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Kalya

Kalya is one of Auroville's youngsters who recently went out for a student exchange programme in USA. In the following write-up he shares his experience with you:

A trip, a discovery, a new life!

Coming from Kuilapalayam

Until the age of nine I lived with my parents in Kuilapalayam (a village in Auroville's vicinity) but went to school in Fraternity. Later on, this school was shifted to New Creation.
When this change occurred, some other students and myself were given the chance to move into the New Creation community and study there as well. Once that change of life style was done, it became easier for us to use all the facilities given by Auroville (use of schoolbus, access to higher education etc.). I then went to Transition School for 5 years and to Last School for another 3 years. Some years back, a new school was created, for those who wanted a government diploma: so I shifted to After School and passed my twelfth grade at the age of twenty-two!

A chance to go abroad


Last year two young Aurovilians were selected on a small write-up about their lives. I was one of them! I had the privilege to go to the United States of America for a dance programme organised by Melissa Michael who is in charge of the 'Movement Based Mass'. I was so eager to see what that big country was about, to explore the other side of the world. A dream come true! And the greatest thing about this proposal was that it came right on time: I really needed a break from my daily habits and I wanted to discover more about myself, what I was going to do for a living, and all these questions that come to your mind when you finish your studies. I was not very active at that point, I would hang around here and there, my only fixed activity was basketball in the evenings.

What happened in USA?

I spent the first month of my journey in Boulder, Colorado. There was a dance programme where 40 young participants were involved, only two from India! I spent most of the time in a dance studio but I also gave small lectures on India and Auroville to children from some schools in the town.

Then came New Mexico, where I followed a certificate course in permaculture and worked for some weeks in a landscaping company doing a lot of manual and physical work. I learned some of their techniques and discovered many things about landscaping. A lot of the work consists in working on machines, which surely makes things move much faster and easier, but personally I thought that they introduced a lot of polluting materials, such as plastic and steel, in the soil... So I'm kind of happy that India doesn't have all those techniques yet!

After that hard working time, I visited Sacramento and stayed with Jack and Mary Alexander (of AVI USA) and their son. They took me everywhere they thought would be nice to visit, many historical places and gardens..

The last month in America was spent in Seattle, Washington, with Bill and Cindy (who lived in Auroville for some time). There I was taken to the University of Washington to give a talk about Auroville for all the students who will come to Auroville later this year for an exchange programme. This was quite scary for me, but I managed to evoke in them the interest of coming to Auroville.
I must say that it was really nice to meet some former Aurovilians in such a faraway country. It made me feel like Auroville is so spread out everywhere that wherever you go, you can find friends.

And now?

I really enjoyed that trip and it gave me a lot of ideas for my future, about my work (landscaping!) and how I want to live..
I also discovered that Auroville is the place where I want to live and that, no matter how great travelling is, I will always come back where I belong.

Contact: kalya@auroville.org.in

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