Monday, August 29, 2005

Bienvenue à Pondichery

I might not know the back of my hand, but I sure know Pondicherry. Ok- there is not much to know, the grid layout system of roads take care of it. Anywhere you go, you can always find your way out. Dead ends in streets might exist- I’ve hardly seen any though.

A perfect weekend… sleeping late and waking up with half the day gone. Breakfast is never eaten. Cinnamon tea. A whiff of that and my day’s almost perfect. I never drink or make cinnamon tea at Chennai. That’s a smell and taste I associate with home. Only home.

Lunch is a spread. I might as well have been in Kerala.

An afternoon sleep which begins when the afternoon is almost over and stretches into a good part of the evening.

Evenings with great music on the computer and at full volume sometimes. My mom’s convinced “Deaf” Leppard was named so coz they went deaf hearing themselves sing. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan died of a heart attack- not surprising at all.

Late evening we go to the beach. Mom has a correction to make- its not evening at all, its called night! But Pondicherry is very safe a place. And I live but a couple of streets away from the beach.

My sister and I head to the beach. I carry a book along. There are these benches very conveniently made under orange neon lights. I remove my slippers, fold my legs under me and sit and read. My sister takes a walk all by herself. She comes and sits beside me sometime later. I close my book and we both watch the sea. There are lights always from ships that dot the horizon, someone is away from home always.

We buy an ice cream and sit and lick it as if we have all the time in the world. We just might… time does wait for you in Pondicherry. We cross the traffic devoid street and climb the rocks there. We sit forever on the rocks. We remember a person called our mother almost simultaneously and look at each other. Dusting the sand from our denims we ride back home in perfect lethargy.

We see a new restaurant that’s opened. We just have to investigate. It does not matter that its almost 10.30 and girls from decent households should be asleep by then. We walk around looking at the interior décor, glance at the menu, we talk to the owner. Kind shopkeepers are found only in Pondicherry, this I am convinced. They’ll tell you all you want to know and more. “You should include more chocolate flavors”, my sister advises. “Of course and thank you” we are told gratefully.

We buy another flavor and head out. I sit behind on the bike holding both ice creams. My sister rides and stops every few meters to take a lick at the melting ice cream; even that melts in harmony to the speed of Pondicherry- slowly in quiet trickles that are caught by the tongue before they fall onto the ground or your clothes.

Tomorrow is another day. The night is still young. We reach our home and sit on our bike for some more time. People still walk on the roads. No one hurries home. We ring the bell and wake up mom who’s asleep. It doesn’t matter we have our own keys. We are the latchkey kids who never use them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Très beau.

1:57 AM  
Blogger Praveen said...

Well written! really makes me want to visit Pondicherry.

By the way, I have book tagged you :)

3:44 AM  
Blogger pallavi said...

forget paris and london babe, pondicherry is where we're headed for vacation...i need someplace to brush up the french without being too embarrased about making mistakes...this sounds like the place..
and i think by the time we get there, we'll desperately be in need of a time stop.
Maybe. Maybe not.
p.s. : I've heard you get great wine and cheese down there...

3:52 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Fadia: Merci beaucoup.

Praveen: Everyone should come to Pondicherry. Damn, I think I'll find a job with the tourism department there!

Pallavi: You should should come to Pondicherry. You just should. You get Fernch wine, cheese and... French men! Thankfully my mom doesnt read my blog! And brush up 'the' French? Ah- naughty naughty!

3:58 AM  
Blogger fr0z3n said...

wow! wow again!

feels like you are living in some magical alternate reality... or maybe it's your words that make everything around you seem so beautiful.. or maybe i need to visit Pondicherry :)

4:40 AM  
Blogger fr0z3n said...

so you are from Kerala, live in Pondicherry and have something to do with Chennai.. hmmm...

5:07 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Frozen: A visit to Pondicherry would do you good- I cant say the same for your liver though.

And yes, I am from Kerala n live in Pondicherry but I have nothing to do with Chennai.

5:17 AM  
Blogger fr0z3n said...

Heh.. My liver will be just fine. I am teetotaller :) . Never wanted to and prolly never will, though I always tell people that never is too strong a word :) .
Btw, are you working or studying? Or none of the above? :)

5:33 AM  
Blogger yesbob said...

umm, three tickets to pondichery, thank you

7:34 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Frozen: I'm learning.

Yesbob: December.

9:06 PM  
Blogger mannu said...

yet another great work!!!!..

12:53 AM  
Blogger SnM said...

Came to your blog via another one. And liked your style of writing.

That was a lovely post. I've been to Pondi twice: once on a normal day, and once for a New year eve, on 31 Dec 2001 (That was my last year at college in Trichy. Our gang wanted to be on a beach that night and Goa was just too far away, and of course too expensive). Pondicherry I saw on the two above occassions were totally different: On the former it was a calm and quite place, with little traffic on the roads, less crowd, empty beaches with cool sea-breeze caressing you all over.
But on the latter, it was mad frenzy everwhere. The place was swarming with people, most of them inebriated and sense-less, heavy and haphazard traffic, police blockades....
I think its a lovely place to settle down... A nice, not-too-big beach-side villa with a couple of balconies that face the sea, lots of plants and pine trees... Hey, is that what you have over there? :)
Btw, are all those pictures taken by you? They have a pro touch...


4:59 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Mannu: I'm running out of thank yous!

