I muttered under my breath as I turned over in bed. Why did the morning have to ring in so soon? Wasn’t I on a holiday? I believe that it is nothing short of criminal to wake up at the crack of dawn on a holiday (or even otherwise!). With the skill and expertise of someone who has done this a thousand times over, I snoozed the alarm on my mobile phone. I had barely snuggled in my soft bed and closed my eyes with a smile, waiting to welcome the most divine of all states- sleep, when something of a mini earthquake jolted me awake. A few seconds and I realized that the door was being knocked. I heard the room service announce in a cheerful voice “4 O’Clock sir. The cab is waiting outside.” I turned over again and ardently wished that I hadn’t in a moment of excitement agreed to this dreadful idea. Poor Sid (my loving hubby), I played my trump card again “Tum ready ho jao. Main tumhare baad tayaar hoti hu.” Lovingly he agreed. Ah! The bliss of those few minutes of stolen sleep. Nothing can match the joy of stealing a few more minutes of rest that sleep provides. I was lucky; I got a full 10 minutes :) Slowly and groggily I crawled out of bed, refusing to accept that I really had to get ready. 20 minutes later, Sid and I had stepped out of our guest house. The first whiff of sea breeze brushed my face and brought with it a smile that stuck on firm. It was a good 30-40 minute drive from our guest house; A drive that would have looked lovelier during sunrise. But felt cool and beautiful none the less. A 40 min cab drive and a 7 minutes bus ride later, we reached. The sight we beheld was nothing short of magnificent. Now picture this- a colossal golden globe shaped structure overlooking a circular amphitheater filled with people- all sitting motionless, in silence. The center stage of the amphitheater hosts a small hillock shaped edifice beside which was a gigantic bonfire. A bonfire that light up the entire amphitheater; reflected on to the golden globe shaped building. It was a bonfire that cackled happily waiting for the first rays of the sun to try and douse its glory. No mobile phones; no flash lights from cameras; no whispering, and no murmuring- just a tranquil peace pervading every particle in the air, an unbounded joy that spread to all hearts. The silence is broken by a voice. A voice heavy and cracked with age. A voice rich with wisdom and compassion. From the tape recorder it emanated and tugged at the soul of all of us present there. A few words and it was all quiet again. Just the flame leaping upwards- reaching up to the heavens, the soul plunging into the depths of the bliss. It is strange isn’t it? Every time we see something breath-taking, experience something marvelous- we simply close our eyes. I’ve always wondered why? Oh! Just why will someone trek up a mountain, reach the summit- take a cursory glance at the valley and the mountain range and then- SHUT their eyes to absorb that image? Why will anyone stand for hours in a queue in Tirupati and then, in the 2 sec appointment that you’ve got with the Lord, shut your eyes? Why do people go to the beach- barely look at the ocean, then take a deep breath in and close their eyes? It simply never made sense to me- you’ve traversed that distance, spent that money, expended that energy to go see that place/shrine/view- not really to close your eyes. You could have done that at home! But then, something that His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said really made sense and explained this phenomenon to me. Click here to read what he had to say. Anyway, so like I said, while enjoying that glorious day break with the bonfire, my eyes just closed and I lost all track of time. Meditation happened almost inevitably. No effort at all. When I opened my eyes- the sun had risen, the bonfire dead but the beauty of the scene was unscathed. The golden globe structure looked all the more resplendent with the sun rays bouncing off its smooth surface creating a lovely prism of colors. People had begun moving- most of them in silence, taking back with them something inexpressible; some others could barely contain the unbounded joy. Life had moved on, like it always does. Unlike most tourists, who visit a place and look around, I think I was so lucky. I didn’t just see Auroville. I experienced it- in the same manner as The Mother and Sri Aurobindo had envisaged.