Two days ago,Â I left Thiruvannamalai.Â I’d tried to leave the day before, but that place is magnetic and I didn’t make it out the first time.Â The bus ride to Pondicherry was again driven terrifyingly fast, but for 130 rupees, there were reclinging seats, AC, and bottled water.Â I think so many people reach enlightenment here because they’re constantly having near-death experiences on the road.
I got the last room at the Park Guest House, which is part of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and my room overlooked the Indian Ocean.Â Walking along the beach, I asked some French people where the best restaurant is, and they said “You’re standing right in front of it.”Â Cool.Â (And myÂ yearsÂ of high school and collegeÂ French are coming in handy.)Â At a the fancy French place The Promenade, and I ate freshly caught sear fish, a lime soda, and white chocolate mousse on the rooftop for about $12 US.
I went to see an internist who is an energetic healer the next day and then took a rickshaw toÂ Auroville.Â My guest house, The Waves is a collection of raised thatched huts, and I can see the ocean and the orange sun rising from my balcony in the morning.Â (I also got the last room here.)Â
Last night I was invited to aÂ campfire get-together on the beach.Â Â It looked like a Rainbow Gathering.Â We were celebrating the festival of Shiva Ratri, so we were all singing baijans.Â And then I asked what people’s names are.Â Someone suggested we sing everyone’s name, so we went around the fire and improvised a song for each person for at least an hour.
And this is big:Â I rented a moped in the morning, learned how to drive,Â rode around Auroville to see the Matrimandir, The Golden Golf Ball of Utopia!