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Being a guest

There's a lot to be said in favor of simply being a guest in a guest house. Here I am in Arka, in Auroville, staying here for the 5th or 6th time I reckon. They know me. I know them. They give me the same room each time. It keeps improving from year to year. Last year they made a door ledge to stop the scorpions getting in. This time they gave me a fridge. When I come, it takes me 20 minutes to unpack and set everything up, as I know where to put all of my few belongings. I know about the quirks of the water system and the wifi; the place in the room where the phone is most likely to get a signal; how to get a wifi signal by placing the antenna above the window mesh. I know what clothing and other items I'll need to bring.

At a guest house, the client is king. There are not a lot of expectations on either side to deal with. I'm a quiet undemanding guest. I have few needs and could stay here forever. But if anything ever goes wrong with the relationship, it isn't hard to find a similar guest house and set up there.

This is actually much better than either owning property or being beholden to somebody - an ashram, say. The few rules that exist are easy to abide by, the responsibilities are minimal. I determine my daily schedule. If I feel like getting up at night to do a little writing like now, I may. If I feel like taking a nap in mid-morning, it's fine. And I'm old and mature enough to strike a balance and not to let too much freedom become a problem. So I'm sold on guest houses in familiar places. This is a perfect arrangement for summer.

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