i have many ways to spend millions of rupees on travel
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Y Pondy u ask and i say…i dunno but still LOVING IT
Sometime in April, 2002
Before I get into the next few pages of writing why must you visit and give you an overdose about Pondy, let me get this straight. I am horribly biased in favor of Pondicherry, will always be and I would at any given opportunity run back there and just lounge around doing yes…………absolutely nothing.
There are always two kinds of holiday seekers in my opinion. One the kind who just like to do nothing and will take it as it comes and the other who go there wanting to ‘see’ places. I belong to the first category of travelers who plan very well to get to the destination and plan even better to find a nice place to stay there. But from there I like to be just left to be …….just. The concept of a holiday simply means a detox of the mind where the mind is so at ease it seeks to do nothing. The nothing state in the mind is for me the ultimate nirvana.
It all started one evening while walking home, I say the billboard about pondy by the tourism department which said ‘pondy - give time a break’. Something told me that this is the place I have to see cos when a place can give time a break, I wanna see and feel that moment. And so came the most important part of the trip. The finances..!!!!
The fourth year law school student albeit at the best law school in the country need not necessarily have all the money for the trip and as a ordinary middle class boy I dare not ask dad for the money, yes, I has that contingency fund which I thot I must not touch. But that’s just what I did not do. I touched my contingency fund.
This is the chain of events which lead to landing in pondy.
Saw the ad on a Wednesday and I feel for the forbidden fruit i.e my contingency fund. Spoke to my friend who convinced me it was the place to go. What my friend also told me and smartly at that was that I am the sorts who does not believe in the ‘any acco is fine for me’ approach. I saw the truth in that and knew she was right but I ignored it; knowing that was the last time I would have to visit the Citibank atm on cunnigham road. The simple reason – all the money from the account would be removed.
Thursday involved two hours of corporate laws class which was spent wondering if I go where will I stay, how will I travel around there and will I be robbed, stabbed bla bla bla…… Oh not to mention that corporate law classes also had one interesting element about them. The teacher. NOPE..!!! stop the thought right there that we are talking a hot young attractive teacher wearing a sari. We are talking 65 years of age of which 45 years have been spent sleeping around with corporate law, its attractive appeal, its vicious control of the mind bla bla bla bla. YUP..!!! the guess is right. The teacher was male, was 65 and was obsessed with corporate law and it’s the only thing in the world that turned him on. To add to it he was a malyali and his accent was perfect….i meant the mallu way. And as it happens in every institution there are the usual set of morons in class for whom such perverse corporate thoughts give the ultimate orgasm so they encourage this person to dwell into certain aspects called jurisprudence (for the lay common man like u n me this means tracing the history and seeing why what is the way it is). I can barely recollect a section from the companies act or more so know what it means and here we are tracing its origins (oops… sorry I am to call it jurisprudence). LAW SCHOOLS……….never mind..!!!!!
The other two hours on Thursday were spent in labour law class where I learnt that if u use a trawler then oysters and prawn don’t grow or get mutated or don have sex or some other shit like that. That’s labour law classes for you. Oh oh yes, how can I forget that shrimp farming was really bad for the soil or some other things like that. I don even wanna get into that cos otherwise I wont end.
Left college at two and proceeded towards home by bus (the pocket money does not allow the luxury of auto everyday) Shivajinagar to vasanthnagar by auto costs 15 bucks and that’s the most dreaded route I realize now as I saw the pondy hoarding again
Reached home by four and as dad was leaving home for his evening work when I not realizing what I did; just told him I was going for an excursion and dad, the ‘you should be independent’ guy that he is said take care.
I sipped coffee at home and washed up by five and picked up the book ‘Selected Books of Kahlil Gibran’ which was top agenda to finish. Till six the book was peaceful and made sense. I just woke up to get to take a pee when I saw my little brother, all of 12 had my Jansport bag on his shoulder and playing with it.
His truck, remote control car and also the lego set made it`s way into the bag. It was a sign from the lord.
20:00 hours: The jansport bag was full and sitting pretty on my shoulder. Toothpaste and brush would not cost much but finding a place for it in the bag was a tough task. As usual told ajji (stands for ‘grandmom’ in kannada) that there is a bday party. Sister has way to many doubts for anyone`s good so she is better of missing me.
Who will hit pondy on thursday, I asked myself ? I got the slap on my face when I was offered for 250 bucks to sit by the driver. I took it.
So there I was in Kalasipalyam, waiting for the bus to come. The quick calls to some friends had some important information to be passed in like
Tell the librarian not to show cause me for not returning the books. I also added that it was not
returned for a month. Tough job..aigh!!!!!
