Visited the house that A. is building next to Auroville.
The place is in a development of 15 - 20 homes on a private piece of land. Some of the people from the ashram is building there.
Her house, without land, will cost about 21 lakhs, which she says is about 40,000 Euros. It looks to be about 50 square meters. It's a 2 bedroomed house, 2 bathroom house with a possibility of renting out one of the rooms. She says that the building costs between 1500 - 2000 rupees per square foot. The house sizes are calculated in feet. The variation between the budgeted cost and final figure is about 4 lakhs.
It took only a few months to build. She complains about the lack of professionalism of the constructors, who did not know how to read the plans properly and made various mistakes, like adding walls where none were supposed to be there. There is little oversight by the authorities. There are disagreements over whether a bore well will be needed or not. There is no garbage collection in the area.
The house is very nice and airy - her guest room would be a possibility for living when I stay in Auroville.
A. is the wife of a Tamil musician. Apparently quite famous in Europe. Her son also became a musician. When she was 30 she learned that she is half Iranian. Her mom had an out of marriage relationship with an Iranian man. She had wondered why her sister looked so different from her.
Her husband proposed to A. one time when he was visiting Germany. She was 21 and he was 12 years older. The marriage had its ups and downs, particularly when they came back to India. She learned that in India everything must be done with the family and she felt like she needed personal space. At one point she had an affair with a Palestinian here in TN. Things went badly when some Israelis spoke to her, thinking that she was Israeli. He had an attack of paranoia and almost killed her, in a lonely place near Mamalapuram. She continued to be afraid of him. But later he apologized. The incident may have been triggered by drug use.
A. was a hippie when younger, traveling to Lebanon. At one time she was captured and threatened by the Phalangists. They thought she was a spy, or in somebody's pay.
A. and her husband lived in Germany most of the time till about 4 years ago, when they started to spend most of the year in Chennai. He is 68 now, which would make A. about 56. They were were married in 1981. They have a son who is a musician. A. is a psychotherapist. She also writes. She has been coming to Auroville occasionally for the last 4 years and now hopes to live here, perhaps with the exception of the hot period when she will go back to Germany. She says she is slowly getting rid of what she has there - she says she has about 10,000 books, for example.