My Adolescence in an Attempted Utopia

Coming of Age Amid Adults Questing for Self Actualization at South India’s Theosophical Society Headquarters

When I turned 14, I made two discoveries.

First, I learned that I would never inherit the smooth drape of my grandmother’s skin. Like my father, I would battle hillocks and mounds of acne pushing up against my face well into adulthood.

Second, and more important, I would come to learn that my home was a forest at the edge of the sea.

In the same year, 1998, I moved into a decrepit bungalow situated within the world headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Chennai, India. The sprawling, 260-acre ecological …

Nostalgia’s Ingenious Potential | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Nostalgia’s Ingenious Potential

Often Associated With People Who Are Angry About a Lost Past, These Feelings of Longing Can Help Inspire an Inclusive Future

When 19-year-old Swiss medical student Johannes Hofer first coined the term “nostalgia” in 1688, he had wanderers on his mind.

With this neologism, Hofer was describing the deep melancholy—a “wasting …