- 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."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Michael our CS turned volunteer

  Michael came to us through our first WWOOF volunteer, Noah, from Lexington, MA, USA.
  Noah, met him at some evening gathering..Michael got in touch with me. 
  A young french traveller visiting India.  Self motivated, eager to learn and an energetic man.  Always asking what he can do.  Always informing us what he is upto to..leaving messages, sms' or calling.
  Everyday he did something which made me feel really comfortable, at ease and another work done from the thousands of things to be done :)
  From planting trees to cleaning the dishes, he was all over the place. 
  He left for Thiruvannamali today.  He has taken our Goenka Vipassana book with him; another subject that he is interested in..he will return to bring back to book though :)
  With all those lovely rains we have had in the week he has stayed with us; it was tough planning anything.  His adaptability was of help..
  We always welcome self-motivated, happy, smiling and courteous volunteers! :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fundraising details for the wind generator

For anyone interested in the wind generator project, here are a few more details (from Martanda):
I'm trying to manifest what I think will be a great project for Auroville, so I thought I’d start by speaking with you.
Our City of Dawn struggles with energy. We need it, but we’re not getting it in the best or most harmonious ways. Some people connect to the grid (which is harmful to the environment, supports an arguably corrupted system, and provides unreliable current) and others use solar (which can be costly and is not as eco-friendly as we’d like to believe). In cities around the world, from Boston to Geneva, I’ve seen small, domestic-sized wind generators provide adequate power without relying on the “system” or requiring costly replacements.
The best domestic wind generators are made right here in America by Southwest Windpower. Their latest model, called the Airbreeze, produces electricity with just 8mph winds! And it only costs $650. Wow.
I intend to bring domestic wind power to Auroville, proving that these inexpensive and more eco-friendly turbines can compliment or replace our dependence on solar or grid energy. I would like to do this by bringing one generator back as a pilot (I'm in Boston until the end of October), then carefully measure its production based on wind speeds, and release to Auroville at large the findings. Yes, there are bigger wind projects in Auroville—but they are outside our plateau and for others. Domestic generators could provide for Auroville within Auroville at an affordable price. I’m confident the pilot will exceed expectations.
I have already found several individuals who are willing to make financial pledges towards manifesting this project. Unfortunately, several will only donate after I’ve secured the rest of the funding.

I appreciate any help you can offer.

Domestic Wind Generator - Budget for Pilot System

Airbreeze wind generator $649

Tower $400*

Wind meter $85 yo $165

Amp meter $32

Circuit breaker $17

Lightening arrester $100

On/Off switch $16

TOTAL: $1299 to $1379

* I hope Aureka will build a tower at a discounted price for this project, but I have not yet reached out to them.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A beautiful text

“Why does the tree grow upward?
What makes the flower blossom in beauty?
When the sun sets and all becomes silent, sit down for a moment and put yourself in communion with Nature: you will feel rising from the earth, from below the roots of the trees and mounting upward and coursing through their fibres up to the highest branches, the aspiration of an intense love and longing- a longing for something that brings light and gives happiness, for the light that is gone and they wish to have back again. There is a yearning so pure and intense that if you can feel the movement in the trees, your own being too will go up in an ardent prayer for the peace and light and love that are unmanifested here.”
- The Mother

Friday, July 23, 2010

Walking alone on red foot tracks through forest is an absorbing experience for me. Thoughts are controlled  as they traverse across mind's corridors giving me a poise from where to choose which to entertain and which to let pass. I became contemplative this morning, as I was walking through the maze of barks under the canopy of the Auroville dry evergreen.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

In and about the world

  Well, as you can see we have not written in a while.
  Palani, Raja and Mani are taking of the land in my absence :)
  You can follow us abroad:

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cashew season 2010 over today

Another cashew and i will go nuts.
This just reminds me, dont ask me why, but do you know the expression - not religious nuts but spiritual fruits :)
  We've reached the day where the scavengers (villagers who have the right to pick everything we miss) politely have asked when we/the trees would slow down; which is today.  Which concludes our harvest :)
  17th of April, the season really began.  At first you will have the odd tree given fruits before others at small numbers.  Progressively, it would increase first in quantity and then the trees itself would increase the yield.

