Monday, January 24, 2011

A date with Pondy

On the seafront, cement paved streets lead to the shopping area of the city. Streets named Rue Manakula Vinayakar Covil and Rue Saint Giles stand adjacent lined by colonial remnants of french style buildings rendering the atmosphere with a mystique quality. Foreign tourists in cycles and two wheelers are a common sight while out of nowhere emerges an elephant in a regale fashion led gently by a mahout. This is a picture of Pondy's beach face.  It has three other faces - a rural face, an urban face and a french face. 

Our (Me, Ritam and Aditi) date with Pondy was not a well planned out one. We decided to go to Pondy instead of Chennai for a difference because Pondy was just half an hour more distant than Chennai by road. Early morning, near the campus, as we waited for public transport, we had no clue how the day would pan out. Luckily we got seats and reached Pondy at 9.30 AM with our stomachs yearning for food.

After bargaining with an auto driver, we set forth for Auroville, touted to be a universal township in the making. As we enter the deviation in the highway leading to Auroville, the change in the surroundings is just about pronounced. It could be any other deviation leading to a nondescript village. Bad roads and a bumpy ride later, we are suddenly in Auroville. Being a sunday morning, there are a lot of visitors. 


We enter the exhibition area and find people in groups viewing a video about Auroville and Matrimandir. After a small breakfast of omelet and dosa, we follow the other visitors to the Matrimandir visiting area. The path to the structure is dusty with the sun shining bright on us. Near the structure, we find some people intent on clicking pictures, some simply enjoying the view around, some trying to read the stories behind the construction and some others, sitting in silence. 

On the way back, Aditi, her usual self, becomes camera loving and we oblige. There are 3 boutiques - all of them having a mixture of clothes, home accessories and handicrafts. We decide to have pizzas for lunch and take an auto direct to the Pizza-hut at the seafront, thanks to Aditi's memory. We gorge on pizzas, garlic bread and pasta (All selections by Ritam) and run up a fat bill. 

At around 2.30 PM, we are back on the streets. We walk up to the sea shore, find people lazing around in the sunshine in the cute, small shades. The city's many faces merge on the seafront to create a small microcosm - Ritam calls the city, a melting pot of culture. Aditi, having been here once before leads us to a church she remembers visiting.  
 
We walk aimlessly for a while observing the city's sunday afternoon life - as people go about after their weekend siestas. The main shopping street is JN road. Brands of all hues and colors are available. Found some interesting names next to each other, perhaps, something that is unique to the place: Saravana bhavan, Shalimar gift shop, Bina Bazar and Aristo restaurant sit comfortably next to each other. Nadi diagnosis and Shruti Anglo French textiles showroom are some other strange names for shops that we found. We chance upon one shop - Casablanca - in which we like everything on display. How I wish we had more money to splurge on! 

This was one of the most funniest things - 



We wrap up a long, fun and eventful day with a light dinner at Daily Bread and head back to the Pondy bus stand to return to our hostels. Like all good things unplanned, it turned out to be a beautiful day - one that made me forget all that was clouding my head and helped me unwind...

4 comments:

Soumya said...

Cool..you had a enjoyable date with Pondy. The picture is interesting. I thought it was some shamiana decoration. Only after closer look figured it out :-D

Prashant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prashant said...

Instead of Pizza Hut in Pondicherry you should have tried the Pizza at New Creation Corner in Auroville, you would have had the most authentic Italian pizza in the country..!!

Shiva said...

@ Soumya: the picture is bound to surprise on first look :D

@ Prashant: We would have if we had known...