I had been day-dreaming about the quaint little streets of Pondicherry for almost a year before I finally booked my tickets and decided to realise my fantasies.
Puducherry is not just a union territory in India, it is a world of its own. The Franco-rule that lasted here for almost 300 years, has soaked this place in its colours and flavours. To savour the ultimate French experience of La Côte d’Azur de l’Est, I decided to stay at Le Dupleix.
I started my Pondy-trip with a hearty meal of milk and cornflakes, fruits, flax seeds and orange-juice. Then gorged on some dosa-chutney and sambar while I waited for my green tea to arrive. (My appetite doubles when I am on a trip!)
With my stomach full, I started walking through the grid-like rues (roads) that lead me to this mustard building…
And then, there was another. This one in memory of the French soldiers.
I entered the Pondicherry Museum, which housed everything – from stone-sculptures dating back to the 1st century AD to ancient carriages that lived to see me visit!
To pay some heed to my roused hunger, I halted in front of Le Vietnam, where I had my lunch of bún chả with a pair of chopsticks while I stared wide-eyed at an interesting looking nón lá (Vietnamese conical leaf hat).
Post lunch, I rushed to the nearest church, just in time to hear the mass in Tamil!
I reached the Promenade beach before sunset and walked the entire stretch. The locals told me I should stop to look at the Gandhi statue and the French war memorial, which I dutifully did.
When the sun dissolved into the waters of the Bay of Bengal, the street suddenly came alive! One could watch the Pondy-Police-Force play the trumpet, activists staging street plays, live music and dancing all along the way. The once empty road was now thronged by a sizable crowd, and the mood was that of a carnival. It was, in fact, a carnival as today was St. Bastille’s Day! I was just lucky to be at the right place at the right time.
After the noise-overdose, I had a quiet dinner at my hotel. I ordered Italian – the cuisine that makes me think of nothing else but what’s on my plate. I then proceeded to catch some sleep for my trip to Auroville the next day!