Perhaps because of my French West Indies origins (parents both from Martinique…), I have always dreamed of having in the portion of the Indian Ocean that is right in front of my house… a lagoon.
Yes, one of those turquoise and blue smoothly rippling crystal clear shallow lagoons where swimming too can be lazily blissful – you may even just float on your back, gazing at the soft blue immensity of the sky above, your body almost fully immersed in that mellow immensity below…
Shhh…. Don’t tell anyone that this is my dream. If ever it comes true and not everyone is happy about it, no one should suspect who is responsible for this unexpected lagoon materializing right there in front of Repos on the Coast of Coromandel!…
When I was growing up in Dakar, Senegal, the ocean on that part of the African coast wasn’t very welcoming for the child I was. Too many waves, and I remember vaguely the disquieting presence in the too deep waters of long seaweeds, plenty of them, hiding unknown creatures I was scared just to imagine. So it was no real pleasure for me to be in there, trying to keep afloat as I could, pretty much the awkward, rather inelegant way dogs do.
What an unbelievable sight, and then sensation, a few months later, when, visiting with my family for the first time the Caribbean island we came from, Martinique, I looked upon and then slowly entered the warm shallow waters of one of the beaches there!… One could see all the way to the sandy soft bottom, funny fish of bright colours darted all around one’s feet…
Within three days I knew how to really swim, and you couldn’t take me out of the water except when starving.
Much later, as a young teacher, I had the opportunity to get posted in Martinique, as it is a far away part of France; but by that time I had come to know of Auroville, and it is Auroville that won. So here I am, forty years later – celebrating that anniversary today… – , and still preferring to be in Auroville, but also still missing some small lagoon in front of this beach of Auroville where I live… *sigh*
It so happens that two months ago another French lady my age passed by and upon her son’s recommendation (he had been a guest here some time before) she paid me an unannounced visit. We sympathized, and she staid for a week in my extra-room.
Although this was after the cyclone and Repos was far from being at its best, she fell in love with it and declared she wanted to help it become beautiful again.
She explained to me how in 2004 at the time of the tsunami she was staying as a tourist in a Sri Lankan village, which got totally wiped out by the big wave. The people there had lost everything: their houses, their workplaces, their work tools, everything was gone or destroyed.
She felt she had to help. Back in France, she set up an association, a website, and a small team of other dedicated friends, and she managed to raise enough funds for accomplishing the incredible goal she had given herself: to rebuild entirely this village, house by house, and the workplaces too, with all the tools and other lost equipment being replaced as well.
As I listened, stunned, she added that Repos too deserved to get the same help, and she would do all in her power to raise funds again in the same way, this time specifically for Repos. But it would be only after two or three months that she could start her fund-raising operation, she said.
When she left, she was still definite about all that, so after that I did hope she would follow through with her decision.
But I know I can be too quick to get all worked up and over-enthusiastic, and then I am all the more disappointed if in the end nothing happens. So I remained prudently open to the possibility, but at the same time remembered the wise warning and advice by Sri Aurobindo:
“Wherever you see a great end, be sure of a great beginning. Where a monstrous and painful destruction appals thy mind, console it with the certainty of a large and great creation. God is there not only in the still small voice but in the fire and in the whirlwind.
The greater the destruction, the freer the chances of creation; but the destruction is often long, slow and oppressive, the creation tardy in its coming or interrupted in its triumph. The night returns again and again and the day lingers or seems even to have been a false dawning. Despair not therefore, but watch and work. Those who hope violently, despair swiftly: neither hope nor fear, but be sure of God’s purpose and thy will to accomplish.” (‘Thoughts & Glimpses’)
Two days ago I got an email from her, confirming that her intent is still the same, and she and her friends are ready to start; she needs now the necessary photos, documents and estimates for whatever needs to be done.
I never mentioned my crazy lagoon wish to her (nor to anyone else, for that matter, until today!), but I did mention the small seawater pool and a few crazy enough other dreams of mine for this place. I have to find now the right people to help me with those estimates…
Let’s start with all that and see already what unfolds…
Who knows, perhaps even the lagoon will somehow find some way and if necessary some funds to create itself too, some day!