Snm: REC Trichy huh? New Year shakes every place to the hilt. I never step out of my house on that day- I wouldnt recognize my town!

I wish I had a house like that. And nope, I havent taken any of the pics on my blog. I dont think I ever can!

5:09 AM  
Blogger SnM said...


Thats my dream house :)
About the pictures, keep trying, one day you might be able to... :)

Ever been to Mahe?

5:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arrrggghhhh!! am on a diet, and yer talkin ice-creams....have been working non-stop fer over a year, and yer talkin of a quaint holiday place like Pondichery!!!!
waaaaaaaah!! mwaaaaaah!!!
Nice Post ;D

SnM: Mahe!! U talkin Manipal?! MIT?! Batch?!?!

6:02 AM  
Blogger SnM said...

Not Manipal! Mahe is a province(can I call it so, Poornima?) of the Pondichery state, the others being Karakkal and Yanam. Mahe lies on the shores of Arabian sea, surrounded by Kerala on the other three sides. That place used to be ruled by the French.

Manipal... A place I love to hate.

6:42 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Sharat: YOu can always come to Pondicherry- but pls. when I am not there. I hate being this tour guide thingy!

Snm: Mahe is a part of the Pondicherry UT (Pls. dont throw stuff at me if I've made any blunder. I am but geographically challenged!). Nope, never been there. Rec- Trichy, some very special people passed out of it- special to me I mean.

8:21 PM  
Blogger SnM said...

No, you haven't made any blunder.

REC-Trichy. That place's seen a few of the best times of my life. A few of the worst, too.

11:17 PM  
Blogger manuscrypts said...

woweee, thats a nice existence!! reminds me of the times in Goa.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Snm: Maybe you'd like to read this . A fellow RECtian and the college he talks about it is the one that relates you both.

Manuscrypts: Never been to Goa, but if you say its like Pondicherry- then I must must see it.

11:48 PM  
Blogger SnM said...

Is that a 'Balu' from Pondi? Is that his real name?

12:10 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Snm: Yes, Pondy. Its quite a mouthful actually. Balasubramaniam Soundara Raghavan! Balu. Thankfully he never reads my blog- he'll never know this breach of some protocol mistreating anonymity that I've committed!

Wheels are! No, dont ask me what that means. Figure it out yourself.

12:16 AM  
Blogger SnM said...

I know him. Batch-mate. Hostel mate.


12:32 AM  
Blogger SnM said...

Kailash, Amarnath, Angkor-wat, South-east Asia, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Scandinavia, East-Europe...List is growing here too... I truly envy Ian Wright.

12:42 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Snm: Glad- that you know him. Glad- that you figured it out. Egypt n Israel let me know when you do.

12:58 AM  
Blogger SnM said...

Whats he doing now?
Egypt n Zion, Promise.
Not crazy about mountains?

1:19 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Snm: Balu will kill me if I discuss him anymore on my blog! Mountains, beaches- any quiet place actually. Far from the madding crowd kind of idea is very appealing.

1:26 AM  
Blogger SnM said...

Do try the beaches on the Konkan coast. They are just too good.

And the numerous trekking trails on the western ghats. Western Ghats never ceases to amaze me.

1:57 AM  
Blogger Matter of Choice said...

That was a fantastic day!!!

ur description of the evening is so evocative. i have visited pondichery just once. sadly it was for the booze only :(

anyways now that i have read ur blog and live in chennai (actually on ECR road) pondichery is just a bus stop away. and this time i wont booze (atleast not much!)

keep writing :)


3:11 AM  
Blogger Jithu said...

nice place it is.. been there once. i liked the marine drive sort of thing there with that gandhi statue.. :-))

1:17 PM  
Blogger Poornima said...

MoC: I meet a lot of these booze-only people who visit Pondy. I have nothing against them. Reasons to visit Pondicherry may be any, but the place is where I call home.

Jithu: Oh yes. The statue. That's where I met a fellow blogger I'd lured to Pondy!

9:05 PM  
Blogger aks said...

pondy...the place i associate most of my fondest memories of childhood with...gr8 place....way better than goa...for its simple folk and life around.....and hey love.. its beautiful for u reside there my dearest ...

7:43 AM  
Blogger Just Me said...

We are the latchkey kids who never use them.

Is so neat. Bearhug thy Mom for being there. When one needs her the most.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Aks: Am glad you have all good memories associated with the place. May it always remain the same.

Just Me: Long time no see! Will bearhug mom for you. She'll be helluva surprised- but what the hell, I'll do it anyway.

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah! Balu
Did he study in Kendriya Vidyalaya Pondy?

"Balu will kill me if I discuss him anymore on my blog"

Its OK.......please just give a yes or no answer...

8:25 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Anon: Oh yes. He did.

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanx Poornima.
What does he do these days? I was his schoolmate there. He was a senior by a couple of years or so. Was a nice guy. Especially the hair cut he used to sport was the talk of the school those days! A very,very,very close machine cut. The number of 'very's must give u an idea.
Just say 'hi' to him on my behalf.
[ Venkataraman]
BTW, you have a very good blog here.

3:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post made me want to be home and with my sis...Ah! Home..and would love to visit pondi now, though I LOVED MIT manipal while I was there. Ever been there poornima?

10:48 PM  
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pondi is the poor mech stud's goa
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