Eyes balls reddened, pulsing tightly against the contradictory cool of the night’s air. It’s a blustery December night in Paris, as sure as the tides swing, the deadline season brings forth a nocturnal turn amongst the student species. Computer screens flicker over frustrated desks. Coffee rings and cigarette butts punctuate the sedimentary layers of notes, articles, journals and clippings, the metallic light freezing it all in its flustered chaos. The eyes endure the tight weight of long days (and longer nights) glancing between reams of notes and a stark white rectangle, unrelenting in its alienating glow. Tome after tome, we read. Tip after tap, we type. India feels like a long way away.
Scuttling around Paris with a burdenous school sack, weighed down throughout the working week with its accumulated materials, apparently real gravitas is supposed to hurt your shoulders. India India Tamil Tamil Nadu Nadu, meaningless flecks on a flooded mental radar. Paris, ordered by the ghosts of prestige, jealously jail us from fully realizing what is encoded in these words. What escapes conscious comprehension can be felt. India is screaming at us, its cries relegated to a dull drone by distracting demands, but we can feel what we are kept from knowing.
Sure enough, dates tick by as the 19th approaches. Our lenses of subjectivity wearily twist through fuzz to attempt a focus, to allure forth our dreams of Auroville into their full reign of significance. Anything India pops forth from the blur of modernity like gleaming sapphires in a torrent of gravel. Any bookstore serves as fertile ground for these indulgences, excited forays into sections of Kim or stolen glances into Lonely Planet guides you cant afford slowly tickle forth a burgeoning realization. Any amount of awkward stares from store clerks are endured for fleeting moments with these foggy windows of insight. Our impending adventure is slowly becoming real as the ripples of repressed enthusiasm reverberate into crescendo, echoing in to knowing.
Preparation meetings trundle forward in their course. The team’s grins gleam; excitable smiles are shared as we are relieved in the cathartic glee of our cluelessness, a tribute to our excitable openness, and perhaps, our greatest asset. Dutifully we prepare, collect our resources and equipment, and, collect ourselves to contribute our totality towards great-unknown experiences. I paid a man €145 to inject me with 3 tropical diseases, all for the cause.
My ears crook to the delicate shock of a beep, my pulsing red eyes lethargically follow. A new message just zapped into my email inbox, the blur reads ‘Monsoon Monsoon Warning Warning Power Power Cuts Cuts’. Sh*t just got real and we couldn’t be happier for it.