13.10.2014 [ Monday ] ( Contd.)
First part : Travel Diary | Day 7 : Hitch hiking to the Forest
I was walking into the wild.
Soon I was going to live in the wild. My life at Sadhana forest was going to start.
Sadhana forest is a part of Auroville, which is around 6km away from Auroville city. Sadhana forest is a community working towards reforestation, water conservation, sustainable and organic living.
And I was going to volunteer there for a few days. Definitely not a part of my earlier plans, you must be knowing if you were following my travel diary.
As I reached there around 11 am, the volunteers were already started doing their daily activities. One of the long-term volunteers whom I have already met, welcomed me and showed me around. He gave me a short introduction about their daily activities and briefly after showed me my accommodation.
And within no time I was also assigned some activity.
They We call work as ‘Seva’ which means ‘selfless service’. Everyone in Sadhana forest is a volunteer and what we do is ‘seva’. Usually a new volunteer will get some time to get familiar with the place and to take some rest on their first day. But sitting alone, doing nothing in a new place could be really boring. Luckily I didn’t have to go through that boredom. As they couldn’t find a replacement for a sick volunteer, they asked me if I could help them with that seva. And within half an hour of reaching the place, I found myself already becoming a part of that family.
My first seva was breakfast cleaning. Yes, in Sadhana forest everything is done by the volunteers. Right from cooking, cleaning, serving to planting trees and reforestation activities. Then I met Jessica, who was already doing that seva alone. So I started helping her. She was a wonderful kind lady. That was just the beginning. From there onwards all the people I met in there are amazing people. We finished our seva around 12. While we were doing the breakfast cleaning, some other volunteers were preparing lunch.
The lunch was served at 12.30 pm. All the volunteers will sit in a big circle in the main hut for lunch. And the lunch will be served by some volunteers. After everyone gets a plate, there will be a moment of silence. After that everyone starts eating. This is the routine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
During the lunch time I was introduced among all the other volunteers. There were around 60 volunteers at that time. Hearing your name shouted out by 60 people in unison was really a great feeling. And that was a warm welcome.
The food in Sadhana is completely vegan. At Sadhana, no animal products are used. Not even milk or milk products. It was my first time eating only vegan food. During my stay, I ate organic food, either cooked or raw. It was a pretty good experience.
After the lunch I had to complete the New volunteer joining procedures which was Filling up and signing some forms and agreeing that I wouldn’t use drugs or alcohol during my entire stay both inside and outside of Sadhana forest. After that a long term volunteer gave me one more tour of the place, provided me with bed sheets and pillows, assigned me a bed and informed me that there was a workshop on Thai massage at 3pm.
There can be workshops in the afternoon. I was pretty lucky to attend one, on my first day itself. And that too on very relaxing Thai massage. These workshops are offered by volunteers who are expert in certain fields. There can be workshops done by experts coming from outside of Sadhana also. It will be announced from time to time.
The workshop lasted till 5.30 pm. It was about time for the dinner. Dinner was served at 6pm. We all had a delicious vegan dinner. On Mondays, after dinner, from 7pm there was an activity called ‘Sharing circle’. If someone needs to tell something to someone, this was the place for that. All the volunteers sits in a big circle. And then Everyone listens to you once you are speaking your mind. If you don’t want to say anything, just say thank you. Each one spoke their mind, one after another. Some just said thank you. Listening to their story and connecting with them on a deeper level was a wonderful feeling. It was definitely a different experience for me.
It was my first day and had so much of great experiences. Even within 24 hours of reaching the place, I was already in love with this place. After the sharing circle, there wasn’t pretty much things to do. One is free to do anything. There are plenty of books to read, a lot of musical instruments to play, bunch of amazing people to talk to or else a bed for you to go and sleep. I decided to meet some people and make some friends. And around 10 I went to bed.
Week days starts early in Sadhana. Some one would come and wake us all up with a song at 5.30 in the morning. Waiting for that. Time to sleep.
If you miss the previous posts, here they are