I went to India for the first time in 1997, 1998. I was 24 and took the easy route: I stayed at the Adyar Estate owned by the Theosophical Society, where food, company and conversation were all reasonably safe.
In case you’re wondering: you do have to be a TS member (and of good standing) to be allowed to stay there. The only ‘trouble’ left was being on the other side of the world. Which was no big deal somehow. I didn’t mind the hard beds. I did mind the cold water, but I managed. The food only upset my stomach a bit, undoubtedly due to the manager of the kitchen who made sure the Indian food was palatable to Western taste buds.
I loved getting up before 6 to watch the sun rise over the ocean. I managed to deal with the heat during midday, though I never got in the rhythm of taking an afternoon nap. And of course the silence – a small miracle in the city of Madras (Chennai), the lovely nature, the time for meditation – it all made a big impression.
The pictures on this blog were mostly in my souvenirs from that trip. Unfortunately, I did not bring a camera, so they’re from postcards and one is from the Olcott Memorial School leaflet. Looking them up, I find that the pictures were taken by Sven Ulsa of the Auroville Ashram. I’m guessing they won’t mind me using them here.
One of the things that impressed me most was that amidst the poverty, kids had such lovely smiles. I could not remember kids with such happy smiles from my own country. Perhaps it was those smiles that made me fall in love with the country. Perhaps it was the colors – the pictures really only give a hint.
My life has changed a lot since then. At the time I was in the middle of studying to become a teacher of mathematics and chemistry. I finished that, tried my hand at teaching for a few years, and now I’m an online entrepreneur. I design websites and have a large web presence devoted to religion and spirituality.
This blog is my online diary I’m keeping as I was planning a second trip to India in 2010: a bit more ambitious this time. I planned to stay for a year, maybe two.
However, that didn’t materialize. Since then I have added information about Indian spirituality and religion. If and when I do go back to India, I will be sure to report on the preparations for that trip, and the trip itself, on this blog.