Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Pondy Weekend

1. adj. (Ind. campus sl.) - pornographic, designed to arouse lust
2. n. (Tam.) - Pondicherry

1. n. The end of the week, especially the period from Friday evening through Sunday evening.
2. n. (Ludw.) A time to spend as completely as possible within 500 feet of a beach, eating industrial quantities of seafood, drinking beer, and in general behaving like Commodus type individual.

So off we went then, to Madras. Once there, we headed post-haste for the bank. A day was spent wandering the grounds and lording it over the hoi polloi, who weren't allowed behind the "Do Not Enter - Staff Only" signs;

dip in the sea; Vishu (Puthuvatsara AashamsakaL! Happy V.!) sadya; inspection of the denizens;

(yes, that is indeed a baby Indian python coiled lovingly around Ludw.'s hirsute hand); and dinner at "The Blue Elephant" in Mahabalipuram. You wish to know the menu? Tawa fried prawns (very simple, chilli powder, curry leaves, minimalist), calamari with some sauce, grilled fish with rice, another prawn thingy with another sauce, Kingfisher, and chocolate Cornetto.

By now, the engorged torso was starting to look rather like one of those pythons we'd been hanging out with all day. Tottered off to bed, lulled by the sound of the sea, the screeches of egrets, and the soothing toccata and fugue in D minor played by a very tiny orchestra of mosquitoes in the vicinity of the ear canal.

Up bright and early next morning, and off to Pondicherry in one of those CMBT-Pondicherry ECR buses, driven by a close cousin of Ben-Hur. Before we could decently finish practising, "Je m'appelle Joseph François Dupleix", we were in Pondicherry.

We decanted into the room with the view at "The Park Guest House", right on the briny beach.

Pondy is really quite an amazing town. Brightly coloured, quiet, beach front, tree-lined streets. We cannot believe that we spent all those aeons in Madras and never once visited Pondy till last weekend. What were we thinking? Spent much of the day wandering about town from place to place (incl. the Auro ashram and the Pondicherry Museum) on bicycles and by foot, more eating (the entire trip was structured around the important questions of life, chiefly "What do we eat?" "When?" and "Where?").

Siesta. More walking about town, Indian Coffee House, the beach, dinner at Rendezvous (30 Rue Suffern, at the corner of Rue Suffern and Rue Bussy - how cool is that street address?). Do not even ask us about dinner. En passant, we will mention the grilled halibut, the caramel custard and the gin and tonic.

Bed. Once again lulled by the sound of the Bay of Bengal, beating a tattoo on the rocks right outside the balcony. Startlingly luminiscent moon.

Next morning, we rented scooters, polished off some dosae at the Indian Coffee House, and set off for Auroville. This is a remarkable place, even if you do not jive with the whole Aurobindo-Mother philosophy type schtuff. The Auroville community has, over the years, carried out a number of interesting projects in education, community living, building, agricultural practises, non-conventional energy type cool areas. When Aurovillians are not doing these cool type activities, they seem to be engaged in building Mathrimandir, which seems like a gigantic monument to ego (if you're an infidel like Ludwig), and completely inappropriate for this day and age.

But what to do, to each their own. Different strokes, different folks. After you get over the bizzareness of not insignificant quantities of barefoot Caucasians driving around the Dravidian countryside on motorcycles and mopeds, the place begins to grow on you, somewhat. Minimally, the fact that they managed to get a baked, desolate, treeless piece of earth to sprout all those orchards and groves is heartening.

Bus to Madras, late night flight to Hyderabad, bed by 4:00 a.m. Weekend. Sigh.

  1. Move to coastal city, pronto.
  2. Buy cycle. Bicycle.
  3. Eat fish. Industrial quantities.
  4. Run.
  5. Live.



Ph said...

Joy! This time envy takes a back seat. We had similar week with sea, snake and saapad (it had to be an 'es' word).

Veena said...

Happy Vishu! Sea, sappad and snake et al is fine but did money exchange hands? (Which to me has always been the main Vishu attraction)

And you don't have to move to a coastal city. City with a big, big lake will do fine, me thinks.

Emma said...

A very well-written post, honestly. Was a pleasure reading it. One could actually visualize how the weekend was spent. Amazing photographs as well...

You seriously do have an alternate career option :).

dont you wish that man keynes would leave you alone and not read every entry said...


Given resolutions, certain thoughts come to mind

1.I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky etc. etc.

2. I want to ride my biseecle I want to ride my bike. I want to ride my biseecle I want to ride my bike.

5 dont live in the treetops. Be a grassroot. Or a Seaweed.

Am counting down days till reentry into the atmosphere of desh.

Trust some trips can be planned. Auro sounds like a trip.

Inquilab Zindabad.

Gaurang Prajapati said...

i went to pondi and auroville 2 years back. It was one of the most memorable trips ever for sure. And ur writing is as excellent as ever.

Shamanth said...

Oy L, quite love your writing style, da. And envy your laid back life.:).

Ludwig said...

Much delays in respondin. Apologize.

[ph] Where was your sea, snake, saapaad weekend? Is there more than one place in the world where this is possible? We rejoice!

[veena] Happy Belated Vish U too. Money did exchange hands, but it was mostly a one-way transaction from Ludw. to others :P

My dear woman, you seriously do not believe that a city with a big lake is the same as one on the briny beach? They're poles apart...

[emma] Thanks. As always, the photos have more to do with scenery and camera than anything else.

[dywtmkwlyaanree] Not really, we do wish you to read all, Faithful Dungpile. Re: items:

#1 - Absolutely concur. Sea, sky, gull's way, whale's way, wind like a whetted knife...

#2 - Fat bottomed girls. Mmm.

#5 - Grassroot/seaweed seems most comfortable.

Muerte a toda autoridad!

[gaurang] Yeah man, Pondy is quite the place, isn't it? Its totally fundu. I wish I'd spent more time there.

[shamanth] Oy back. Thank you. And its not all that laidback (i.e. don't let my boss read this). We try to make it sound so. And hang on for a couple of weeks. Bandipur.

Shweta said...

Bandipur? Bandipur! How this being happening to you i say! and what may I ask are you trying to do, good lad? Create horrid green monsters around you?

Ludwig said...

[shweta] Yes, we are Dr. Frankenstein, trying to create horrid green monsters. To top it off, today, golden oriole (fem.), branch outside the flat. Why, sometimes I've seen as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast.

Anonymous said...

Golden Oriole! My! My! Where are we - concrete jungles of Begumpet, really? Oriolus oriolus is known in Europe, mostly East Anglia. You must be rather lucky, I say!

-- From one avid bird-watcher to another (one chooses to remain anonymous)

Ph said...

Miami. But sadly, it is not a place one wants to move to. Unlike Pondi.

Ludwig said...

[anonymous] OK, OK, we admit it. We're consumed with curiousity.

[ph] Oh. Miami. Ah! Pondy!

tilotamma said...

I didn't think Pondy was cool or anything when I visited in Jan. Guess it was the company...

Ludwig said...

[tilotamma] Definitely must've been the company :P We thought it was rather smashing, guess all the beer and seafood helped!

Pity we never went when we had all the time in the world, during the 'lolling around OAT' days...

Swathi said...

having done my schooling n college frm Pondy n moved to Hyd after that - i seem to love ur blog (well u have written 'bout two of my fav. places on earth)

Ludwig said...

[swathi] Glad you liked the two pieces and hopefully the larger blog. I must say though (at the risk of being lynched by the locals), Pondy takes the cake over Hyd! Actually, pretty much any coastal city does.