Friday, October 3, 2008


Volunteers kept on coming and going. Nora and Neal were a couple that had arrived early in the past week. Though Nora is Spanish, she had a very good Brit accent. However, I didn't really bothered to talk much with her at the beginning.

One night, smoking near the mud pool at about eleven at night a taxi arrives and leaves some minutes later. We didn't know what was going on, but it didn't really matter. Someone must've been leaving or arriving, so we would find out the next day.

I meet with Nora the next morning and explain what I had seen the night before, all the story about the taxi. And she tells me that it was Neal. "Neal? He left?" "Yes" she answers. "Why? Where did he go?" "He left to Oman." "Oman? Where is that?" "Oman? The country?" "What? That Oman? I thought it was some place in India. Why?" "I'm not sure, something about his parents."

After some conversations about it with the rest of volunteers, we got to the conclusion that he was an MI5 agent. Absurd, but we had to entertain ourselves with something.

Anyway, on Neal's absence I substituted him with helping Nora water the plants and filling up the pool. I couldn't be bothered to be in the kitchen with all the American students. It wasn't as fun. And so, I was able to get to know her a bit better, and she ended up being a cool girl. So on the following weekend, Kobi, Eric and me were planning to go to Pondi for some beers and whatever the night might offer us, and Nora also came along. It turned out a fun night were Eric got totally wasted, Kobi got a contact for charras that would end up ripping him off and Nora exchanged numbers with an Indian guy that gave us a lift back to Sadhana from a party we don't even know where it was, and that called her 14 times the next day. And we got into our first Aurovillian party, which was, actually, kind of wicked.

The following weekend, Neal was back, and Kobi had left, but we still went for beers to Pondi. A dry day. Yeap, it turned out to be someones birthday and alcohol wasn't allowed. However, we managed to buy some beers at a bar that was miraculously opened and joined with the rest of the people at the bar to someones house. But we got kicked out by the police. So after a decoy stop at Mahatma Gandhi's statue, we went to another house to finish beers, and the night. By that time, I had already left Sadhana and was staying in a room near the beach, and Eric stayed with me too drunk to drive back.

On that week, another couple had arrived. Josef and Rotem. Man that girl got me nervous at the beginning. Her fabulous big green eyes were dazzling and stared at you glowing, curious, with plenty of energy, and I didn't know how to deal with them. I immediately liked them both. Though we all thought they were a couple, Josef fooled us saying that they weren't together, when apparently, they were. Anyway, back to the subject, the following day after Pondi, there was a party in a nearby community and some of us decided to go. Sean, Galie, Gary, Josef, Reza and Rembrandt.

I've already talked about Reza. Galie is a french woman with whom I hardly spoke to, but I think she ended up with Sean, who was a Irish guy, quite difficult to understand but funny indeed, specially dancing. Gary was English and he had arrived with Stephanie. They had been traveling together in Africa for some time and they were hilarious. Rembrandt was a Dutch guy that was checking out the place that day. He would end up staying in Sadhana later on and apparently, causing a lot of distress, but that is not my story to tell.

And finally, Josef, another good reason to go to Israel. I called him my bodyguard, as he worked as one back in his country. Both of us stayed until the party was nearly over, but headed in different directions. While I had to cross all Auroville to get to bed, he went to Pondi with Megan, an American girl that has trouble written in her front. I had met her before and knew all her story in India, not amusing I must say. I'll just say she fall as sleep and Josef was left hard watching a cricket match.

So there was I trying to get back to the road on my moped driving through sand roads at 3 a.m. in the morning. Fortunately, after getting lost the first time, I joined into a group of people trying to get out as well, and all of them were following the same person. Before that, you could see the bike lights going in different directions and you could tell you weren't the only lost subject in that sea of dunes and roads.

This last party wasn't as fun, but it was an experience, never to repeat, and my second Aurovillian party.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I tried a moped for the first time back in Diu. I did fine. It was a straight road. I tried a moped for my second time, also in Diu. And it was fine. It was the same straight road. I tried a moped for the third time, again, in Diu. And it wasn't fine. Xavi insisted on me driving with him as a passenger and in the middle of town. I accelerate, a car comes, I turn, loose balance, for the second time, turn again, loose balance, and, stop! "OK, I drive." All that was needed.

Goa, a vehicle was needed if you wanted to move around and to different beaches. I sought for a bicycle. First, because my experiences with a moped hadn't been that satisfying. Second, it cost 300 INR a day. Way expensive! So I ended up walking, taking lifts or rickshaws, as I couldn't find a bicycle and from where I was in Chapora, you couldn't go anywhere without getting into a very steep road, and I wasn't looking forward to cycling that either.

