Meet Auroville: Neem

Where were you born?
I was born in Pondicherry. At the time my parents were here for a “try out” year you could say, and a month after my birth they decided the time was not yet right so they moved to Thailand. I spent my first seven years there and loved it. After that we moved to Italy, and that’s where I did my studies.

What is your profession?
Right now I work here, in the restaurant that we started at Aurovelo. It’s only been 6 or 7 months but we’ve got a good team. It’s important to me that everyone enjoys their work and no one comes in the morning dragging their feet. Here in Auroville you have so many work opportunities (I’ve tried many different things: helping out at the Matrimandir, at PTDC, Naturellement…) that you can really chose what you want to be doing.

When did you first arrive in Auroville?
I first came on holiday 4 years ago, and 2 years later is when I came to stay and live in Auroville for good.

What made you stay here?
The decision to stay here was actually quite hard, as my life and friends were in Italy and here I had to start anew. What really made me stay was the feeling that here in Auroville I was at home. That’s the reason I came for good and why I’m still here now: even if I have family and friends in Italy, it’s here that I feel at home. It makes it easier for me to face life’s challenges and keep moving forward.

So, what does a typical Auroville day look like for you?
For me? Work! (Laughs) In the beginning I did a lot of activities, went around Auroville and discovered, explored what I wanted to. Now it’s mostly work, not because it’s a duty but because that’s what feels right. In Italy you go to work because you have to if you want to pay your bills, it can be quite hard to find the motivation. Here I work, but I’m doing what I like so it doesn’t feel entirely like work, you know? That’s why I believe that in Auroville when you are at work you should want to be there. If not, well, stay a day at home and come back in a better mood tomorrow! That’s our policy! (Smiles)

What is your favorite spot in Auroville?
If I had to choose just one spot it would be the Matrimandir Park, it’s beautiful, open and quiet. But really the truth is that Auroville feels like a big park to me, and I love it all: nature and animals are everywhere, not just at the Matrimandir. We’re really lucky here for that. So yes, the park is where I go to have a peaceful moment; otherwise I go climbing wherever it’s possible around Auroville. You can get amazing view points from up high!

Living in Auroville means…
For me, living in Auroville means having huge opportunities: opportunities to be who I want to be and to do what I want to do. It’s harder to have that outside of Auroville.

Here you get a lot of opportunities, but you have to decide to take them! You often hear people complain that there isn’t much to do here but that usually means you haven’t really looked. You can do what you want but you have to go for it, and just do it! Something else I love here is the number of different cultures and languages; normally you would have to travel a lot to come across them all! So that is really interesting. What’s important to me here is to find my place and way to participate in what Auroville is and becomes.