- It takes a village to raise a child - African saying
- Nature is our best teacher
- we are the world, we are the ones to make a brighter day!..

- Natural farming, food forest

- We dig our grave with our teeth

- Freedom of expression is my birth right

- Freedom of speech comes with great responsibility

- I become what I see in myself. All that thought suggests to me, I can do; All that thought reveals to me, I can become. This should be man’s unshakeable faith in himself, because God dwells in him.

- The Mother said - it is not this OR that, it is this AND that
- Life is for living not to understand
‎"Sometimes you can't see the forest through the trees."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Worms a-hoy

After the rounds of Auroville in the hunt for the vermicompost experts; listening to Jino demonstrate to us the way he made their vermicompost in Discipline Farm, then a quick look at the one in the Botanical gardens and to finish our research - the next day we visited Bernard at Aurobrindavan.

We have 3 boxes; 2ft x 3ft x2ft made by bricks with a pipe for the vermiwash.

Jino was nice to give us a few handful of worms mixed with compost..we took it ourselves as he was bedridden.

We made a bed of white sand and placed the worms with compost in a pile as there as not enough so to save them we added leaves to cool it and sprinkled water to keep its temperature down. We were a little nervous as the cow dung that was ordered a week had not arrived. We had planned to commence our vermicompost adventure with cow dung, get those worms to reproduce and acclimatise :)

We would like to use foliage and our left overs from the kitchen to make vermicompost..

“Vermicompost is 9 times better then normal compost!..The liquid that passes through the compost when we sprinkle it to keep it moist is very good for watering the plants or vegetables.. there are several types of worms..just put some leaves on the ground with some moisture and worms will begin to come and you transfer them to your can take upto 3 weeks to get your vermicompost.. “ I am narrating what they have told me – we are excited and so eager to see happen!

The 3 boxes are side by side so we are trying to use the one in the middle and use the 2 on each side to begin decomposing leaves and and waste from the kitchen and when the center will be ready we will allow the worms to vacate to the fresh awaiting decomposing eh? It is working (positive affirmation) :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Be Like A Flower"

Be like a flower. One must try to become like a flower: open, frank, equal, generous and kind. Do you know what it means?

A flower is open to all that surrounds it: Nature, light, the rays of the sun, the wind, etc. It exerts a spontaneous influence on all that is around. It radiates a joy and a beauty.

It is frank: It hides nothing of its beauty, it lets it flow frankly out of itself. What is within, what is in its depth, it lets it come out so that everyone can see it.

It is equal: It has no preference. Everyone can enjoy its beauty and its perfume, without rivalry. It is equal and the same for everybody. There is no difference, or anything whatsoever.

Then generous: without reserve or restriction, how it gives the mysterious beauty and the very own perfume of Nature. It sacrifices itself entirely for our pleasure, even its life it sacrifices to express this beauty and the secret of the things gathered within itself.

And then, kind: It has such a tenderness, it is so sweet, so close to us, so loving. Its presence fills us with joy. It is always cheerful and happy.

Happy is he who can exchange his qualities with the real qualities of the flowers. Try to cultivate in yourself and refine the qualities.

- The Mother

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Germinating seeds with Anastasia’s advice

  Which is my relax day? Thinking about it maybe I should pick a day.
  Like everyday, a little more progress has been made clearing the path around the inside of the land.
  Then with the help of Catherine, we dug mini trenches with the crowbar so that we could put the drip irrigation pipe underground away from rats and walking cows.  Thanks to the rains last night, it was easier – the ground was soft!
  The papaya trees that we transplanted from my mothers are doing great! Aah. This summer we will have papayas for breakfast!
  A surprise visit by Thomas and Sabrine; they were recommended by Tal to meet us.  They are very much interested in Auroville and the land.  They will be staying with us for some time!  A little early to say much about them J
  Whilst they were checking out the space of light (capsule) we soaked seeds in our saliva for 9 minutes to germinate.  We even soaked chilli seeds!  Somehow after a few seconds it dawned on us that maybe it will burn!  It was bearable. We soaked ladies finger too in the same time, will the ladies finger be hot? J

Saturday, September 19, 2009

In the Moonshine

We were late for dinner. (Surprise.)