Still in Goa, but in Agonda I thought it was time to try again. And though successful, without a passenger and with very few traffic, but with curves and slopes, I wasn't sure of being capable of more.

And on that first Monday after my amazing, weird and deceiving weekend in Pondi, I tried it again. i had traffic, curves, holes, horning from everywhere, and I was successful, and almost liked it. And in that way I was free from Sadhana. I was liking the bicycle, but it was getting hotter and harder to make it back.

This was the place where I would finally learn. And it is. Auroville is the place where I learned to ride a moped. And now, I enjoy it!

A reencounter

Before Sunday meeting I was in the kitchen cutting some vegetables, when I turn around to see a bearded face talking in Hebrew. "What the fuck! Hey man!" I immediately stood up and went to hug Kobi. It's not that we had had an amazing relationship, I had hardly spend time with him, to be honest, but I wasn't expecting, by no means, seeing someone from my previous traveling in India. So I was excited to see him.

Kobi had had a a bike accident, so his foot obliged him to stay in Auroville for a while. A while were he would spend plenty of his free time with the 2 Erik's. And so, Eric and me were like a couple in Sadhana, Eric, Kobi and me were like a trio out of it. We met up constantly for whatever reason. Just hang around, party in Pondi, beers at the Tandori Pot, game of shithead, pizza at Pizza Roof or just a chai or a cold coffee at Richie Rich. Any excuse was good. And after this time together, I can say he turned out to be another good excuse to get my ass into Israel.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sunday meetings

At Sunday meetings daily duties were given. You could either do the wake up call, close the gates, water the plants, manage the compost, fill up the water tanks, be the hygiene inspector, do the morning raggy or be the lunch chef.

That Sunday after Pondi a bunch of about 22 American students had arrived to the community. So there were plenty of people and daily duties could be shared. An Slovenian couple had chosen the wake up call. An easy thing to do, which really only needed one person. I was always the last one to go to sleep and I smoked in the smoking area outside the compound, so I thought I would close the gate this week. Filling up the water tanks had turned out to be too harsh and demanding.

But Eric had the same thing in mind. So when the moment came, we both lifted our hands. Julie, confused, came up with a: "OK, Eric, Erik, you too, OK, Erik 1, Eric 2, you are gatekeepers." And that is how we became Erik 1 and Eric 2 for the following 2 weeks. We had the same name, curly long black hair tied up in a pony tail, and we both had glasses. I had arrived first, plus I was older, so I earned the number 1.

At the start , we both thought it would be too much of a confusion, but it turned all right despite the fact that we were always together. By that point, I had terminated my two compulsory weeks in Sadhana, so I was free to leave the place. But chance didn't want me to, not yet, and I would end up being there a little bit longer than I had expected. But this is a story to be told separately.

The thing is, that I had become comfortable with the people and the surroundings. And I was having fun. But I knew that this week everything was going to change. The 22 American students had their own dynamics, and chances were that they would disrupt ours. We were a little family but we weren't always together, so people did their things whenever they pleased. The American students moved and acted as a whole, in a group, and so their presence in the community was much stronger than ours. You could notice specially at nights, when the community was lit by laptops all over the place.

The people that were already there disappeared the moment work finished. Everyone felt uncomfortable, aggressive and bitter, by one reason or another. Laughter was set aside to criticism. Grumpy discomforted faces were at the order of the day.

And on this basis Eric and me became like a couple. When someone was looking for him and couldn't find him, they asked me, and viceversa. We were always the last to go to sleep, sneaked into the forest for a spliff, and usually, left Sadhana together and came back together.

He would have much to do with my near future.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Taking a break - Break II

On my second weekend in Sadhana I needed more than a day out. I wanted some partying. So I headed to Pondi with the idea of spending the night there. First things first, so I went to for a baguette and a cold coffee. On my way there, I bumped into Allie, a French girl I had met on my last day in Pondi before getting myself in Auroville. And so, after the usual chit-chat, I suggested meeting up for dinner. The truth is that I didn't remember her name, so I had to call Peter to refresh my memory. Yeah, I was trying to catch a fish, as he would put it, but it was just that.

At I overheard a conversation about a concert at the French Alliance. So after hours searching for a cheap suitable room, showering, shaving, and in brief words, getting ready, I headed for some reggae. In the concert, I would bump into Nils, whom I'll introduce in it's appropriate context.

So far it had been a good day, had a good concert, a very motivating chat with Nils and perspectives of a good night. But sometimes don't always go as planned, as I'm tired of repeating.

