Hey again, I'm staying another night with my new friends and family at Dana Community. It's late now (dark) and Saraswati was in Pondy all day...at a movie shoot! Can you believe that?! Well it's pretty normal business, actually. They love westerners in their films, at least as extras. They paid her a nice stipend today: about Rs 1,000. So she returned this evening just after I did, maybe even more sweaty than I actually. And we've decided that tomorrow is soon and time enough for me to relocate into Dimitri House.
I met Catherine today (who is selling me her Ladybird bicycle, if you'll recall) and we went to Johnny's, who lives just around the corner actually. When I told Saraswati this, she said Oh good! Johnny IS Auroville :) He's an Australian bloke who's lived here forEVER, probably the full forty years. Every sunday he hosts a sort of open house where people come and give the gift of gab, and he makes many many dosai! (a sort of rice pancake)
Yenakku dosai rumba pidikum! (I love dosai - in Tamil - woo hoo!)
I met all sorts of folk and kept my eyes and ears open and for the most part, my mouth too. It's an interesting time here for me. I talk, but I am listening much more, and listening to how I respond to all the talking. It's good. Most of the people I'm meeting are in some sort of transitory phase in their lives. It's pretty amazing - but maybe not; I think Auroville invites and attracts and harbors people on similar paths (naturally, I guess!).
And I rode my (rented) bicycle! So so nice. Much faster, and cooler. I am riding in a skirt, I will have you all know. WOW.
I've posted new pics to flickr, the link is in the sidebar there.
Let's see if I can do a couple of Pondicherry:
Spot the elephant :) (No his name isn't Spot)
The elephant is being led/escorted to the Ganesh Temple in the French part of town.
(you can click any of these for pretty big/detailed pics)
A rue (street), don't remember which one, maybe looking from the ashram (YES I visited the ashram, even after what I said in a sneering way last summer and practically swore I was not interested in ashrams...I like ashrams now).
Oh hang on, I just peeked at it in full-size. It's down a few blocks (towards the Bay of Bengal) from the ashram. On the left you'll see the entrance to the post office. When you send parcels, they sew them up. I was in earshot of a conversation several weeks ago (aaah I've been in India for two months already!!!!) (aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh......!!!!!!!!!) and people kept saying they had sewn up their packages. I thought it was a figure of speech, like we have, at least in America. It's literal. You take your parcel to the tailor if it's a small village, or in bigger places the post office will sew them up right there. It's much safer and economical (in terms of not running such a big risk of the parcel being mauled). I'll post a picture after of a stack of sewn-up parcels.
I like the architecture here. It's typical for Pondy, atypical for an Indian city. Also, the French Quarter is especially neat and tidy. All the cities and villages I've seen so far are...really really dirty. Well, Auroville is tidy and so is the little village Kuilapalayam next door. Anyway....it's very appealing, this tidiness....I also dig haphazardness, and many of the alleys and byways and even cities of India are like this as far as I can tell and have experienced. There is no trash service though, and people are always pitching things right and left. All kinds of things. Yes those kinds of things too.
On with the architecture!
Walking along, enjoying the houses...
...and the citizens. I like how this woman's salwar (salwar - trousers, kameez - top half) and dupatti (scarf) happened to match the colors of the building. The bike she is walking is the same model as the one I am renting. Sturdy one-speed!
So now it's darker and I need a shower. I've just been talking with Saraswati about EM's (effective micro-organisms). She went back to Sadhana Forest (did I write about that??) and Aviram gave her some literature. She bought a bottle of Activated EMs for only Rs17. I am so amazed. And stoked! If I stay at Dimitri house for any length of time, it'll be nice to plant some vegetables, and Saraswati said she would provide the EM's. These little darlins are powerhouses for plants.
S will return with Masha (her daughter, she's ten, and did I write that it's pretty startling and very cool how much Masha reminds me of me at that age?!) in a few minutes. I will try to take some pictures, I think she'll dig it, then you can see who I'm talking about. I wish I could more easily and reliably upload videos, at least for the soundtrack. I wrote to a friend that the frogs sound like helicopters..it's pretty incredible, they sound nothing like the croak-croaking that I've always heard. Welcome to India, where the geckos chirp and the frogs have liftoff.