After a flurry of mails & phone-calls, the venue had been decided – Pondicherry. A three-day weekend was to be converted to an unforgettable experience. Last minute bookings, rescheduling of flights, and Tatkal tickets later, our group (minus a very important heavy-weight personality) met at Chennai.
Some haggling later, we were at CMBT to board a bus to Pondicherry. A hasty climb into the bus to get good seats, an even hastier descent – owing to some unavoidable circumstances, some “Hi’s” – resulting in a company of Blonde & Red-Head Hi, craning neck at unbelievable angles to catch a glimpse of the sea, an old lady shouting at us in Tamil while we understood zilch, a flat-tyre, much hand waving to stop the taxis, some more haggling, and we reached Pondicherry at around 4 p.m. instead of the 1 or 2 p.m. we had planned.
We had booked our guest-house without even seeing it, since no other accommodation was available, we took what we got. Family Guest House turned out to be a great place to stay at a very cheap price. A much-needed bath was taken and off we went in search of some place that would abate our rumbling stomachs. After passing numerous bars and even more numerous liquor shops we finally found a place that had only “Restaurant” written across its board, instead of the usual “Bar & Restaurant” – which was generally Bar and few snacks. Food came and out came the perennial rescuers – Salt and Pepper. Every restaurant we went to in Pondicherry had food especially made for the foreigners. All of them were very bland, almost no spices. The non-veggies had a gala time (including one amazing dinner when they had the most unforgettable Prawn Soup!); while we veggies had to eat everything with oodles of salt and pepper.
First day we hardly had anytime and just went to the beach within the city – well that could hardly be called a beach. On one side of Beach Road is the endless sea, the Bay of Bengal awaited us; but unluckily there was no sand, just rocks, and then the rough sea. We could not even go to the water, the rocks nearest were covered in moss and going there would have been a sure-shot invitation to death. We went as near as we could without taking any major risks and waited for the big waves, so that the spray could reach us. Within 10-15 minutes, the tide had built up appreciably and we had to return back. But that rocky beach played host to the beautiful mornings, both the days I was up early and one day I able to catch the sunrise too 🙂
Next day we hired Kinetic Hondas (unluckily all bikes had already been hired 😦 ) and headed towards Paradise Beach. It is connected to land, but we went to it by a boat, and we felt as if we are going to some Hawaiian Beach. Beautiful palm trees escorted us to the golden sands; few cottages, and a beer shop awaited us, but that was later. We jumped into the blue sea. Earlier I had heard that the beaches in Pondicherry are dangerous, on just seeing the beach it did not feel dangerous – granted that the sea was a bit rough, but did not seem dangerous. My allusions of safety vanished within 5 minutes. The beaches in Pondicherry have a very strong undercurrent. The waves that hit the shore, when they are receding, they pull you back with them. On the lines of ostriches, but instead of our heads, we dug in our legs and hands in the sand to stop the sea pulling us in.
The other major beach of Pondicherry – Auroville Beach – was again dangerous. It also was not as beautiful as Paradise Beach, but stand-alone it was amazing. There was quite a steep descent to the water, and even this beach had very strong undercurrents. This time around the max we could get into water was knee-deep and even then we had to dig our legs into the sand. I sat in ankle-deep water for a long time and had to dig in deep to stop being pulled in by the waves. The power of the waves and the sea cannot be fathomed unless you experience it first hand.
Pondicherry as a city is very relaxing, well structured, and well maintained. The MG Road runs through the length of the city. We had no idea about the roads, but reached any place without any problems. The rue de Bussy has many good restaurants lining both the sides. The antique shops in the side-lanes add to the charm of Pondicherry.
Well that was all tourist stuff, now to the main thing – the booze. Two nights in Pondicherry, and eight bottles were finished off – and we are not heavy drinkers. No taxes make the liquor very cheap and we used that to our full advantage. Finally after eons, I drank properly and was on a high. Red Wine, Port Wine, Vodka, White Rum – and since the Guest House we were staying in had a refrigerator, everything was chilled. No better time, place and company to drink 😀
Some Memorable Moments:
- We developed a full-fledged business idea revolving around toilets. ****** International Toilets were designed, and commercials were developed… There is still an on-going discussion on whether it should be pay-per-minute, or pay-per-download.
- The Hi’s. One of us learnt to say Hi and has been using the technique very effectively. But as soon as the Hi turns on hearing the Hi, he starts talking with us starting every sentence with Hi. The best moment was when he said Hi without turning and the Hi turned out to be a guy. 😀
- The Magic Show – enough said.
- Actually the whole trip, it is total stupidity trying to make a list of most memorable moments…
MAZAA AA GAYA!!!