in Auroville, tee hee)
So this morning, after about two wink's worth of sleep (since we were up tres late last night with much food and talk and go, brake, go, like that, for my First Birthday Celebration), we rise in the darkness and I hop on the back of Drupad's bike and we zoom off into the dewey pre-dawn. My glasses are immediately rendered completely useless, so I can't pretend to be even in a little bit of control on the back of the motorbike, I'm blind, and we're going go go go in the dark towards the soul of Auroville and I'm.....not doing too badly, actually.
We arrived in good form and fashion, and walked to the outdoor amphitheatre. There wasn't a huge crowd after all, which surprised me. People from all over the world come here, and it's Auroville's birthday after all. But anyway, it was lovely, and serene, and surreal; they'd lit a fire and as forms emerged with the dawn I saw the flower petals and garlands arranged on the amphitheatre floor....soooo beautiful, all in white.....and the tiny candle lit walkways resolved into solid roads leading away into the mists which slowly revealed a skyline of trees, the Matrimandir itself, and the twin banyans.
Now I'll post some picks, and decide whether to gabble on further. Oh but I will say that I volunteered at the Solar Kitchen today (100% solar powered, and serving no less than 1,200 meals per day). I'm really glad it worked out that way. I wanted to give something on my birthday, and I did. For weeks now I've been served meals cooked by others, a very odd experience after being accustomed to making all my own meals and gleaning and growing my own food and stuff like that, yeah? It was nice to be on the other end of the giving.
Matrimandir in the morning (it's the big globe on the left, thrown into shadow and shrouded by mist...otherwise, when it's full sunlight, it blazes in gold glory)
The amphitheatre, with the burning in the middle of all the flower petals....
Two banyans - incredible.
Saraswati on your left, her friend Linda and a little boy I don't know surrounded by more people I don't know surrounded by more people.....and yes, that is me in a SKIRT! And my Keen sandles, which Anna (Saraswati's mom) said look like tractors. Too funny.
Leaving the gardens of Matrimandir.