Coming up on a full week in India, and still not much chance to catch up on sleep. Yoo-Mi, Smita, and I have relocated for a few days to Auroville, which will be the nerve-center of the information hub we are putting together for the reconstruction effort.

Auroville is a fascinating place, a community of people who share both a spiritual understanding (based around the teachings of Sri Aurobindo, an early-mid-20th Century Saint) and a desire to work collectively on technology projects to benefit mankind. For those of you who might be expecting the same kind of blissed-out, hippie-laced, freak show one finds at the Osho Ashram in Pune, think again. This is a community of accomplished, lovely, hard-working, committed people. When the tsunami disaster struck, Auroville quickly mobilized, first to provide direct relief to coastal villages nearby, and then to take a leading role in the coordination efforts that will ultimately spell the difference between success and failure in the reconstruction phase, which will begin shortly and continue for years.

Hemant Lamba
Our principal contact at Auroville is Hemant Lamba, whose regular gig here is as a project coordinator for AuroRE, a renewable energy R&D and implementation firm. He is part politician, part logistician. He is that rare bird who both knows his own limitations and can rope-in those who can fill whatever void there might be in the immediately available skill set. He works tirelessly in a command-central-type position, yet works utterly without ego. It has been quite impressive – and occasionally, quite inspirational – to watch Hemant work. He is someone well worth knowing, even outside of the immediate circumstances.

Working here is truly a privilege for us. It has also caused us to reflect on the many people who contribute daily to the things we do. Our families, who support us – and particularly my mom and Tib, who pick up after every mess we seem to make; Betsy, who supplements her full-time job at the hospital to confer regularly with other physicians about my health; and our nephew Tenzing, who didn’t even get a say in whether we came here or not. Terry, who covers for all my lapses of judgment and seems to love me anyway. Our fabulous colleagues at CharityFocus, who give us the inspiration and tools to succeed where our own motivations and skills fall short. And our many friends, whose excitement about our adventure contributes to the adventure itself.


1 Response to “Auroville”

  1. 1 documentarytv 21 April 2009 at 8:19 am

    Auroville is an interesting mix of people and technology and earth friendly practices. I am producing a documentary on Auroville and I interviewed Hemant. Visit to find out more. If you Subscribe for Free at you will receive an email when the film is released.

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