  What astounds me is the quantity of fruits the tree gives, all to reproduce itself.   why so many?   

  Bending down picking the fruits is a task.  Walking with the bucket in your hand and walking bent down; filling up slowly getting heavier - makes your back work :)

  We start early morning, around 6am, before it gets too hot. The way the land is laid out and the way the cashew trees are spread out on the land, we eventually made parts of the land and collected those parts every other day.  Everyday we would collect easily 4-5 wheelbarrows! by 10h30ish we would have our pile of cashews under some tree in the shade to seperate the fruit from nut.
  Sitting on a brick or directly on the ground crossed legged, seperating the fruits goes on and on and on..and on! shifting position, stretching and sighing in between :) There are these little gnats (flies) that fly around the fruits, quiet friendly bees come too, small bugs in the thousands are all over, they creep on our hands and try to climb as far as possible or lost on our bodies; ticklish it can be if not irritating :)
  The scavengers, just passed by the house this evening.  I dont like it when they come close to the our house. 

  Yelled at them, nicely and friendlily, to go around.  Once they are on the spree finding any nut that they can under the leaves/still hanging on the tree/green as it is - that marks for sure the end.  No stopping!
   Thank you cashew trees for this years harvest!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

green summer

  Yay, rains atlast.  Were they going to come?  so delayed!
  yes it did.  A green summer we have. thank you thank you.
  An ebony has grown 2 feet in no time! phew, an average of 1 foot/year for most of the trees.  And that too this is know to be slow growing.
  TDdeF grows slower then other trees.
  Fresh it has become.  Collecting the cashew though after the rains was wet and funny; picking them from the ground and passing by the branches made the water fall from the leaves and wet you again :)
  a good shake the winds brought the cashews falling the night during the rains!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Forest Facts around the world

  bumped into am article that Paul Blanchflower wrote on the Auroville afforestation and its history.  Browsing the site i bumped in this facts of forest around the world/ ooh la la

Forest Facts (click)

  what to do?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mani from Annai Nagar

  Manimaran is his real name.  But call him Mani.  He popped up one morning asking for work..and we agreed he can work :)
 He already lived on the land for 6 years as a growing boy with Perumal (he started the land), he knows the land.
  He is 22 years.  He is intelligent, innovative and knowlegdeable about local ways..
  Good to have him around.
  After the rains, excpetionally, delayed by a month atleast.  We expected the cashew season to be waning; but to our surprise it is kicking in well.
  It seems that because we have not sprayed the trees unlike our neighbors, the flowers are still there to produce fruit!
  Tuesday and Thursday we have children come over to play in the young forest.  On these daysm we cannot help Mani harvest the cashew.  So the last 2 days with his friends they collected in no time 1/2 the land which we alternate.
  Is he our worker?  is he a villager? as of now, i treat him like a little brother and work on myself if any lowering attitudes intrude a beautiful situation we have on the land with his appearance.  We support him fully.  We trust him fully.  We just advanced him some money to buy a bike so he can show up on time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Mir, my son, wanted me to see the single mango on the only Mango tree in Vikas so he led me and I tagged along. But we saw that there was no mango anymore. Someone must have plucked it prematurely.  Instead of the fruit very low on the branch was a nest of chipmunks. I knew them well from 'faith farm' where I used to go on Saturdays. Chipmunks made nests everywhere in    the room I was given there.

A chipmunks nest is a jumble of soft trash: human hair, strands, hay, ribbons, paper and other 'building' material they find and put together, all tender and jumbled soft. Nothing impressive like a baya's  tunnels and chambers, etc. but comfy, I am sure, for the tiny creatures to rest and breed, is a chipmunk's nest. The one I saw on that branch was so low that I reached for it, for it looked abandoned indeed. I did not expect there a squirrel, let alone a baby.
I pulled it down to study it's structure etc. hoping to understand a bit that aspect of nature's intelligence. Perhaps while taking it apart the babies, which I did not expect there, fell on the ground. Mir saw them, one at first and then another. By their look, they were not quite three days old. They were tiny, their skin  almost membrane-like,  revealing the internal organs. And they were shiny and pink and cute and helpless. I knew at once that we HAD TO TAKE them home and hope for them to adapt, grow big just day by day enough to establish in their tiny, vulnerable frames the force of life. 
I clasped one close to my chest and Mir the other and brought them in and a part of their nest.
Four days have passed. One may open his eyes tomorrow!
But alas! The other will not. He was feebler of the two. He shut his eyes forever yesterday.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

