A different world.

It is almost unreal, the experience of being happy in a place with no fans and with temperatures soaring over 30 degrees. Where the idea of taking a bath involves nothing less than a ten-minute exercise to find a shower space, fill water and figure a corner for your towel. Where getting one’s hands dirty is taken way too literally and where insects and reptiles find me the real intruder.

This is Sadhana; a whole different world.

SUK_0637
Entrance to the wonderland. Sadhana Forest is a water conservation and reforestation project near Pondicherry.
SUK_0639
Mopeds and bikes are what volunteers use to get in and out of the forest.
SUK_0502
The 3-step dish-washing system saves time and up to 30-40 litres of water every day. Photo credit: Tintu Saleem
SUK_0232
The dormitory houses about 40 volunteers.
SUK_0541
Romy, my favourite wake-up caller. I just never hit snooze on her beautiful morning song.
SUK_0405
Strumming a few beautiful melodies to ‘gather all the children of the earth and sun’ once she is done waking up the sleeping.
SUK_0551
Binna Choi, a globetrotter and long-term volunteer with Sadhana, calling all sleepy heads to the morning circle.
SUK_0555
The morning circle where everyone gathers around to stretch and truly wake up.
SUK_0574
Louise from Holland, who loves to live amidst nature, cannot imagine her life without travel.
SUK_0575
Kamilla, from the Faroe Islands on her first trip to India.
SUK_0569
Peggy, a graphic designer from Taiwan. Language is no barrier for her when it comes to being warm and affectionate.
SUK_0579
The Sadhana morning hugs.
SUK_0568
And the one big Sadhana hug.
SUK_0725
Saplings, waiting their turn to be planted. Photo credit: Tintu Saleem
SUK_0588
Paul and Shehaab digging pits to plant new trees.
SUK_0584
Hans, a student of water conservation, is at Sadhana to learn their techniques. He is seen here carrying wicks to be used for irrigation.

SUK_0675

SUK_0585
Laurent, the Frenchman in a lungi, is a true friend of the Forest. He is seen here bringing saplings from the nursery to the forest.
SUK_0609
Hans, bringing water from the mud pool to water the saplings.
SUK_0615
Beauty and Tintu, planting their first ever tree in the Forest.
SUK_0625
Beauty, a student at JNU, is at Sadhana to experience a different way of life.
SUK_0626
After a long day in the sun, Laurent decides to take a banana break.
SUK_0654
Josh from the UK is a farmer at heart and has been volunteering across the globe for some time now.
SUK_0658
Eli from Israel, working on dry mulch for the trees.
SUK_0657
Josh and Eli adding dry compost to the newly planted trees.
SUK_0612
Crookie, the puppy with the crooked tail and a resident of the Forest.
SUK_0501
The kitchen. Photo credit: Tintu Saleem
SUK_0670
Suman, the eccentric chef and globetrotter, whose dream in life is to travel the world on his cycle. He is currently responsible for the delicious food served at the Forest.
SUK_0672
Suman directing the volunteers in the kitchen.
SUK_0676
Firewood used for the kitchen stove.
SUK_0571
Aalaap is a software engineer, consumed by the Forest. He has quit the luxuries of urban life and now dedicates his time to the Forest.
SUK_0662
Aalaap, sawing firewood for the kitchen.
SUK_0570-2
Emmy, from New York. Sadhana is her first stop on a one-way ticket trip to India.
SUK_0645
Peggy and Emmy making wicks out of plastic bottles meant to be used in the irrigation process.
SUK_0504
After a long day’s work, volunteers find respite in the Forest’s own, natural mud pool.
SUK_0737
Musical instruments that liven up the forest. Photo credit: Tintu Saleem
SUK_0641
Amitai, who lives at Sadhana with his parents and two siblings. Originally from Israel, the family has been a part of the Forest for a long time now.
SUK_0367
Greg and Amitai put up a show at the Non-Talent Night, a one-of-a-kind show that volunteers put together every Wednesday evening, post-dinner.
SUK_0310
Jasmine and her family put up a fine show at the Non-Talent night.
SUK_0338
Relaxing with songs at the Non-Talent night.

Text and photos by Sukrit Nagaraj. Edited by Tintu Saleem.


Read more about Sadhana Forest here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s