Speeding around the sandy bends of the forest path, we suddenly stopped. We couldn’t just leave what lay there alone.

Little green eyes stared at us full of fright. A plastic cup stood beside them, half-filled with dirty water. A kitten sat abandoned and confused.

Was she left, or found? We wondered. But the lack of answered didn’t alter our actions; without hesitation I hopped off the bike and coaxed her to me. She came quickly. I climbed back on, and we returned to the house. It was obvious we were going to adopt the mangy, scarred, starving cat. It’s apparently what we do.

The idea was to have two dogs and a cat. We nursed Gopal back to life. Saedi/Rani is recovering nicely. And now we have…Moonshine?

Flow in work

   Our main work presently between the watchman, Vasantha and myself is to prune the cashew.  The branches we use to heighten and thicken the fence. We have so much of it, phew.
  Depending on where we are pruning we bring them to a particular location, i.e. close to the vegetable garden we pile around that fence the branches..
  And day-by-day the fence gets filled up. And year-by-year hopefully the thorns will grow over it to protect the land.  Perumal planted thorns all around the land but with the cashews growing over them, the sunlight was cut away preventing them to grow.  Today, with sunlight managing to peep threw at different places, incredible how fast the thorns grow! Thank you perumal.
  With a chainsaw, wow, the work does progress fast. What a clean job! Thank you chainsaw.
  Yay, tomorrow the first load of compost will arrive.  We can mix the vegetable garden soil with compost.

Friday, September 18, 2009


  Much better today, my sun burn from the other day is healing..the aloe verra has helped tremendously; I mean I am not red as a tomato – it is the sensitiveness of the skin.  Thank you aloe verra for cooling my skin in the evening J
  It has not rained last night, well not enough and compost is not sufficient to commence mixing it with the soil around the sprinklers; so we continued to prune the cashew trees.
  10 acres are done till today.  The old man and I are a great team.  While the chainsaw worked hard and quick the old man pruned the smaller already cut wood to sell and use the remaining twigs as fencing material. 
  He is a good 63 years old and still very active and persevering!
  Into the afternoon, after a good crab meal (as his son-in-law) did not bring him food the last days; I believe it was to make him happy, his hand began to hurt.  He moved to arranging remaining cashew branches to the vegetable garden fence whilst I pulled them from under the trees.
  Feels good to have a complete day of work and to finish it well.  7 trees in a day with just 2, am very centent J
  The dogs, Gopal and Rani, were super company; following you everywhere and playful with each other. Avoiding mentioning Gopal’s intentions every now and then J

Neo – the couch surfer

  The variety of people we have on this planet is incredible; in all its masala there are resemblances that we could put in little boxes and arrange it so well in a matrix – simple to understand.
  It is always a pleasrure and relief to have new people coming and going; people visiting, sharing their life experience or simply participating physically on the land.  There is always something to do.

  He came as a couchsurfer and after 2 days we were happy with him. 
  He became our guest for the next week.

  Neo, quiet and energetic, lent a hand painting, clearing a path for jogging (so we can regularly check the fence), dishes and was just around with his calm presence.
  He even contributed to an extension of the drip irrigation for the avocadoes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Preperation for the Vegetable garden 2009

  Beautiful showers the night before – thank you!
  Will not give credit to my little mini rain dance that I did jokingly in front of them folks :)
  My roommate Catherine has been persisting that we give attention to the vegetable garden soon – I had to promise to do it as soon as it rained. it would be easier on our hands to pull out the grown weeds making the garden a forest of weeds.
  Beautiful day indeed!  After a good session of pranayama and feeding our stomachs with Auroville bread we made our way to the weed forest :)
  What a site, butterflies fluttering all over!
  Why remove the weeds? Many say it is to give more energy to the actual plants we want, others would say it looks cleaner or easier to plant your seedlings, etc.
  Am sure there is a reason for weeds and a harmony between the plants. The weeds we remove, we will put them back around the seedlings to protect from the sun.
  Throughout the year if we had removed the weeds or piled leaves on/around the plants; it would have cut out the sun to the weeds and slowed their growth.
  Today Friday, we will receive the seeds so that we can soak them in our saliva and germinate them before transplanting them to the garden. 
  Soaking the seeds, not all, of course, that would be funny!  The few that we soak will influence the others.  The idea is that they will register our biochemical beings and will grow to provide for us to be healthy human beings.  You can see vividly the difference when we soak them in our saliva J
  We trying to grow veggies the whole year.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gopal’s Girl

She was terrified. Beaten. Bullied. A skinny little pup in the middle of Edaianchavadi, surviving only by the gracious generosity of Lorraine, who visited daily to feed her. Lorraine was the only person trusted.

Gopal was a mangy, wormy, injured puppy and grew into a fine dog. Why would we want to take home anything else?

So suddenly, with the help of Lorraine and a pet van, we had a new dog on the outskirts of Lumiere. The trouble is, as soon as Lorraine left, the dog found herself a thorned fortress under a fallen cashew tree and refused to leave. As much as we wanted her, she didn’t quiet trust us.

It took some coaxing—and another visit from Lorraine—but the dog made it to the house, where we fed and loved her for an hour or so. In the quiet of the forest, while our backs were turned, she disappeared.

Another dog gone. Another failed attempt.

But the next night… I wondered out to get a bottle of water. Gopal greeted me at the door, as usual. But there were two beady dog eyes glowing from under the table… the lady dog returned! My heart went soft; how nice to see her.

She was fed again, played with Gopal, but by morning, had once again disappeared.

The day grew hotter. We weeded and weeded the garden. And as I squatted tugging at plants, I was suddenly attacked by warm kisses and golden-brown fur. Gopal was busy; She was back.

And since then she’s stayed. The two dogs run around like crazed puppies, playing and panting and loving life. The world is so much better when you share it. Two-by-two they herd cows (kind of), bark at intruders (sometimes), and otherwise fulfil the duties of farm dogs (like looking super cute).

Now she only needs a name… Cleo(patra)? Rani? Saedi?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


  Mmmm, yellow and creamy, available in Auroville from AuroOrchard; originally from Mexico..
  Driving to an absurd empty appointment with the usual outcome of delays in time and invalid unexpected promises made by Dayakara, Pet vetinery and dog shelter, I had cooked up a plan back up plan to go see the avocados growing in the orchard nearby.
  We checked out the trees which are big and had several baby trees growing in between them.  Lovely trees!
  Arriving at the farm, where I grew up for 2 years, the smells and sounds were so familiar and memories revived – this is where I drove a tractor when I was 6 years young, helped cut grass for the cows and ran between the corn fields..
  Gerard, a wonderful swiss man, in charge of the place casually invited us to check out the saplings in his nursery. I was thrilled to see them big and healty. He yelled from the balcony, “how many do you want?” he replied saying take 5 with joy and happiness!
  Excitement and joyful in our hearts we decided to call Lorraine, a Californian living in Auroville and taking care of stray dogs in the neighboring villages.  On our way back with our saplings of avocado, we drove to the dog sanctuary, Integral animal care center or something like that..
  It is a small piece of land that Auroville allocated. It has simple “keet” structure shacks with no trees as yet.
  Invited by her to walk the place and narrate the story of the newborn place was inspiring and encouraging!
  She drives around the villages everyday with left over food from the collective kitchen and feeds the dogs.  Picture the dogs wagging their tail at the sight of her riding her moped towards them in the distance.
  She pours her active love on all of them unconditionally.  It is obvious the effect it has on them – she shared a little story of how one dog cured itself of cancer day by day in no time!
  In their situation with very little financial support they still continue to work with dedication and active love!
  We returned home with no puppy.

Monday, September 14, 2009

And then there were two.

Our numbers are decreasing.

I don’t think we’ve reached the endangered species mark yet, but we’re certainly on the watch list.

There were nights when every bed in the house and outside was full. Julie, Monica, Dean, Muthu, couch surfers, friends, whomever. Most have moved home. Dean and Muthu, or longest-term residents, have tragically departed to open their guesthouse and restaurant. I, for one, am devastated. Even Neo’s moving on, finding a new couch to surf, and requests from others are shockingly quiet. So suddenly it’s just Martanda and me.

And there was a time when we could almost boast 30 chickens. Eight adults, four babies from June, ten colored chics, and nine eggs from Grace. Thanks to the mongooses, the cat, and the attack of territorial mamma hens, we now have eight adults, one baby from June, six colored chics (that will join Dean and Muthu soon), and one hatchling from Grace. (We lost all three of the beautiful dark ones.) So we have ten chickens.

We also had an abundance of fuzzy four-legged friends. Gopal came early, weak and weary, and has grown into the dog of the Land. We tried to find him a friend… First in the form of three adorable puppies, which were taken back by the owners after they had second thoughts; then we found a big white dog who ran away on the first night; and we visited the animal shelter a couple times but found none for us to fall in love with. Biscotti, the cat, had proven an excellent addition (despite his killing sprees), but he too left with Dean and Muthu.

Martanda vetoed ducks and goats. I’m sceptical about geese (who are aggressive) and the cow (which will be a lot of work). So prospects are slim.

Not saying we’re not filling the Land with life. We’ve acquired avacado trees and papaya trees and ordered more seeds for the garden than we could ever use. Things are just a lot quieter than they used to be…

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Oil bath

  Sunday it is, on the land we decided to give ourselves the pleasure of soaking ourselves in sesame oil.
  Muthu, our dear friend, being a local and having the knowing-ness of the traditions of the land, he commenced with Catherine as the first victim. J

  We are to face the rising sun.  He sprinkled oil on the floor at her feet and poured plenty of oil on the crown of her head – aaah feeling, no? – there he went tapping with his palm all over her head stronger and stronger.. brains shaking’, swirling and moving all over!
  Then moving to the neck, arms, legs and back and to finish we poured oil into her ears. All along she kept purring, sighing and moaning; these are signs of the benefits of an oil bath – you relax, surrender, nourish your skin and hair, give each other company, cooling the body, feeling of softness, tranquillity and plenty of laughter!
  This is part of a whole procedure.  The next step is to remove the oil from the body that has not soaked with “shikakai” (natural powder) – wow does it work on the skin!
  Now what? Oh, yeah, we tend to do this in the morning so that we can have a great meal as it stirs your appetit.aah.all relaxed with a great meal cooked by our Muthu’s mom – we are eager to join them in the village to return and take a power nap!

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Avocado oh"

Woke up this morning with our avocado saplings strewn all over; Gopal (our beautiful young dog) the culprit innocently played with them and that was my first priority of the day after filling my stomach.
The avocadoes were already pulled out of the ground as the roots grew out of the packet tearing them. They require more attention when this happens. David advised me to cut the torn roots neatly and make sure they are watered well!
Finding a spot for them is about space management; decided to continue adding to the fruit orchard near the space of light (capsule). They can get very big the avocado tree!
What I like most of taking care of a forest is that it requires vision and planning. Everything we do today is visibly obvious in many years to come; it’s like doing everything small for the larger picture.
Mmmm..Yummy creamy avocadoes!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Boys & their hens

These Auroville boys are truly something special.

I sit and watch as Martanda and Muthu rattle of incredible knowledge about the trees, the shrubs, the animals. They tell us what to eat and drink for whatever ailments or improvements we’re seeking. They explain how to help things grow and to make the Land live better. And they are so goddam good with the animals.

The two mamma chickens pecked each other so much we had to separate them and tend to their wounds. Watching Martanda and Muthu gently hold the hens, wipe their faces, clean their wounds, and love them softly… This place nurtures such an incredible connection amongst living souls it’s amazing. There’s so much to learn.

We are silly to think we actually have any control over this divine anarchy; we like to pretend that we’re protecting the forest but it’s absurd. We are playthings of the Land, learning and growing per Her wish, not ours. We can hardly help steer the course according to our dreams; instead, I think, everything we do is part of Her plan. And she has found characters here that embrace Her teachings and connect in a magical way to Her creatures, and the rest of us are eager to play along.

We may have the might to eat the chickens, but they run the show. They have our hearts. We are tools to help their lives, and they know we’d never hurt them.

It’s a humbling and heartening thought.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chez Lumière is awesome.

According to Wikipedia, it is:
...the largest hospitality exchange network, with approximately 1.4 million members in 231 countries and territories...

After registering, which is free, members have the option of providing very detailed information and pictures of themselves and of the sleeping accomodation being offered, if any...

Members looking for accomodation can search for hosts using several parameters such as age, location, sex, and activity level. Home stays are entirely consensual between the host and guest, and the duration, nature, and terms of the guest's stay are generally worked out in advance to the convenience of both parties. No monetary exchange takes place except under certain circumstances (e.g. the guest may compensate the host for food). After using the service, members can leave a noticable reference about their host or guest.

Instead of or in addition to accommodation, members also offer to provide guide services or travel-related advice. Couchsurfing also provides editable travel guides and forums where members may seek travel partners or advice. Couchsurfing is also focused on "social networking" and members organize activities such as camping trips, bar crawls, meetings, and sporting events.

The site also features a searchable database of hundreds of upcoming events organized by couchsurfing members...
We’ve had quite a few visitors through this service, and we’ve embraced them as graciously as possible. We shared meals, laughs, everything. By the end of it, they too have fallen in love with the Land. (How could you not?) Yet I realized today that while they may get a free bed and a free meal or two out of the deal, its Lumière that really benefits.

This can be a lonely place, even for those who cherish solitude. The near-constant flow of visitors adds new energy and life to the Land, and it’s incredible to learn from the myriad of perspectives. Plus, couch surfers are basically free labor.

I tease. Kind of. I realized today that each has left a mark on the Land, contributed to Lumière in some way. One helped me with a super clean of the kitchen. Another hung a shelf in the storeroom. Yesterday we had two surfers, and they climbed with Martanda to the top of the windmill to set it free from its cyclone lock. Today Neo is going above and beyond—working side by side in levelling the dirt, digging holes, and doing whatever else boys do with tools and a forest to play with. While we went out shopping, he painted the storeroom. And Dean and Muthu—while not couch surfers, they too have busily built a duck house, spruced up the capsule, and made more meals than any of us can count.

With all these guests, Lumière will become a Land of natural luxury.

So please: come, couch surfers, come! Come to Lumière!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It comes an end, and a new beginning

There Land is ripe with anxious anticipation. The workers haven’t worked this hard all summer. The house is in a constant state of disaster, purging, cleaning, organization. The trees rustle a little more than usual. They too know the Lord of the Land is returning.

And I, after more than three months of playing Queen consort, will retire my responsibilities and return to the office.

Or so I say.

The thing is, after more than three months of playing Queen consort, I’ve grown accustomed to spending my mornings and evenings working in the forest. I’ve completely accepted that my fingernails will always have dirt beneath them. I’ve forgotten what color my feet are under the dye of red earth. And I like that.

So while I may retire from the work and writing this, I may not. Consider this a warning.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

fancy pants

The thing about living with two gay guys is one must always be fashionable. I am not fashionable. I don’t mind that my clothes have stains, because they’re just going to get dirtier anyways.

I have one particular pair of pants that the boys hate because they’re white with red earth stains splotted to the knees. I call them my rain pants, because I wear them when driving through mud puddles that add more patches to the pattern. The boys call them disgusting.

Today I wore my rain pants as I went out to fetch idlis and croissants for breakfast. Upon my return, the boys took more than the food from me—they robbed me of my trousers. And before I could adequately cope, they dyed them in a bucket of red earth.

Suddenly my white pants with red stains are now entirely red, my rain pants can no longer get wet, and I look quite fashionable wearing them around Auroville.

The power of the fashion kings.