'I's : Pink I,Chenn 'I'

I did not have to Wiki it to spell  E N D O S U L F A N. Just wrote it badly and someone kinder took the trouble to look it up for me. Well, thank you!  Someone else explained what it is & does. Thank you again! That has made me that much more erudite but not immune to the effects of that DDT-spray. (DichloroDiphenylTrichloroethane.  I knew that one since 1977 0r so because Mr. Goa-pinathan, my Chemistry teacher in People's High, had taught it to us)  The spray, one hopes, does not carry too far because it kills. 
Another nagging summer infliction is conjunctivitis. I do not have to spell it badly because, like DichloroDiphenylTrichloroethane, I know to spell it. Besides with one eye and a half stuck together with a gooey crusting, WHOCARESABOUTSPELLINGANDSHIT! The most nagging thing about this infliction is not the irritation but the compounded name of the disease. Disease! BIG DEAL! Just makes you uneasy for a few days is all. Heard it around the time I became aware of the different functions of erection.  I was a small boy then. 
In school people called it Soreyeosis (I think, for it sounded that way) or sore eyes. We were asked not to look in other people's eyes and to wear dark glasses. 
In Konkani they simply call it "eyes".

Question: why are you wearing goggles in the dark?
Answer: Because I have eyes!

Then I heard some people call it conjunctivitis.  That sounded proper and important, like something used by the convent educated prudes proud of their good habits.
Later I heard that it was also called "Madras eye". Madras now is known as Chennai, yet the name of this infection has not changed! We must request Mr. Stalin to get a bill passed in the TN assembly.
It is called pink eye also. Pink! It really evokes the yuck. Red eye is out 'cause it would indicate anger. ( Shiva's eyes were pink with rage! Just joking.) Blue or any other colour is not right. Pink is apt but yucky!
But just as a rose by any other name would smell the same, conjunctivitis by any other name the same bloody painfully embarrassing infection which forces you to wear dark glasses in the night.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


The world was tiring on its own destined cyclic rounds of birth, life and death. She went to Shiva to ask  for a boon. Shiva was in deep meditation. The world waited and waited. Shiva meditated and meditated. The world got tired of waiting, so she picked up a stone and hit Shiva on His third eye. Shiva was disturbed. He opened his unhurt pair of eyes. They were blazing with wrath. The world hid behind a mound of clay. Shiva said, "Who the **** hit me? What the ** did I do to deserve this. Come out of hiding at once!" 
The world trembled. Naturally! Shiva's wrath was not unknown. She remained hid but said to Shiva, "Lord, it is me."
" Me? Who the **** is me?" Siva demanded. The world replied, "Me, Lord, The World." 
"How dare", said Shiva, "you refer to your petty self with a capital letter? You are 'me' not 'M'e! I am 'M'e!" The world said, " sorry sir". Shiva, who was a compassionate God said, "Oh, alright, you come out now." The world came out. She stood before Shiva's  red eyes.
" Why the **** did you hit Me?" Shiva.
"Youweremeditating toomuch" - The world.
"So? It is summer, no catastrophe intended. I can meditate while the sun shines bright." 
" Oh Sir, pardon me, for you are ignorant about the hell created in summer when the sun shines. You have no idea!" 
"What the**** are you talking about?"
"Endozulphane, Lord!"
"Yea, I don't know how it is spelled, but it sounds like ENDOZULPHANE"
" What the**** is that?" asked Shiva. 
"I don't know. But you can ask Jonny." 
"Jonny? Who the **** is Jonny?"
"You don't know Jonny? Everyone knows him Lord. He lives in the green belt."
"Green belt?"
"Yeah Lord. He is from Australia."
"I have no time to go to Australia."
" Nooooooooooooooo, Lord, he lives in Auroville."
"Auroville! That little club started by Roger?" 
"Who is Roger?"
"No sir, I don't. Honestly!"
"I am not surprised. Anyway, he died. He created a club of a few French bourgeois freaks who had nothing better to do but choose the best concept in the 'one world' theme."
"Anyhow,Johnny lives in Auroville"
" and you want me to ask him whatever it is that caused hell in summer time on earth?"
"Ok", Shiva replied and closed his eyes again and went in deep meditation.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