Dinner with Allie had been nice, but both of us wanted some more action, another beer perhaps, but everything was closed. So we ended up at her place with a bottle of Port wine, charras and talks about dancing, tabla and the goddess Kali. Some people say she is the reincarnation of Parvati, Shiva's wife, others say is the destructive reincarnation of Shiva. A popular image is that of Shiva lying dead under Kali's foot. Though the position of Shiva is a feminine one, it is said that Kali only killed Shiva feminine side, that is, Parvati. I have no clue! But I would like to know more about it.

So anyway, we were having a good time, laughing, talking, getting stoned and I decided to approach her i a gentle but sexual manner, until the point I tried to kiss her. A rejected kiss. Ouch! However, strangely, the mood and the conversations didn't change.

Time had past quickly and I would end up sleeping at her place because mine locked at 2 a.m. And in the middle of the night, sharing a small mattress it happened that we cuddled up together. But that would be the most I would get from that night.

And a bright morning got me back to reality. Having to get back to Sadhana. Not really looking forward to it. There, everyone would ask me how was Pondi, and my answer would always be the same: "Amazing, weird and deceiving."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Carly's Birthday

On Wednesday of that second week was Carly's birthday, and we went for a pizza in Pondi. The events of the day had led me to spend most of my time outside Sadhana as a passenger on Julie's bike. And so, I went with her to Pondi where we would meet with the rest of the group ready to celebrate. A big group I must say. Carly, Ian, Kelsey, Anva, Einat, Alex, Matt, Lisa and I might be missing someone.

With Esra out of the scene, Julie became more opened and accessible to the rest of volunteers. You could talk, joke and spent time with her, something that seemed impossible before, and which I would consider as worthwhile. And though considered a hot girl, for some strange reason I never thought of her in a sexual way.

However, driving with her, at her back, her soft blond hair in my face, the smell of it, looking at her naked neck aroused in me that sexual appetite that seems to hide after some time without any kind of female closeness. It reminded me of how much I missed a woman's touch. A caress. A woman's smell.

She kept on saying that I should put her hair aside if it bothered me. And it did. But that was the closest I had been to a girl in a while and I like the touch of it in my skin. And somehow, I felt bad for having those sensations with her. It, for some strange reason, didn't feel right. So be it.

Once in Pondi, we got a silly card and a little cake with a candle for the birthday girl. And when we were altogether, pizza and beers were on the order of the day. A must for the main character of the night.

Oh, and remember my charger? Well, as we were close by, I decided to make a stop at the Continental Hotel while waiting for pizza. And this time I was lucky. I got it back. Unbelievable. When I saw it, the happiness in my expression might have seemed silly to the manager and the other guys present at the time. But it didn't matter for me, on a first impulse I went to hug the manager, whom nervous and uncomfortable tried to shudder me away.

Back in the restaurant, after food was swallowed, birthday song sang and birthday cake distributed among the assistants, it was time for some drinks. However, Julie and I decided it had been enough for the day and headed back to Sadhana with an ice-cream stop on the way.

It had been an intense day, out which I have only explained half of it. The rest, will come later on.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A new beginning

With not a very pleasant beginning on my first week, were I spent most of my time on my own, not really connecting with other volunteers, I had to look for further life outside the Forest. So my second and last week had to change. And it did.

I took the reigns instead of leaving the place rule my way. I got my bicycle and went to explore what was called Auroville. So far I had just seen a hint of it while going to a wedding in a packed up bus with the rest of volunteers.

But one of my primary motivations was bread. And not to forget the filters for my cigarettes. But I couldn't buy any bread, I needed vegan bread, and the only place available was the Auroville Bakery. So I headed on that direction with the company of Kelsey, first stopping at the visitors center to acquire a very useful map of the area.

At Kula Palayam, in front of Richie Rich's, some random guy stopped us and asked us how to get to Sadhana Forest. He couldn't be more precise on who to ask. It was Eric. We gave him directions and he got there hours later than he should have. He would be key in the future events that surrounded my life. But more of him later on.

We got to Farm Fresh, what we thought was the bakery, and obviously, no vegan bread was available, they didn't even know what was that. And that turned out kind of frustrating. Fortunately, we discovered that the place called Farm Fresh, wasn't the Auroville Bakery, and so I was decided to try again. I had enjoyed it.

At night, I started cycling with David for parothas and chai at Koot Road, the nearest commercial village. Others came too, but with their mopeds. It didn't matter the weather conditions. We needed our daily non-vegan food. Once we rode back while raining. I always had to light David's path as his flashlight wasn't powerful enough, but we always enjoyed it.

Life started with a peddling.