'Children of utopias are like exiles.'
Akash Kapur grew up in the yogic community of Auroville. His latest book 'Better to Have Gone' tells the true story of triumph and tragedy in the community, and why Kapur returned to live there with his family.
Akash Kapur is an Indian-American journalist and author of the award-winning book 'India Becoming: A Portrait of Life in Modern India', which was a New Yorker and New Republic Book of the Year and a New York Times Editors’ Choice. He is the editor of an anthology, Auroville: Dream and Reality, and the former Letter from India columnist for the international New York Times. His writing has been published in The Atlantic, The Economist, Granta, The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, and various other publications. Kapur grew up in Auroville until the age of sixteen, and then returned to the community with his family after attending college in the USA and graduate school in the UK. His new book is 'Better To Have Gone: Love, Death and the Quest for Utopia in Auroville' (Simon & Schuster).
In this conversation, Akash discusses coming to terms with growing up in a utopian community, the subject of his latest book. He reveals that a surfeit of spirituality as a child had the effect of making him something of a skeptic, but that he still meditates and keeps an open mind. He says that ‘children of utopias are like exiles,’ after they grow up and realise that no amount of idealism can make a perfect community. However, Akash’s spiritual quest seems ongoing, as ‘something in your brain still clings to that magic and to that sort of dream that you grew up with.’
This conversation was recorded as part of the Idler's weekly online event, A Drink with the Idler. The full recording is available to magazine and Academy subscribers. Visit the website to join: https://www.idler.co.uk/