  So much to say and so little to say.
  Charu, we have worked together in theatre (oh those were fun moments) and can't stop admiring your work as a caricaturist!!
  and now of course , that you contribute to our blog :)
  Charu, Aurovilian by nature, his entry process was a joke..lives with Mirm his son and wife Paula.
  He is an artist, foolish, smart, conncected and cocky!
  Unbeatable you are, my friend, keep up your great job and training your son to become a fine.. :)

Monday, March 15, 2010


Darwin or not, evolution is the reason why the earth has survived catastrophes. There may have been more to it, it may have started even before the gasses began...
In certain spiritual traditions they speak about the self existent, unmanifest zero who decided to create himself, manifest himself, so he created Maya-illusion.      
Evolution seems to have stuck at stage man. 
But what seems is not what is. look at the picture below, It is an ape evolving into human.

There must be some human already existing in some forest. 
Who knows, may be he is transforming into superman.

Friday, March 12, 2010

In Auroville's Vikas

The tiny well (about 2 ft deep and 2 ft dia.) in front of our home invites a wonderful mix of birds. Neighbor's cats and nobody dogs too come there to drink, and I am sure that there are nocturnal life forms who bathe there and drink from that well, but that must be in the quiet of night. Mongoose is not a night creature; it is shy.  I have seen bands of them around the pool at any time of the day.
I saw a pair of bulbuls bathing in there. They nervously hopped on the edge before mustering courage to dash on the water, barely dipping their wings and that fraction of a second contact with water seeming more a rustle of wings than anything else remotely connected with diving. Unlike us they do not soap up nor shampoo.
Vikas has hollow roofs. Ceilings are vaulted, so there are gaps between a ceiling and the top floors. Here parrots live. None of my neighbor has complained of noise during quiet hours. Parrots, when they enter their nesting fall quiet. It is only in the morning before collectively flying for their 'jobs' , they create a rumpus. It happens again in the evenings when they return to rest for the night. But only when they are about to leave or enter their holes in the pipe homes do they shriek.
Bandicoots and civet cats are there and I have spotted banded tailed raccoon-like animals. Rabbits and hares, chameleons, birds of captivating hues and plumage have caught my eye. 
I had found a tortoise crossing the street which I have released in the bigger pond nearby. He surfaces in the rains when flooding of pond heightens his chances of escape. 
Going by the various calls I get to hear from dawn to dawn, I can say that Vikas is home to a million species. They seem happy, and that makes me happy.  

snake hunter

Saedi's become a stalker. She prowls the Land like a cat in search of mice. Except instead of delicately hunting rodents, she's after much larger prey... She's after snakes.

She hasn't attacked any yet--thank God--but she's found almost every possible place they can hide. She wakes us up at night barking at the rat snake in the garden. It was she who found the snakes making love. And today she found the big one.

I followed her cries to see her inching towards a coiled up beast. Who knows how long he was, but his body was a good two inches diameter. And he had spots. I watched in awe as both Saedi and I could inch closer and closer without it moving... Was he dead? Sleeping?

Then it hit me: Does it matter?

This isn't a harmless rat snake. I don't know much about snakes, but this I knew. Cobra? He wasn't hissing and there was no obvious hood. So as I ushered the dogs away, I described the snake to Martanda--and later looked online--only to discover it was a "mature" Russell Viper, a poisonous and seductive snake. Eek.

