I can only describe the morning of February 23rd fully by acknowledging how little I understand, and how much I am a guest in this place, privileged by my brief glances into village life, and by the warm welcome I have received from everyone I have met.

Over breakfast, Gautama (Pathashaala’s director) suggested I come along on a journey into the villages near Chengalpattu and Thirukazhukundram to distribute solar-powered lights. He explained that during the rainy season in November and December, there was a great deal of flooding throughout this part of Tamil Nadu, and Pathashaala was one of the only places lit up at night because of its exclusive use of solar power for the lamps. The school took donations from parents and friends to help the local communities stay afloat, and in the process discovered that quite a number of households in the area never had use of electricity at all. Continue reading “Outreach”


Enter Pathashaala

It’s been almost a week since I followed the coastal toll road south from Chennai, through Chengalpattu, into a flat and richly coloured corner of Tamil Nadu. As I write, I’m looking out a screened window at the rice fields, and in the distance, the domed buildings of Pathashaala. These 55 acres were purchased by the Krishnamurti Foundation India in 2006, with the intention of building a small residential school. This dream has since become reality for around a hundred students (called Learner-Educators, or L.E.s for short), several handfuls of the reciprocal ‘Educator-Learners’, a variety of staff from the area, and two volunteers, my roommate Camille, and myself.

A glimpse of the Bay of Bengal.

Continue reading “Enter Pathashaala”