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Auroville Adventure

Mar 2002


- by Emmanuelle


Emmanuelle, the youngest editor of Auroville Today, who put the cover story for this issue together, shares her experience.

Sitting on a branch, atop a mango tree peopled with birds and squirrels. Biting into the green, unripe fruit, on which we apply salt and red chilly powder.A moment later jumping down, throwing the mango kernel over our shoulder, and running, barefeet, through the open fields, under the bright sun, the wind blowing in our hair..
I grew up in Auroville. Having spent here my childhood, adolescence, and now having become a young adult, I am still here..
As I arrived as a child, with my mother, coming to live in Auroville was not a conscious choice I made, or a decision I took, it just happened..
I cannot compare the experience of spending my childhood in Auroville with any other, as that's the only one I've had. yet I know that it was a special experience!

As a child in Auroville, you are free, you are independent, you can discover this world you are growing up in with wide eyed wonder.and you are protected.You are not exposed to the harsh realities of the 'outside world', which could turn even a child's clear eyed view to a hard, disillusioned stare..
Then you grow up, enter adolescence, and become aware that you are living in an environment, which is, to a certain degree, enclosed.The fact that you have not been exposed enough to the functionings of 'modern society', that is the outside, makes you a little insecure, a little afraid of not being able to manage 'out there'..
You want to break free, discover new horizons, in the process, you break a few rules (which are not necessarily written rules), you are judged, become stigmatized.. But that too passes..

I studied in Auroville, attending Transition School, and then Last School where I discontinued my studies at the age of fifteen. After that, I continued studying a few subjects, while experimenting with different jobs, trying to find the field I was most interested in, could learn the most from, in which I could really give the best of myself. That took a very long time.., many years, during which I saw my lack of formal education as a great handicap, the lack of guidance the youth could receive in Auroville, as a big drawback to the society in general. I felt a little weighed down, lacked self assurance, didn't feel adequate to go out into the world and be able to make it..

Adolescence, a stage when one is still struggling to find one's identity, form one's opinions, widen one's world view.is not always an easy experience to live through in Auroville.. Then, after quite some years of sporadic efforts at studying, trying to find a direction to move towards, I realised that the experiences I had, growing up and living in Auroville, had contributed to making me the 'young adult' I had become. I didn't see the fact that I, as an individual, could not be classified (culturally, socially, professionally etc.) as a handicap any longer, but as a great freedom. The fact that I didn't fit in any category actually opened up many doors, - which it is still, of course, up to me to walk through. I saw the struggles I had gone through as an adolescent (lack of assurance, of guidance, of limits.) not any more as drawbacks, but as stepping-stones. I saw the opinions I had formed on a large scale of diverse subjects, not as a proof of my lack of focus, but as the result of a broad outlook I had unconsciously been cultivating. I saw all the years I had spent in uncertainty, drifting from job to job, interest to interest, as very constructive, as it was during those years that I had become, in spite of myself, an 'autodidact'.

So today, I am still here.mostly due to the circumstances, it is true. Now, there is the world I want to travel, to discover.. There is so much to see, to learn, to try to understand. Yet Auroville will remain the home I come back to, my base..


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