First Impressions


After my two flights  (NY --> Quatar --> Chennai) and an interesting 2-hour taxi ride where I saw cows chained to poles on the highway just chillin’, and stopped for a chai tea at a roadside stand with my driver, Arumugam, I made it to Sadhana Forest around 6am. It is a lovely community that reminds me of all of my hippie friends from college. And a kibbutz. I am sleeping in a hut that has 2 floors with 20 beds on the top floor (read: 20 hanging mosquito nets arranged in 2 lines (Madeleine-style) with sheets on bamboo floors. Since I’m staying for more than 2 weeks I get my own space on the bottom of this Sunshine dorm, which is a thin mattress on a homemade wooden bed with sheets hanging as walls. There are people working in the kitchen, making breakfast, and others roaming around the labyrinth doing their morning jobs. I can’t wait to meet everyone at breakfast. Right now I’m relaxing in a giant hut with many levels and ladders and cushions and dreamcatchers. This is the main hut (made of bamboo, banana leaves, and coconut rope). I will begin work tomorrow. It seems that there are over 20 jobs and about 45 people here right now. This is the quiet season. The busy season has over 100 people here everyday. I’ve already met some people who live here for real, ranging from 1-5 years. The bathrooms are not scary at all. There are holes for peeing and pooping, and sawdust for turning your poo into compost. There’s also a neat shower area with a bucket and a cup.