Nice reminder that we are not the kings of this castle...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Biased Divine

Beats me how some things get fussed over and others snubbed. Perhaps it is a tendency in human nature to associate only with the ones in limelight and ignore everything else. Being proxy to the famous you get  sprinkled upon with some star dust. 
Yet,happiness is elsewhere somehow.
Aren't all sentient beings  equal in God's eyes? If one banyan tree by an accident of chance happens to grow roots in a patch of land which, according to some,  is 'holy land' ( God, one more!), that banyan tree is disproportionately hallowed.  What about others, says I? What about other banyans, for instance, which have grown within the same 'holy' compound of the great 'holy' land? Can they be cut and hacked randomly,  cement benches be built upon their roots. Why?
One obvious answer is this:- the Mother has not mentioned them anywhere in any of her many writings, nor any reference to them is sited  in her recorded conversations.
So what?
It is common sense that all trees are trees and they are significant, perhaps the most significant element that makes earth the living planet.
Tukarama, the 16 th c. saint from Maharashtra wrote such passionate poetry. One of them is," Vikshavalli amha soyari vanachari..." ( Forests (all vegetation) are our relatives...)
But then it is not uncommon among men that some relatives are dearer than others. One aunt gets more of our love and attention than others, because that aunt was mother's favorite? Does that mean that the Divine is not all that impartial after all? S/He has preferences?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Natural farmer - Krishna Mckenzie

  Back in 1997, i believe Muniandi, Kartik and i started this place called today Solitude.
  We did not last very long, we were young but lacked funds to follow up the work on the land which is very suitable for framing.
  Krishna came in the picture very gracefully! seriously.  He inspired and passionate of natural farming has created an amazing place in Auroville, South India.
  They eat of the land (99% grown on the land).  He plays the guitar and sings.
  Check him and his band at :)

  He is an inspiration to me.  Hard working, passionate for the land and is proving to us all the abundance, beauty Earth provides us!

Host and guest

Words are so much a part of convention. In life's great flux nomenclature falls like dying leaves from a tree. The tree itself remains standing with all those leaves scattered about its great girth. Season shifts, a tree grows one more ring-node on its trunk. Its age is thus marked. And so it goes on.
We who understand all the pluses of possession, of acquisition and proprietorship and ownership, should know at some deeper level that really there is no owning without threat. Ownership works so like a beast 'marking' a tree with secretion from its gland. We use lofty phrases to communicate; we spray our area with a different odour. It reeks of law.
Forest breaks no law. Summer follows winter and then rains and summer again. There is renewal - of zest, of the lust for life, even renewal of the necessary poise to take on the most devastating foe, the time. Man would say that time wins. The forest would smile and fall quiet.
These are words. They are a part of human convention. Nature is unconventional, and therefore fresh and full of surprises. Forest hosts everything and everybody without claiming to be the host. It is wide and deep and benevolent, so benevolent that it forgives you even after you have damaged it. It invites you deep into itself: you are its guest as long as you need to be so. The moment your need to be the guest is absolved you become the forest!
Yes, you become the forest.

- Charudatta

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shiny Love

Saedi is a great watchdog. She’s so great that she barks at everything… wandering cows, bags of coconut husk, the elephant statues we put in the garden… So great, in fact, that sometimes we tune her out.

Yesterday she was barking so long and enthusiastically that she lost her little (big) doggie bark. I came out when I realized how passionate she was about whatever object she chose to defend the house against this time. But as I followed her voice, I realized she had actually found something she really considered a threat.

I couldn’t see it at first. She was furiously growling at…the ground. But as I neared her position, I saw something shimmer in the setting sun. Something big. Something slimy. Something slithering. It was the largest damn rat snake I’ve ever seen. (Even at Croc Bank!)

Today I came home to that same furious bark and thought immediately it might be the Slithering Giant. I quietly grabbed my camera and followed her bark to what she had found.

My heart stopped. It was a snake—It wasn’t the big one, but it was sitting up…like a cobra ready to attack!

I screamed for her to get back. She listened. But it wasn’t a cobra… It wasn’t just one snake… It was: snake sex.

I filmed it anyways.

