Auroville as told by Pavithra Lakshmi.
It has been so long since I left Auroville and moved away.
A place where I found freedom, that allowed me to decide for myself, anything I chose to do was possible. No family or friends telling me to take their advice. I was the master of my thoughts and my actions were an outcome of my lifestyle choices.
The societal and family pressures were non-existent and I’ll tell you why. Auroville is a place where you can be anyone, no questions asked. You can wear what you like, eat what you desire and fall in love like you always hoped.
So after a short trip there when I decided to go back within a year nobody was surprised. I had known this was my aim. Being accepted for an architectural internship in Auroville is what triggered this beautiful experience. It was hard to cope with the fact that I had to leave the comfort and luxury of my family, home and friends and move to a place I knew nobody, only because that’s where I felt truly at peace.
The next four months were something right out of a book and I’d give anything to relive those moments. Life here is different from life anywhere else because Auroville tests you. She brings out a part of you, you never knew existed. Your heartbeat syncs with the beat of this place. The time I spent here made me realise what I wanted in life. I always knew that living by a rule book isn’t for me; nevertheless I followed them all for the sake for not fitting in.
Here an intern can bond with a 60 year old architect over coffee at the visitors centre or lunch at solar kitchen and nobody gives you a second look. You meet new people from all over the world, learn about their lives, bond over the silliest things and become an integral part of each other’s lives.
A tourist v/s a local.
Yes, I refer to myself as local because the second time around that’s how I felt. The “hidden” life that we, locals live is not visible to those who come visit. You cross over to the dark side, literally because you find peace here after dark!
No amount of meditation in the Matrumandir can give you the serenity that not following any rules will. The rules of the outside world do not apply here and I made sure to live exactly like that. I dabbled in experiencing things that I would never dare to try back home and surprisingly I enjoyed every one of those.
A steady life.
No traffic. No waking up and running around. No deadlines. No phones constantly buzzing. No alarms. Nothing!
Back to living a simple and carefree life where the birds chirping and leaves rustling were louder than the phones ringing. Working hard during the day, attending different workshops, constructing bamboo structures and laying out mosaic tiles led to unwinding under the starry sky at night.
Here I met like-minded people with distinct personalities , we bonded over the tiniest things like travelling to work on mopeds, sharing breakfast at the Visitors Centre and the morning circle at Sacred Groves. We shared experiences that have shaped us to become better individuals, little things like movie nights, house parties, hangovers and roof top dinners. We ultimately left knowing we might never meet again but our hearts were bursting with love and our minds were filled with priceless memories.
With the intention of being a local, I urge you to live in Auroville because she will surprise you.
Always the new girl and the favourite of everyone around her, Pavithra Lakshmi is always looking for a tiny window to escape from her life as an architect and live like the wanderer she was meant to be.