In December 2011, Cyclone Thane caused much devastation across the Puducherry and Cuddalore region. In Auroville, it was estimated that at the time around half the trees had fallen under the impact of the cyclone. It is only now that the man- made forest of Auroville is being restored.

While the restoration process is under way, there is another idea of how to use the trees that fell during the cyclone. There were over 700 tonnes of wood that were recovered after the incident and the Aurovilleans have been coming up with different ways to use it up.

Furniture

Of course, one of the most common things that people think of when they think of wood is furniture. Torkil Dantzer and Marc from Auroville then decided to use this wood to commission furniture. Among their bigger projects now is a table that was designed for the Mother’s Room and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry.

“For us, this was a special project. The people at the Ashram wanted a light weight table that was collapsible. One of the first things that came to mind was to use the wood from the Transformation Tree [Millingtonia hortensis],” Torkil explained.

The Transformation Tree, or the ‘MaraMalli’ in Tamil was one of the Mother’s favourite trees and she often used the flowers of the tree as well, one of the members of the Ashram said. The table contains both the Sri Aurobindo symbol and The Mother’s symbol on collapsible leaves that are each supported by two frame-like structures that fold out from the legs of the table, Torkil said.

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