It is the day before Christmas Eve and we started the day visiting the beautiful Auroville Botanical Gardens wandering around the premises discussing Aurovilian vegetation. Paul explained the difficulties he had faced working within Auroville and the organization’s need for a more sustainable and long-term financial solution. The idea is to develop a garden and plant outlet and other home decorations for plants as an innovative and creative solution to raise money. It is amazing to hear that all that green was just barren ground in the 1960s!
Next stop was the Raw Food Center where the founder Anandi described the benefits of raw vegan food. Vegan raw food is apparently relatively easy to make and here in Auroville it is also quite cheap to live as a vegan. The benefits extend further than the individual since vegan raw food is sustainable in many different ways including environmentally, economically as well as health wise for both humans and animals.
While there at the Raw Food Center we had the opportunity to try the food and Anandi maintained that we don’t need meat; it is based on desire and greed rather than needs.The fact that Anandi made such a clear, strong statement against the massive meat consumption was especially inspiring for me since I have been a vegetarian for a couple of years and could not agree more. The mass production of meat and semi-finished products causes so many unnecessary problems simply based on gluttony.
One of the basic concepts in Auroville is to make sure that everyone is able to meet their basic needs, a society based on needs rather than wants. I believe that many of us were inspired by Anandi’s passion for a vegan lifestyle and the work she does.
Another organization they managed to squeeze into our already loaded schedule was New Colors, an after-school program for underprivileged children. At New Colors the children can get help with homework, learn more English or computers, or simply hang out and feel safe. Many children here in the nearby villages come from poor homes and spend most of their time on the streets. Kumar, the founder of New Colors created the organization as a result of his own experiences in the village streets during his childhood. Alcoholism is a huge problem here which is one of the reasons for the children being out so late on the streets. Kumar and the others at New Colors aim to reach those children and provide a safe place for playing, learning and anything else a child could need. For Kumar, his wife Renana, and the children New Colors is everything. It is their safe haven, their playground, and their second home. The work done at New Colors is so important but I did not know just how much until I drove around in the small village of Edayanchavadi and saw the children wandering around the streets at night.