On a sunny day in April we started the project Adara. It was a day where everything felt fresh and new and my body tingles from excitement and inspiration. Karan and I stood affront the house, looking over the valley as the wind stroke our cheeks. We felt our intention sound and clear: starting up a beautiful and inspiring place for simple and sustainable living. Simple, but also abundant!
Simple and abundant
What does that actually mean? For us it means to live with what you need and paying attention to that. Like tasty and healthy food from the land and undertaking things as much as possible locally with the materials and people at hand. Traditional and modern life can flow together and support us in comfort, insights and adventure. Yes! That sounds good. But now: the current reality. Because as shining as the mountains of India may be, a decayed house is still a decayed house until you do something about it.
The first days we walked around our new home, and still actually, there are projects to think of EVERYWHERE. Electricity wires jump out of the wall, balconies are half rotten, the bathroom roof functions as a shower here and there when it rains, wooden doors and windows don’t always close properly, and so forth. We have electricity but I don’t want to call it safe. Every morning at 7 AM, Karan fills up the water that’s stored in buckets and tubs in the bathroom and kitchen. This water we use for cooking, doing dishes, washing clothes and ourselves, flushing the toilet and watering plants. It is clear enough to drink from. Only on rainy days it can be a little turbid. Then I just imagine that it is some sort of lemonade.
How we go
Step by step we go forth with the projects. Sometimes slow as a snail, sometimes quick as a tiger. We have now started the electricity and after that the plumbing follows. We will invite volunteers that can help us with jobs like making furniture, painting walls, oiling woodwork and organic farming. For specific jobs we employ local people. And meanwhile we enjoy the road. Yes, it will be amazing to have a water filter or a shower in some time to come. Or to sit on a balcony without falling down – lovely. But everything has its time.
After months of sleeping on a wooden surface and blanket, I need to familiarize myself again with a mattress.
Getting used to simple
It’s beautiful to see how you can get used to a more simple lifestyle. I surprise myself, and my body surprises me too. After months of sleeping on a wooden surface and blanket, I need to familiarize myself again with a mattress.
When I lie in bed at night, my eyes follow the grains in the wooden ceiling above me. I look at the little dents and tears in the walls. I know all of them by now. A candle flickers by the window. Outside little lights twinkle on a dark mountain. And then, sometimes, gentle rain starts falling down. Harder and harder the drops tick on the steel roof. While storm takes hold outside, I feel gratefulness for this house that still protects after all these years. Silently I think: perhaps I will miss the earthworms in the bathroom when all is renovated. And with a blanket of deep happiness over me I fall asleep.