Auroville, India: The hippiest frisbee

After our bus adventure, we arrived in Pondicherry an hour late and only moderately sleep deprived. We took a cab to the fields where we were met by red-sand fields and a large group of people wearing matching shirts.
Jeff and I basically rushed off to our respective teams, as both our games had already begun. The sun is baking hot and the fields are a combination of sand and scratchy grass. I was impressed at how scrappy and enthusiastic the players were. My impression of Indian ultimate is that first and foremost they are the most passionate players I’ve seen, they are still excited about the game and learning it. After that, they have excellent fitness and thus defense. The offense needs work, but that is a no-brainer with the sport being so new there, and still very much growing. And while their throws are the gasp-inducing blades and sometimes wobbly, the receivers are so used to it that it is nothing angst-inducing. My team played four games the first day and I believe we went 3-1. I (accidently) named our team, and we became the “Zombie Octopus” team.
One reason we really wanted to go to this tournament was that it was a chance to see our friend Jess from Seattle. She’s been living in Hyderabad for 2 years working with a company that makes charter schools affordable for low-income families. She is one of those people that do amazing things and have strong insights on the world but behaves like that is nothing special. And what better place to meet up with a person like this than in Auroville, India. Which is an … interesting … city in India. The idea of Auroville is that it is a place without government or religion, and all the citizens are devoted to a higher divine power. This city is something else, it has about 2,000 people living there, less than half of them are actual Indians. About 45 nations are represented within the city, and everyone is expected to contribute to the community either monetarily or with labor. Even frisbee players think this is a bit too hippy.
We spent the weekend playing, meeting people, and checking out the city. One person we met was a German girl who was living in Auroville working on an organic farm with friend. During the finals, I was talking to a british friend who was there about how much Beach Worlds sucked. One of the things about it was that we paid a lot of money for a room that was too hot to sleep in, so I had said something along the lines of “there was no air conditioning, no fan, not even a window that fully opened.” She heard me say this and remarked “that is such an American thing to say, ‘no air-conditioning.’ Now, I know it shouldn’t, but this really bothers me. I know that I am used to, and have, a comfortable life, but I’m not so elitist to be offended when there is no air conditioning. What I was complaining about was the robbery of the situation, paying air-con prices and getting an inhabitable room. And while we are talking about elitist cultures, like a German citizen is really any different than an American citizen as far as daily life-style expectations are concerned. And also, who are you to be putting down others, you work at an organic farm in the most hippy town in the world, your “down to earth” life style is superficial at best. Anyway… it’s my blog and I can rant if I want to.
Want to hear about some fun things that happened? Of course you do! On saturday there was one field that only had a score board of of 6 numbers. Let’s say two 3’s, an 8, a 11, 1, and a 4. Why would the scoreboard be complete one day and so depleted the next? Apparently because one of the cows grazing by the fields decided to eat the homemade cardboard scoreboard.
That is iodine on Jeff’s elbow, not blood.
On Saturday I had one less game than Jeff and Jess, so I went to watch and take photos during the game they played against each other. During the game, two dogs laid down on the fields, one of which was right in the middle of the field. Jeff laid down next to him to make friends. I thought he was just going to lay there during the point, but then Jeff gets up and runs away, and turns around to incite the dog to chase him. Which, this attention deprived dog happily does.
And they play wrestled off the field. Pretty brilliant move actually.
One really good thing about being in Auroville with a bunch of Indian natives and travelers alike is that it helped us figure out what to do the rest of the trip. We honestly had nothing planned after the tournament. After talking to some folks we decided to head to Kochi, which is in the state of Kerala and on the west coast of India. We bought cheap flights two days before the departure, and that was our new plan. It felt good to have direction.
On the last day of the tournament, I woke up feeling a little sick. My stomach hurt, and I had a bit of headache, but I got up to play my game against Jess’s team. During the game, my team knew I wasn’t feeling well, and I went from being a big part in our offense to having only touched the disc twice the whole game. My whole body was sore and achey and I just shuffled around the field when really all I wanted was to sit down. I rode a bike back to the guest house and I decided that these muscle aches were not from playing frisbee. I found Jeff at the house and told him I wasn’t doing well. My headache got worse and brightness was almost blinding to me, sharp pain would strike from random parts of my body and I was increasingly dizzy. Jess gave me some electrolyte replacement powder and my british buddy let me sleep in his room (we had checked out), while they all went to play their 2nd games. Turns out I had heat exhaustion, primarily from salt depletion, not dehydration. I spent the rest of the day basically a zombie (heh, zombie octupus… I was foreshadowing my weekend). Until I moseyed to the finals game after drinking two servings of electrolytes and 6 hours of resting.
After spending all day in bed, at the finals.
I was really glad to see my teammates again and thank them for the weekend. During the closing ceremony, they gave me the award for MVP and I was glad it was nighttime because I teared up a bit. Jeff went out with a group of people for pizza and pasta that he talked about for the next 3 days while I stayed home to get more rest. After packing a bit, I climbed into the bed and pretended that the mosquito buzzing around the room wasn’t going to bite me and give me malaria. In the morning Jeff’s alarm didn’t go off and we had to rush to finish packing and get in the cab to the airport. Luckily I felt like a million bucks and was at top-speed again. While packing I saw a huge cockroach on the wall and got all girly and squeamish. Later in the cab, Jeff told me that while he was packing he saw one near his bag and after turning his back, he couldn’t find it again. He let me know that it could possibly be in his bag.



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