There’s actually something beautiful, captivating, and—dare I say it?—romantic about snakes mating. They’re so intertwined with each other and so focused on each other that they don’t even seem to notice the barking dog(s) and gawking human that may stand a foot or so from their love-making site. I was so touched I had to give them privacy…even if Saedi kept barking away.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"Work" at Lumiere

“This will sound silly,” I admitted to my friend and Hindi translator, who was relaying my words to Naveen, our new watchman. “Ask him to pretend that this forest is incredibly special, unique, precious. Pretend that this Land is so special he should protect it and its trees with his heart and soul. It may sound ridiculous, but we think it is that special, and we think everyone else who lives here should too.”

The negotiations were to get Naveen to start sleeping on the Land. We were so desperate to have a presence here in the winter that we grabbed him with little training or requests. Now that things are quieting down a bit again, we want to make sure he’s happy with the job. Because this work shouldn’t feel like work; we want him to live here and love it. (Is that so much to ask?) ;)

So what does the work entail anyways? Here’s the gist:
  1. Protect the trees (chase cows, build little fences around saplings that are being eaten, prune parasites, prevent cutting, etc etc)

  2. Create an environment in which Nature can flourish (fix holes in the fences to keep the cows out, water thirsty saplings throughout the forest, pick up any litter that blows onto the Land, protect and feed the nursery)

  3. Guard the Land (greet any and all “visitors” so they know there’s a presence, walk the Land, watch for fires or other situations that indicate external intervention, keep an eye on fallen trees or other opportunities for people to come and take advantage of the Land)
And of course there’s the steward himself who handles all the real situations, manages all the work, knows every plant inside out, and helps each tree grow and live to its maximum potential. The rest of us are the support team, but we all do our part.

Hell, even the dogs take the work seriously—they cows (maybe it’s just instincts and training)… they 2.pick up litter (ok, maybe it’s just to play with it)… and they 3. greet every visitor with--enthusiasm?--(even the guests we don't want to scare away)…

Friday, February 19, 2010

Just another funny day at the farm…

Is it full moon?

The animals are acting crazy.

First thing in the morning, a paradise fly-catcher (beautiful bird!) was playing in the fountain. Never have I seen this type of bird anywhere near the water… Why start now?

In the late afternoon when the cows came for their last drink, I was in the kitchen and heard a “thunk” followed by a splash. One of the calves had fallen into the fountain. Funny to see the big awkward animal amongst the sunflowers, scrambling to climb back over the wall!

And as I was cleaning the kitchen before making dinner, I noticed perched behind the trash cans a single, organic egg. One of the hens has decided to sneak in through the window and make the garbage her nest.

What is wrong with the creatures?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Broken bike? Not until it don't start at all...

Here at Lumière we make the best of things. Most of our pots don’t have handles, none of our plates match, our furniture is 90% hand-me-downs. But that’s how we like it.

Now that Palani is back with us for a few weeks, he too is playing the “as long as it functions it don’t need fixing” game. So when the motorcycle’s kick start fell off… well, the boys found a new way to start it:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pet Chickens

We would never eat our chickens. They come greet us in the morning, they follow us on our daily walks, and they look longingly at us for food all the time. They are pets, not produce. (But we will happily eat their eggs…)

Our dear friend Monica takes chicken-loving to the next level. A lover of all things feathered, we call her the bird whisperer. Today she proved the name fits...

Yep, that’s Monica petting the chickens…

If only they’d be so friendly with their master…

…at least the dogs will eat from his hand?

Friday, February 12, 2010


Here at Lumière we’re always finding creative ways to merge knowledge from multiple fields. It’s in the steward’s nature. Not only is Martanda a forester, but he is a student of massage and healing, and someday dreams of becoming a watsu practitioner. Maybe someday he can practice this water-art in the serenity of the Land. Maybe someday he’ll be able to merge Earth and Water.

But in the meantime, he finds other ways to merge both his occupations. Today it was Dogsu, or Tansu on Dogs.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why Greenbelt?

I re-discovered this document, given to me by a dear friend months ago, and thought it a perfect introduction to the “Greenbelt.” A little out-dated (10 years), it shares the history, mission, vision, and importance of the forest surrounding Auroville. In short, “The Green Belt will be an extensively planted zone surrounding the City area, sustaining healthy growth of natural life for the entire area.”

It’s “functions” are to:
  • Be the `lungs’ of Auroville by creating oxygen and filtering airborne pollution.

