In our 12 years together, we have never stepped out of our house without booking a place of stay. It has always been a case of last minute plan but a plethora of panic phone calls to a zillion homestays then commercial hotels and finally booking of an expensive stay as most of the value for money places would have already been booked to brim. This time around, with the journey we have embarked on, we decided to pack our backpacks along with the camping equipments and drive to Auroville without any booking! Auroville has been close to our hearts for almost as long as we have been together. We have been visiting Auroville for more than a decade now but, every visit of ours until now has been planned to the D. Not this time around!
Suhas had spoken to someone who runs a cycle store / workshop in Auroville for a visit as he intends to volunteer at this place for a month, later this year. We met him and Suhas spent some time understanding his work and planning the volunteering period while Sunita sat in the courtyard soaking the calm, rustic ambience. An hour gone, Suhas came out with a big smile. Not only had Suhas figured out his volunteering plans, the cycle store owner had graciously offered us to pitch our tent in his backyard which had a mango orchard!
He even offered us a small and cozy guest room to use for bath and toilet. Happy with the arrangement, we took off to grab some lunch to our favourite food joint in Auroville – Tantos. Tantos has been around for ages and is clearly the best place to eat while you are in Auroville. He has a good menu of Salad, Soup, Pizzas, Pastas, Rivoli and Risottos. We munched on some yum pizzas and quenched on his signature ice tea.
It was time for Sunita to go to Auro Orchard for her workshop on natural Bee-keeping. We dropped her off to Auro Orchard after lunch and headed back to the cycle store to set up out tent.
Suhas and Aarav surveyed the backyard and found a good spot under the mango trees. While Aarav got busy with a railway trolley, Suhas pitched the tent and set it up.
Our tent finally set up
With the cycle store’s shutter down, Sunita back from her session, it was tea time so we got into the guest room to explore and voila, we found a kitchen which was quite well equipped.
Sunita getting the kitchen ready to use
We dug out our supplies from our backpacks and whipped up some yum tea to start the evening. Tea done, mosquitoes galore, we decided to step out of the habitat for dinner and some grocery shopping as we had access to a kitchen now.
We got back to our tent at around 8 and got our lantern out to guide us around. We were tentative as it had gotten quite humid and warm inside the tent. We still go into our tent and decided to give it a go. Soon enough, we realised that the tent was indeed too warm and we could certainly not keep the outlets open because of the mosquitoes. We also figured that the mangrove wasn’t helping air circulation hence, we should have pitched the tent in a more open space. One more lesson learnt! To summarise our learning so far – look for an open space where there is good air circulation, even surface, if there is a tilt in the surface then the head should be on the up when you lie down. And yes, avoid areas that could collect water when it rains. We abandoned the tent into the night and retreated to the guest room. Just as we did that, it started to thunder, there was lightning and poured heavily! Phew!
Next morning was pleasant, thanks to the all-night rains. Suhas went out for a refreshing barefoot run and upon returning got the tent out in the open for it to dry.
Sundays in Auroville is meant to be relaxing, slow paced. We adapted to the mood and went about our day just relaxing, spending good time with together, eating out. We also had some company – a 4 year old Taiwanese boy – Hang! Hang was living next door with his parents and his 2 year old brother – Ooti. Hang kept us busy most part of Sunday with his questions, bug exploration, mud castle building, promogranate eating skills, etc.
Boys getting friendly with the neighbourhood spider
By far, the most smart and brave 4 year old that we have ever met! Hang also made us realise that all children have the potential, we only have to allow our children to blossom freely instead of putting them in moulds as they grow.
Monday morning called for a visit to the Auroville bakery and feasting on some freshly baked goodness!
Suhas then spent some more time at the cycle workshop before packing up and saying bye to Auroville and our wonderful host. The fact that we would be returning for a long period in just a couple of months made it easier for us to leave now.
Route we took: