Kalya is one of Auroville's youngsters who recently
went out for a student exchange programme in USA. In the following write-up
he shares his experience with you:
A trip, a discovery, a new life!
Coming from Kuilapalayam
Until the age of nine I lived with my parents in
Kuilapalayam (a village in Auroville's vicinity) but went to school
in Fraternity. Later on, this school was shifted to New Creation.
When this change occurred, some other students and myself were given
the chance to move into the New Creation community and study there as
well. Once that change of life style was done, it became easier for
us to use all the facilities given by Auroville (use of schoolbus, access
to higher education etc.). I then went to Transition School for 5 years
and to Last School for another 3 years. Some years back, a new school
was created, for those who wanted a government diploma: so I shifted
to After School and passed my twelfth grade at the age of twenty-two!
A chance to go abroad
Last year two young Aurovilians were selected on a small write-up about
their lives. I was one of them! I had the privilege to go to the United
States of America for a dance programme organised by Melissa Michael
who is in charge of the 'Movement Based Mass'. I was so eager to see
what that big country was about, to explore the other side of the world.
A dream come true! And the greatest thing about this proposal was that
it came right on time: I really needed a break from my daily habits
and I wanted to discover more about myself, what I was going to do for
a living, and all these questions that come to your mind when you finish
your studies. I was not very active at that point, I would hang around
here and there, my only fixed activity was basketball in the evenings.
What happened in USA?
I spent the first month of my journey in Boulder,
Colorado. There was a dance programme where 40 young participants were
involved, only two from India! I spent most of the time in a dance studio
but I also gave small lectures on India and Auroville to children from
some schools in the town.
Then came New Mexico, where I followed a certificate
course in permaculture and worked for some weeks in a landscaping company
doing a lot of manual and physical work. I learned some of their techniques
and discovered many things about landscaping. A lot of the work consists
in working on machines, which surely makes things move much faster and
easier, but personally I thought that they introduced a lot of polluting
materials, such as plastic and steel, in the soil... So I'm kind of
happy that India doesn't have all those techniques yet!
After that hard working time, I visited Sacramento
and stayed with Jack and Mary Alexander (of AVI USA) and their son.
They took me everywhere they thought would be nice to visit, many historical
places and gardens..
The last month in America was spent in Seattle,
Washington, with Bill and Cindy (who lived in Auroville for some time).
There I was taken to the University of Washington to give a talk about
Auroville for all the students who will come to Auroville later this
year for an exchange programme. This was quite scary for me, but I managed
to evoke in them the interest of coming to Auroville.
I must say that it was really nice to meet some former Aurovilians in
such a faraway country. It made me feel like Auroville is so spread
out everywhere that wherever you go, you can find friends.
I really enjoyed that trip and it gave me a lot
of ideas for my future, about my work (landscaping!) and how I want
I also discovered that Auroville is the place where I want to live and
that, no matter how great travelling is, I will always come back where