  • Attract wildlife back by providing habitats and ecosystems for natural life cycles, combining all kinds of birds, animals, insects and trees; and by creating genetic “corridors”/uninterrupted areas for passage of pollen, seeds and wildlife.

  • Teach and learn by offering environmental education and creating sites for research and training on wasteland reclamation, medicinal plants, watershed management, groundwater recharge, soil conservation, organic agriculture, integrated pest management, biodiversity, and various reforestation techniques.

  • Produce food by emerging as the basis for food production, housing farms, dairies, orchards, and agroforestry by-products.

  • Leverage scarce rainfall by reducing water run-off, enhancing soil moisture, increasing
    rain percolation, and exploring watershed management and groundwater recharge.

  • Improve the climate by providing shade, influencing the temperature, and reducing reflective heat and light radiation.

  • Provide timber, fuel and fodder, as it is a forest after all.

  • Offer tranquillity to the city-dwellers of Auroville, as the forest is naturally of scenic beauty and quiet, and the Green Belt should have promenade opportunities and natural vistas, which are of essential value to an urban population.
For us at Lumière, we resonate with many of the above-listed goals…but in the document, we find another piece that almost captures our inspiration:
The true value of the Green Belt is in re-establishing the relationship between man and nature, one that is in balance.
You can read the whole document here.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mooncup, Keeper, Diva Cup, etc.

Mooncup was our beloved cat, and we call our crow guardian Keeper. But these are more than names of pets, they are life-changing products.

These are all brands of vaginal cups used to collect blood during a woman’s menstruation cycles. They’re made from medical-grade silicon-like materials that ensure against infections or allergies. They’re roughly the size of a small shot glass and flexible enough that the woman inserts the cup (lower than a tampon) and lets it catch the blood—not absorb it—throughout the day. Every so often (ideally 8 hours max), the woman quietly goes to the toilet and empties the contents, which spill neatly into the toilet bowl. She then rinses the cup and reinserts. It’s up to personal preference, but most women boil the cup to sterilize it just before and after each cycle. Voila.

For some, this will sound gross, but I can tell you it’s honestly amazing. While there are a million reasons to switch, I’ll list out a few below… because the Mooncup really is healthier and more convenient, comfortable, affordable, and environmentally friendly than using tampons or pads.
  • It’s healthier: This is really what switched me… Have you ever dipped a tampon into a glass of water? It expands, right? Ha. ha. ha. Funny, interesting, whatever to see. But have you ever bothered to look closely at the water after dipping the tampon in? It will be full of tiny cotton fibers shed from the tampon. This debris stays in your vaginal walls for ages, and it can cause lacerations, infections, and god-knows what else. With the Mooncup, you know you’re safe.

  • It’s convenient & comfortable: Ever run out of tampons in the middle of your cycle? It’s a pain, right? With the Mooncup, you never have to worry. Just one item to last you (almost) your lifetime. Plus, it’s incredibly comfortable for travel or swimming, and can stay in longer than pads or tampons.

  • You save money: Tampons or pads cost at minimum $4 per month, right? With the Mooncup, which lasts AT LEAST 10 years, you will save $445. Incredible!

  • It’s eco-friendly: Tampons, pads, and other sanitary waste are among the few household items that cannot be sorted or properly recycled. In the U.S. alone, there are over 85 million women of menstruating age contributing over twelve billion pads and 7 million tampons to landfill each year. Are you one of them?
So switch to Mooncups today!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Welcome to My Life

I come from a different world. There’s no denying it.

Sure, I always wanted to live a barefoot life. I never liked make up and I always got dirty…and stayed dirty. But I lived in a proper American suburb with nice things and reliable electricity, and I took the train to work every day in my chic dresses or fancy suits. “Working with my hands” meant typing press releases or writing op-eds. “Eating fresh fruits and vegetables” meant a trip to Au Bon Pain or Cosi. “Communicating with nature” was cursing at the Boston wind tunnels for ruining yet another umbrella.

And now here I am, living a “Greenbelt” life. But what does that even mean?