Told Ashwin that I was sorry I cant meet him at the adda. Yeah ADDA was something I could not miss for a day. Those smokes were so critical in building our friendship and making it stronger. Project submission, or preparing for a viva by reading a project which I had no clue about, or just meeting in casa, no matter what ;;;;; everything had to culminate in meeting at ADDA.
Anyway boarded the bus and the best way to spend the journey on the second most uncomfortable seat (first being that of the cleaner) on the journey was to chat the driver, act ignorant, fake the I am NRI and am seeing India the hard way act and viola,,,,,,,,, the trick worked.
Pondy arrives between 3.30 and 4 and on the way there is time for a cuppa tea in thiruvannamalai.
The best part of the journey to pondy is the fact that its 7 hours away. I see the trip like this….if I was sitting in a regular seat, I would take an hour to become drouzy and try to sleep. I might doze off and before I know we land in hosur and the lights and the traffic etc would wake me up. Try sleepin again and around one of half past, the stop for tea is taken. Then the excitement of getting to pondy sort of gets to u. so there I was right in front by the driver with the best view of the road enjoying the seat and the various aspects of pondy, not one bit sleepy.
‘Padinanj minutes saar’ (in tamil means 15 minutes) the driver said and the little drousiness also went flying outside the window.
Before I even knew what I did or said I just got off at the Jipmer medical college. So this is how it goes, I end up at a bus depot to goto pondy without a ticket, hopin to buy one there, I sit beside the driver and finally I land up in pondy get off a jipmer (have till date no idea why I got off there). It could have been the bus stand or the mg road (every city , town district has an mg road and invariably it had to be centre of town or an important)
So why still Pondy
Now for elusive description about pondy that’s been pending for sometime. It’s a small sleepy faint town that has 2 parts to it. It has the tamil side which is called town and the other is the ‘french side’. Yup……..the French side. The little streets with strange as well as good restaurants, shops selling artefacts, small shops for chai (tea) and cigarettes. Accommodation is available for as small as 100 bucks to about 5 thousand to up to 7 thousand in and around the outskirts.
Top five reasons why for me pondy is pondy
The food is cheap and good. For the average south Indian fare to the north Indian and continental, the places offers all food at all budgets. Some top picks here are the beach facing Promenade hotel and Rendezvous, which is close to the beach. Located in the very pretty French part of town lanes are various other non flashy but very tasty restaurants. The best suggestion for the food in pondy is to let the feet do the walking and just go with it. Once tired, there will be some restaurant in sight which will serve you good food.
Though like every city the spaghetti top will attract attention, this place has a great mix of tradition, simplicity, western renegade influence, Indian affluence and yet manages to blend it all at the same time. The beach road which is a walking only zone towards the evenings is a prime example of this. THE CALM
This city has a very strange characteristic which pisses most people off but its exactly the same reason why I like it. Often I get asked by some friends or my wife who wanna know ‘whats there to do in Pondy. Its so boring. They don have a night life/ there are no pubs/ there is no crowd.’ That’s just what turns me on. The fact that this place make u value time. The tag line of the tourism department reads “GIVE TIME A BREAK” and aptly so. The place is commercial yet is horribly basic, there are no malls to shop and absolutely no pubs and night clubs. This suits the actual book reading crowd.
There are coffee shops of all kinds for all pockets. The small little restaurants also pass of as coffee shops. These places allow you to spend the day there reading and just chilling. I will say no further but walk into any street on the French side try to spend ure day there. U will enjoy it.
This is one place in this world u have to see to believe in the concept of ‘its not the place but the people who make the place’. Simply put, this is a different world altogether. There own lil coffee shops, their own pace at which life moves their own world.
Situated on the outskirts of the city of pondy, this place is unique. The temple and centre of learning, the people (dare I say foreigners although they are all people from different origins) all make this some place to see. At a juncture like this, its hard and I wonder what actually do I call these people from the different parts of the world who have made auroville their home. I will simply call em the ONES.
There are playgrounds for the ONES and they with the localites get together and have a blast. Education and it in the formalized form is not the order of the day here. And GLAD AM I WITH THAT. We are all doctrinated to study for 10th, 12th then degree then post grad then apply for job and (maybe get it) then marriage as a necessity comes along. Somewhere down the line the individual seems to be lost in this predetermined plans for the us humans. Auroville and its very unique life teaches one to be sensitive and more than anything human.
If ure in PONDY check out the band EMERGENCE and their organic farm of the lead singer. It’s the sorta place u will ride into, stop by have tea, smoke and move along and somewhere in between have a nice muffin at the bakery. Suddenly u will realize that u have given time a break and its has moved along.
I wish for once I had a nice home in the French side of pondy,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I would have been a perfect host with horrible culinary skills but great hospitality and passion which will get people back……..again and again.