Meet uncertainty, my new home
It was 7.30 am — early for me. But we had to reach Auroville by 8.30 am and the cost of being late was to miss the Matrimandir experience. The taxi was on time. I was groggy but as I sat next to the driver, there was a unique expectancy in the air. Along the Goubert Avenue, popularly known as the Beach Road, we drove and soon the city was behind us. Around 8 km later, as we turned left towards Auroville, the expectation became a tangible, solid presence. A gentle pressure of delight on the head. Some sort of an indescribable force.
Over the 5 km drive to Matrimandir, as my thinking mind began to analyse what this unthinkable feeling was, I stumbled on a secret. Lost in the din of my everyday life, I had forgotten to let go. The 15 km drive to my office, for instance, is a road that’s as frightful as it is functional. Get in the car. Tell the driver where to go. Turn on the CD. Pull out the Blackberry and get going on the day’s job. The only time I would look out of the window would be to glare — at a cyclist riding a death wish, a beggar trying to be too clever, a luxury car zipping past to claim its next victim. I know every red light, every hotel, every roundabout and the time left to reach office.
Day in and day out, I carried the curse of dull predictability.
And here I was in the playful arms of uncertainty. I didn’t know the way, the turns, the crossings. I didn’t know the topography. I didn’t know where the entrance was. The only familiar, dependable companion on this ride was my phone, so if something happened, I could call my friends for help. Here too, I wasn’t sure whether the signal would be live. All I could do was to surrender to the uncertainty, place my faith — actually, it was more than faith, it was a knowing — in the driver and hope he would take me where I wanted.
It is through this tunnel of uncertainty that we crossed the gatekeepers, the dirt trail. I soaked in the texture of every shrub, every fallen tree that the cyclone had claimed and some that still stood strong. The flowers sent their love to me, petal by pretty petal. With the dirt track as navigator, I visualised what the beginnings of a future city can be. The heat, dust and humidity assaulted me but somehow weren’t able to bother me too much.
Out of one of the deepest experiences at Matrimandir ever, I walked around the amphitheatre, imagining how earth from across all countries and states of India had come together in matter to reflect the greater oneness, the spirit of this place, conceived by Mirra Alfassa or The Mother, the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. With the sun beating down my back, I walked under brave trees carrying translucent leaves, yellow and green grass fighting the heat, and among Aurovillians going about their work.
I felt one with the earth, almost its extension. And I think the trigger was uncertainty — of the place, the people, the food, the road, the air, the skies. Not knowing where I would be the next minute, who I would meet, brought in a sense of zero expectation. I was living moment to passing moment, step by tentative step. It was as if this uncertainty had awakened something within that had been sleeping for years. Almost a new sensory organ. Perhaps this is conscious living.
Returning home, as I drove to office this morning, I was able to carry a bit of that uncertainty with me. Suddenly, that red Flame of the Forest was actually aflame, the string of yellow Amal Taas trees more beautiful than ever before. The auto driver who almost bumped into the car looked so much more human. The music was living and I could see the violas, the piano, the choral singers.
In the beginning there was nothing. Then came desire. Wanting to express itself, the spirit created matter, universes, galaxies, solar systems, earth. He didn’t know what would come next. Time danced with uncertainty to get me where I stand today — from dead matter to single-celled life forms, to insects and birds, all the way to homo sapiens. The tree that wanted to move, the fish that sought to walk, the reptile that aspired to fly…all were driven by desire that passed through uncertainty.
It is this uncertainty that will be my home now.