Friday, December 18, 2015

Sadhana Forest Auroville - Saturday - Cycling and Pondicherry Walks

Saturday and Sunday were holidays at Sadhana Forest. I could spend my first two days just exploring the camp, which I was quite excited about. Most volunteers from the camp, visit the other communities in Auroville or catch a bus to Pondicherry from the highway. I had not visited Pondicherry up to then. I had a french professor in high school, who was from Pondicherry. He taught me French for four years. I still can't speak much of it. He was real nice. He taught us the subject really well and made learning French an interesting adventure. He told us about French cuisine, music, monuments, literature. It was beautiful to listen to somebody, that was so passionate about his subject. 

So I wanted to visit PondicherryIt was a former French colony. I remember my professor, telling me about cafes and buildings that looked exactly like the ones you had in France. How cool is that? So that saturday, I wake up early and then catch a bus to Pondicherry. I walk around the city. Visit the public library, notice that a street there was called, 'Rue de la street' and eat a baguette at a bakery nearby. It was quite hot, so I caught a 1 pm bus back to Auroville. I thought I would spend the rest of the day exploring some parts of this city. I visit the Auroville Visitors Center and just walk around with no specific purpose. I think that is the best way to explore a place. To just walk around and observe. 



The visitors center has cafes, shopping spaces and some museum like structures describing the vision of the city of Auroville and the work of the philosophers, Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa, whose work inspired the creation of the city. I buy some water and then observe a bunch of bicycles in the distance. I was told by a volunteer at Sadhana Forest, that I could hire cycles to move around Auroville. So I walk towards the cycle stand. I find out that you can hire a cycle with a minimum deposit and a small hourly fee. I pick a cycle and then ride away. Weeeeeee. It was so much fun testing the cycle. I also had picked up a map, so that I would not get lost on the roads of Auroville. As I was about to leave the Visitors center, I meet my friends from the Sadhana Forest. George, Lucie and Thomas were on their own bikes, outside the visitors center. They plan to cycle around Auroville too. Lucie had done this before, and she knew the roads well. So I ask them if I could cycle along with them. They agree to let me come along.

Cycling around Pondicherry

For the next four hours, we cycle around all the main sites of Auroville. We use the map as a guide. The highlight was the magnificent, round shaped, golden Matrimandir. We also visit some of the alternate communities and organic goods shops in the township. My cycle chain comes of somewhere in between. Fortunately, my friends realized I was missing and came back to help me fix it up. By 5 pm, we return back to the Visitors Center. Geirge, lucid and Thomas have bikes from Sadhana Forest only and thus they can ride it back there. I couldn't because my cycle was from the Visitors Center. Thomas volunteered to take me back on his cycle, but after I sat on it, I fell of after a few meters. We knew it would not work. What do I do now? I decide to hitch hike back home. Thus after, seven motorbike rides and a hundred refusals, on a 6 kilometer stretch, I reach home. 

Home was Sadhana Forest now.

Sat-chit-ananda
@AbhishekShetty_

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