Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid
This weekend, I went to Pondicherry – a place for a quick weekend getaway if you live in Chennai. We took the early morning bus to Pondi. The bus journey from Chennai to Pondy was good, quiet and partly scenic. A town steeped in the medieval French traditions and one that is trying to battle it out with the modern western influences and the young modern India – that describes Pondicherry best! Traffic constables were a rectangular red coloured cap with a few threads hanging on it. The roads are named ‘Rue’ – Rue de la Marine…. M G Road and J N Street have a Time Square-esque atmosphere at night, tall and wide, neon ad banners lining both sides of the road. They have all the latest shops selling everything that the young Indian wants.
We stayed in our relative’s house for the entire weekend and roamed around the Union Territory.
A breakfast of spicy, hot Pongal and thenga Chutney started the day. The rest of the morning was spent in casual talk. We spent the afternoon at home with a sumptuous lunch and watching the new movie Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom and laughing our hearts out. In the evening, we went to the Ashram and the Manakula Vinayakar Temple which has a suyambu Vinayakar (meaning, it is not built, it formed on its own). The Manakula Vinayakar temple also has a temple elephant by the name of Lakshmi – a peaceful, beautiful animal who I have taken an attraction to. The various Vinayaka idols lining the temple walls are a must see. There are idols from Kabul, Java, Indonesia, Cambodia and many other places.
After this, we went to a very famous platform paani poori shop near the beach and gobbled up 8 plates of chaat!! We visited the beach (don’t imagine something like the Marina), sat on the rocks and took a long walk on the Rue (road) adjacent to it. It was delighful. The, we came home for a quick dinner and went to Balaji theatre for the 10 PM Kumki show.
Next morning, after a delicious breakfast of oothappams and dosais with thakkali vengaayam chutney, we went to Ousteri Lake and took a boat ride for half an hour. The ride was really good and we spotted many nesting birds – pelicans, snakebirds, flamingos, etc. We plucked lotuses and a lotus leaf on the way out of the lake. We drove to Auroville, saw the dome and ate at Surguru. The restaurant was kind of laid back, it had crowd; yet it had space. No one was hurrying us up and I had a nice lunch outside home after a long time.
From there, we went to Veerampattinam where there is a beach and something like a shore for a few metres. It is basically a fisherman’s place and lots of boats were parked on the sands. A boy of around 10 ran behind our bike and entered into a casual talk with us. After wetting our feet in the clean beach water (a sharp contrast from Chennai), we got on the bike to leave when the boy asked us for some money. We gave him ten rupees and he was all smiles!
We spent the evening at home flicking through old photo albums and reminiscing old incidents. A superb fig and honey ice cream topped with hot chocolate sauce and chocolate chips at Richy Rich closed the day. We thanked our hosts and left for Chennai the next morning.
With some of this and some of that, the trip was a nice one!