We ate dinner at Sadhana Forest last night and none of us are sick today! Yay!!
I found out about Sadhana Forest, a reforestation project here in Auroville, last year. The people are super great. Four of us from College (our guest house) went to the forest for a tour, a movie, and dinner last night. I had been for a brief visit, in search of Sugar, who went straight there from Pondy after our permaculture and natural build course earlier this year. Sugar was out, so Saraswati and I hung around and chatted and then helped out fixing dinner that day...the kitchen was a miserable, fly-ridden mess. Really gross. Sorry guys, but it's true. We still ate dinner that day and were okay, but had been beseached by several people to please wash our hands and especially under our nails vigorously and thoroughly. Then we proceded to be covered in flies and to touch non organic produce and peel peels and touch all the freshly peeled stuff. And the volunteers made a huge pot of very bland soup.
Last year when I was researching Sadhana Forest, I came across a blog post or two that mentioned the folks in the Forest being sick from some virulent bug or another. And I've heard other counts of folks falling ill there too. Gah.
Anyway....Conan, who I met at another Auroville venue, has since taken over the kitchen at Sadhana. They served us an amazingly tasty and flavorful Indonesian dish, goupa gouba something like that, crisp and al dente veggies with coconut and a sauce, mmmm. The tour was really interesting, and I ran into another guy, Raj, who was helping his friend, Raj, deliver the bicycle that I rented before buying that Ladybird that I sold to Sugar (following along now?). So Raj and Raj deliver bicycles together: Raj drives, and Raj sits on the back of the motor bike with the bicycle sandwiched sideways between them.
Raj and I were happy to meet one another! He's a compact, virile, friendly, sunny sort of young Indian. He's also from North India, and he decided to go to Sadhana and volunteer for awhile. I had showed him my artwork, since most folks ask you: where are you from, how long have you been here, how long you stay, are you married, kids, did you vote for Obama, and what kind of work you do. So after fielding questions from the young Raj's, I showed them some of my sketches. Immediately, Raj (we're at Sadhana forest again now) said, "Yeah! The artist!! Super drawings!" and I think he really means it; it's not the well-oiled line I've heard from other males.
So, we start talking and talking and he says he really wants to be a painter, not a musician. There is some redirection of conversation and interruption, I wonder what he means, and I find him again in the common room where Shubada is playing the organ and Raj is pumping the small bellows. I ask him some questions and find out that he helps Raj, and he knows College guest house because he teaches L'aura (our matron, a very young matron, who doesn't mingle much with the guests, but is available nonetheless..a nice hands-off approach) - he teaches L'aura Hindi. And then I find out that he teaches tabla.
A couple of days ago I was talking with Clemens and said I really want to learn tabla. We also went to an amazing concert with two very famous and talented Indian musicians - a sitar player, and a tabla player.
So, Raj will come on monday afternoon to teach us tabla. And I will ask for a private lesson or two. Oh come on now.
Pics from Sadhana Forest, with pics of our dear Raj to soon follow:
Aviram tells us about the five-year-old project, in the common room, a keet house, which is used for gatherings, the library, some offices, the dining area, a kids area. It's multi-level, and a really nice space. Cooling breezes wandered in and out all afternoon.
Aviram and one of two daughters. Awwww! yeah!
A keet house, dormitory.
Kathy, from England (it's still a novelty to me, to be around folks that aren't American..it's nice! Not that I don't love Americans!) She's saying that there are floaty things in the water, despite how it's been filtered and 'dynamised'...some sort of blessing way on water to make it better.
And here is Clemens, laughing in his usual manner, looking on the bright side of it all:
I don't know what this structure is, and I forgot to ask, but I like it:
And here, at sunset, in the Forest:
Here are a couple of shots from walks the last two days:
The back way home, trees trunks entwined...can trees have two trunks? I think in India, it is possible, as are all things!
Leaf patterns thrown on to the hot dusty red brown soil:
My dad just popped in to say hi in an email, a response to The Lezzies. Here's a picture of The Original Lezzies, Daphne and Betsy. Betsy was with our mom, and then Chris took her in. When Chris died, Dad found a good home for the girls, with folks who love golden retrievers. I think they're pictured here somewhere in Arizona, where Chris lived before moving back to Ogden with Dad. Sweet girls!
Okay, I need to slouch off to the market, it's Saturday and there is organic produce being sold outside the Solar Kitchen (which I have decided to not patron again...besides being an institution, the food gives me gas) and I want to pick up a load of greens for dinner tomorrow night before they're all sold out. Ta!