Saturday, March 25
Yesterday I initiated a disastrous breakfast experiment with soft-boiled eggs, which led me to ponder on the possibility of a gray area between uncooked and soft-boiled; an area my eggs seemed keen to inhabit. Today I chose the simpler hard-boiled option, and got what I asked for.
Irma asked the hotel manager about getting to Auroville and (after yesterday’s experience at the beach) about getting back. He arranged a four-wheel taxi for us, and added it to our bill.
We got to Auroville about midday and walked to the Visitor Centre, where we looked, read, and watched a twenty minute video. I liked what I saw: it seemed like just my sort of divine madness. We got tickets to the viewing point, a “shaded one kilometre walk” away and set off. We had, of course, chosen precisely the wrong time of day to do this.
The walk proved far from shady and Irma’s temper proved far from even. I also suspected that the “one kilometre” part involved a degree of deception or over-optimism.
Now we have arrived. We stand near the centre of Auroville, looking at the matrimandir, begun on 1971 and completed in 2009; “a place dedicated to the Universal Mother, a concept well known in Hindu culture”. Its primary use lies in prolonged concentration, aimed at removing attachment to the ego. Large numbers of Indian visitors take selfies in front of it which, for many reasons, both amuses and delights me.
We will walk back and sit in a café drinking lime sodas and eating samosas and cake. Things will look up. We will wander around the air-conditioned boutiques, and the bookshops, and all will become well. I will buy some books about Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, and about Auroville. I will spot that, in his aphorisms, Sri Aurobindo said
It is noble to pardon thine own injurers, but not so noble to pardon wrongs done to others. Nonetheless pardon these too but, when needful, calmly avenge.
I will smile to myself.
When we get back to our hotel, we will wonder what and where we will eat before we discover that downstairs the kitchen staff can’t wait to serve us their Saturday Night Special. We will have fishcakes followed by beetroot and coconut soup. After this we will have fish, fried king prawns, rice and steamed vegetables, followed by steamed chocolate cake and coffee mousse.
We will feel ready for bed by 21:00.