Auroville is many things.
It is an experiment. It is a civil society. It is a tight-knit community. Auroville is also a place where people mix together, no matter how old they are.
I have heard the sayings “age is just a number” or “age is not a thing” too many times to count in Auroville. No one ever asked me how old I am. It is truly when I went to visit the Granite Mines, 45 minutes away from Auroville, that I realized how accurate it is.
Picture 15 bikes going fast on dangerous roads. Picture a bunch of 17-year-olds being friends with 30-year-olds, all harmoniously laughing at the same things, being open-minded and respectful. Picture all these people being together, talking together, understanding each-other. People jumping in the water, laughing, having coffee, partying together, talking about the same things, having fun together and understanding each-other. That is not Auroville, it is the spirit of it. It is the way Aurovillians are raised, taught to look at the world and at other people. For a foreigner, for a group of foreigners like we were, it is a concept that is hard to understand. Auroville pays no heed to social diktats about a lot of modern concepts such as money, state justice and… age. Auroville disregards outside social obligations and created its very own social norms. Progress and social evolution are not only depending of technological progress but also on personal fulfillment and improvement. This is, however, not a naïve way to look at Auroville. Auroville is not a utopian community. Character and maturity prevail over notions of age and seniority, it goes beyond social and work obligations. Aurovillians choose to spend time with people that are from different generations.
Some people might even think “I don’t want to hang-out with a bunch of 16-year-olds”. But what if maturity, knowledge and experience had nothing to do with how old you are, with how old you see yourself and consider yourself next to teenagers or millennials? Being with these people from different backgrounds, cultures, education processes made me realize a lot. It is not about how old you are when you experience or learn something, it about who you are and what you are ready to learn or be taught. They all benefit from each-other. They all listen to each-other. They all respect each-other. They see friendship and human relationships as bilateral, managing to learn from everyone, anyone that wants to speak up, being opened to anyone that wants to listen. Auroville is many things. It is an enlightening community. It is a respectful society. It is a learning experience that changes the way you see the world and human interaction forever.