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The artist and "Mantra" pottery executive

How and when did you hear about Auroville, when and why did you decide to come to and settle here?

Well, I came here first in 1971 when my (biological) mother  wanted to come and see the Mother. I thought she was crazy: coming to meet a guru of an ashram who was French, while in England ( where I was studying at the time) people were going crazy about Indian gurus! Anyway I came along and, after arriving in Pondy, was very impressed by the atmosphere and decided that I would also go and see this Lady. The Darshan was very powerful and left me totally quiet for a few days. Later, after finishing my education, circumstances simply made me come here in 1975 and I'm still here.

The early days were tough, how was it for you?

Looking back, it's like they weren't tough at all.

What made you decide to create "Mantra"? And how did you decide upon the name?

"Mantra" is an evolution of three different potteries. Now that was a difficult one. Some of my friends gave a bunch of names for  what I should call it but I didn't like any of them. And then one day it came to very strongly. I was going through a crisis, and  just realised that the spinning wheel in Tibetan was like a mantra, and I made the connection between my work and the idea of the spinning wheel being my mantra.

"Mantra" is a well known and respected pottery.  I understand it took a lot of work and energy to get there, where do you see your unit in ten years from now?

Difficult to say right now.

Looking at your work I can see that you do have a wide collection of work; how often do you change the design and add new pieces?

Not that often, designs come from pressure and inspiration. The good designs, I think, will stand the test of time.

Your favourite story about Auroville from the past?

I think one of my favorite stories, is when I started up "Mantra".
Over the years, I have a tremendous faith that when I need something I'll get it, especially where money is concerned. I was under a lot of pressure from my family because they thought I was wasting time and money in Auroville. So I received no money from them. Often, in the beginning, it was impossible and we were just not making it. That's another story, but the one that is my favorite was a few years down the line. We were losing money and I had borrowed exactly two thousand rupees from someone, and had given my word that I would pay this money back. And it hadn't happened..,  I was finding it difficult to get the money back to this person. I really started worrying on how I was going to give this person the money back, because I had promised it.
Then one day Pala came by on her cycle and she told me that a check had come from AVI USA and there was some money in it for me; she told me to come to the Financial Service in a few days to see how much I was to be given. So I went a few days later and found out that I had exactly two thousand and one rupees.
Paid the person back and had one rupee to spend on the pottery for the future…
And that's great to always know that something is always there and available when you need it. When I don't get it, I now realise that it must be something that I don't need!


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