India solo

Rat in the ceiling - Wednesday, January 09, 2002

I have been a bit busy last week so haven't had time to update the diary and now too much has happened in the meantime to fit in here. I don't even remember it all, so I will just write what comes to my mind.

The introduction tour was extremely interesting. It really gave a varied look into the Auroville community. Although 3 days is hardly anything, I feel I learned a lot more than I had expected! We were presented with both positive and negative aspects of living in such a special place. Despite all the negative things I am very fascinated by the place. Yesterday I also moved inside Auroville. I hope it will give me even more insight into the community.

Anyhow, I forgot to tell about all the interesting room mates I've had lately. While I stayed in the palm-thatched hut in the village outside Auroville I had to change hut because mine was booked out. The new hut however was a bit more "shabby" and soon I noticed it also had a lot of other things living in it!! First of all a handful of insects and creepy crawlies, then I found a cockroach and if this was not enough, in the night I discovered that a rat was living in my ceiling (the ceiling is made of palm leaves). After that discovery I didn't really feel like sleeping anymore, however I hadn't slept much for a few nights so I eventually unwillingly dosed off. The next thing I remember is that I woke up by some scratching sounds and discovered that the owners cat had come inside my hut (yes, the flimsy door made of palmleaves was not possible to close properly)
The cat was now hanging by one paw from the ceiling, in an attempt to catch the rat (and I was lying exactly underneath all this commotion)! Luckily the cat managed to get down without falling onto me and the rat didn't fall on me either (phew). I made a decision right then to move out of that hut as soon as daylight appeared:)

So now I live far inside Auroville, literally in the bush. I rented a moped since it is pretty long distances here and no streetlights when the sun goes down. I don't feel like walking or cycling around alone in this forest/bush area then. Now I also have a solid room again, 2 weeks in a straw hut is interesting, but somehow it is nice to have a little more luxury again, well at least a door to lock!

Yesterday the people who were in the introduction group were invited to Ambre's place (the French girl who was our guide during the 3 days, she was part of the first group of people who came here around '69, when the place was founded!) She lives really far out in the bush too, but I had a map and a moped and thought it should be easy enough to find. However it was not so easy after all. There were too many paths that were not marked on the map, so at one point I chose the wrong direction and ended up in the wrong community. I asked a guy there for the right directions and realized I had to backtrack a bit. So when I was leaving the place this German Shepherd that had been sleeping on the ground suddenly woke up and started chasing after me barking like mad. Obviously I panicked (!) and drove straight into a bush. The dog kept barking angrily, but (thank god) did not attack! (yes I know, it must have looked incredibly hilarious when I drove into that bush?! :) Luckily though I did not hurt myself or the moped, just got a bit of a shock! I guess the smart move would have been to stop the bike when the dog came, but I really did not feel like doing that when I in my imagination saw the dog biting into my leg!

Once back on the main path I met some of the other guys from the group (they were also lost!?), so we kept trying different paths until Jany (the Finnish guy) came looking for us and led us to the right place