It’s not like we live in an open-air house with no plumbing. We have hot showers. We have a washing machine and a fridge. We have ceiling fans for when it’s too hot or there are too many bugs. We have “current”/electricity even when the rest of the town suffers from India’s too-frequent power cuts. Ok, so it’s all on solar, but that’s never been a problem before. Sometimes we have to be careful, particularly during the monsoon, but life is what is it is…and—in terms of creature-comforts—it’s not that different than the suburbs.

My family from France visited, and all their questions were focused on what it’s like living on the Land, living as “green” as possible. I tried to explain it there and then, but I realized it’s something that has to come out slowly, over time. It’s everything, from electricity to waste to health to cleaning to communications to spirituality to whatever else you can think of. So I’m committing myself once again to write regularly… on eco-friendly living in this particular forest in this peculiar community in this particular southeast corner of India.

My editor has already delivered my first assignment: The Mooncup. (Ironically, he “sells” the idea of the mooncup a whole lot better than I do…and I’m the woman.)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Our black cat back to dust

  Ooph, don't know what to say.  Since some days we have noticed that our black male cat mooncup disappeared.
  This morning, Catherine smells something odd, we look around to find the source of stench.  Under the table outside where i work on my saplings in dire straits ('operation table') and germinate seeds; we find under mooncup curled up breatheless :(
  it has been easily 2 days!! not even the dogs noticed!! maybe we could have done something about it?
  The rains over, digging a hole is a task. With the help of water and tools we dug a hole for the mooncup..
  Farewell, lovely cat.  Our auspicious cat; you may return anytime even in ghost form!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Coming up soon the mooncup

  Women. You do use pads/tampons/etc. right for your menstruation?
  Well, an ecological, environment friendly and mainly healthier for you. The moon cup!
  i know, i know it is strange for a guy to speak about it. well, i am concerned, want to support and encourage you all! :) women power 2010
  So more on the moon cup shortly


  Wow, that has been a long time since we wrote something.
  Where have we been? what have we been? that is a good question! time goes so fast, so many things come and go..
  trying to keep with the flow all the time :)
  We planted more pepper that we collected from David, Aurodam.
  what is fun and a little stinky though is the bokashi compost collected from some individuals in Auroville; we put in a hole around our planted trees of this year. hoping the roots can feed into the enriched soil.
  Of course the dogs had to dig into it and the sweet stench spread all over :) worst is they come running to you smelling.phew

Friday, January 29, 2010

...and that was that.

Notice how two weeks disappeared and I reported almost nothing? Turns out taking care of the Land requires much more time than anticipated. When Martanda returns I’ll write more. Honest.

In the meantime, no, I still haven’t built the closet.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I am so thrilled to report that we now not only have roses, but we have gorgeous sunflowers laughing in the center of the pond, lighting up the entire home. I’m so happy!!!

Ok ok, so just one has bloomed so far… but imagine how fun it will be when they’re all alive and shining!

Monday, January 18, 2010

oh jeez

For those of you who don’t know, taking care of a forest is a lot of work, and everything has consequences.

Yesterday the day-watchman forgot to shut off the sprinklers; today I have no water.
Yesterday I forgot to water the flowers; today they’re sulky and sad.
Yesterday the chickens discovered how to break into the kitchen window; today there’s no catfood.

Cows to chase. Chickens to feed. Gardens, flowers, plants to water and de-weed. Dogs to de-tick. Trees to protect. Eggs to collect. Bokashi compost. A house and kitchen to clean. And, as more and more people suddenly show up on the Land expecting things, I’ve also got a language to learn.

Somehow I think it’ll take longer to build that closet than I had hoped.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Queen again

I woke up expecting to feel fresh and excited. But things never go quite as you expect.

Martanda is gone for ten days and I thought it would be my opportunity to reign as unchallenged Lady of the Land once more. It was too much fun this summer… and there are so many things I’ve been dying to do that are just too low on the steward’s priority list. Like build a closet.

But I woke up realizing just how alone I was. This summer there was never a night without friends nearby. This time there isn’t even a watchman to say good morning to. Just me, a bitchy dog, a destructive puppy, and a cat that pisses on the duvet.

Wish me luck.