This is the story of my trip to Pondicherry which involved a lot of things like us almost burning a house down and getting chased from the neighbourhood but I’ll tell you more later. So let’s begin by character introductions, the people I went with:
1. Pranav: Totally into trips, our planner. He knew exactly what to do in Pondy cause he’d planned so many times and never gone. I am glad he hadn’t
2. Dheeraj: My friend who invited himself so that he can escape from his work, cause he’s actually laundering money from his company
3. Ameena: The sweetest girl on planet earth with the sweetest voice, who is really the most ideal person to travel with
4. Anup ( Anna ): The father of the group, metaphorically. He’s so respectable that even a 70-year-old would call him Anna. Also known as Guardian of the Galaxy as he was solemnly responsible for our lives until we got back home
5. Me – Just wanted a really good trip and yes I got it
Let’s begin from the first day of our three-day trip
Day 1 – Jingle Bells
We reached Pondy quite early in the morning and made ourselves home at our Airbnb home that was named Aachiveedu ( supposed to mean our house I guess ). It was just the perfect house with a grocery store right in front of us and the house being placed in the middle of the city. Our tour of the city started with a botanical garden that had fewer plants than my mom’s garden. Quite very botanical. Before this, of course, we stopped by a small hotel to grab breakfast and we were given Upma dipped in sambar as we were told that that’s how things are done in South India. Still don’t understand how the 5 of us gave off the vibes of North Indians.
The day was followed by a visit to Aurobindo Ashram, that was a very peaceful and blissful experience. Peace was inside the ashram and bliss was right outside the ashram, as we found a place that made killer lemon and orange soda. We drank to beat the heat and did not really count the glasses of soda that went down that noon. That day we also covered the Basilica Church, that gave us the Harry Potter vibes, essentially because of the name and also a visit to the French war memorial, rock beach and MG Statue.
While sitting and staring at the waves hitting the shore, at late evening, we were very annoyed by a guy next to us who was talking aloud, probably on phone or with someone, I don’t know. All I know is that he was loud and he was right next to us and If I were to turn and look at him, I’d yell at him for sure, for being so insensitive in the public. As time passed and he went on to be loud, I turned to take a look at what this man was up to. It had so happened that he was pretty high and was actually conversing with us all along without even realizing that we were not paying attention. The worst part was that he was actually trying to sell us weed and we didn’t even know it.
Finishing this long day and getting back home by 10:30, it was pretty tiring. While Pranav opened the 500 locks of the house entrance, Ameena was busy ringing the doorbell to our house hoping someone would come open the doors from inside. Strange enough, Dheeraj had already observed that our house did not really have a calling bell and Ameena woke up the neighbourhood by ringing their doorbell at freaking 10:30 in the night. We were chased inside the house while the neighbour came out of his house furiously in his half-sleep state and started yelling at us.
A very nice way to hit it off with the neighbors on the first day.
Day 2 – Carbon Suite
This is the day we paid a visit to Auroville and experienced the serenity of the place. The morning started off with us enjoying the sunrise at Serenity beach followed by surfing right there. We were asked to assemble at 7, which meant that we had time to take in the beauty of the sunrise and move on to play with the waves.
Surfing was a very beautiful experience that I’d recommend for everyone to try out. Let me share with you the caption that I had written for my IG post after surfing
Okay, this is an experience I want to write about. First things first, when you’re surfing, it’s important to wear the right clothes. I totally neglected this when my instructor told me and he had an ‘I told you so’ moment. It’s great that you don’t even need to know swimming to have a great surfing experience as long as you’re ready to drink 2Lts of saltwater and the surf boat flipping right on you. But anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that it’s a great experience and everyone should give it a try and here’s why.
There was this one moment where under the blazing sun and the roaring waves, I turned towards the horizon and just looked at the rising wave that was headed our way. It was probably twice my height. It scared me and I looked at the instructor. He only had one thing to say “Yes, look at it, it’s a big wave. Don’t let that scare you. You let this scare you, you’ll let everything scare you your entire life”. That was a “Damn son” moment. The wave didn’t scare me anymore, it didn’t look so tall anymore, it didn’t make me restless anymore, no wave did. This, this is a moment that you have that you’ll cherish for a lifetime, remember every time your heart is restless with fear. That’s what these experiences do to you, they free you from the clutches, they liberate you.
PS: I sucked at surfing. KbyeMy IG Post
Anyway, moving on, the next visit was to Auroville and that place, let me tell you, involves a lot of walking if you want to reach Matri Mandir. It was really a spiritual experience as we understood the values that the place was built on. After the long walk and return, we were still on the campus, having ice cream. Pranav received a call from the landlord and suddenly he had a grin on the face. We jokingly told each other and hoped we hadn’t burnt the house down.
Practically, we kinda almost had.
After the distress call that we had received asking us to rush back, as something did not feel right about the house, we did rush back. Opening the doors, it was a weird smell and for some reason, there was something on the floor because of which our steps were leaving traces. Nothing made sense until we all went to our room and saw that something was wrong with the AC.
It looked like the AC had burst, to Dheeraj, as he started shouting that the AC has burst and left ashes in the entire house. I was looking around for my bag which I had kept right below the AC hoping that it hadn’t gotten dirty from the AC burst. Luckily, my bag hadn’t caught the dust. Mostly because there was no bag. My bag did not exist anymore and this is exactly what had happened.
Due to possible power fluctuations and the AC sharing a common wall with the washing machine, it had a short circuit leading to the sparks of it falling on my bag and the entire bag filled with clothes burning down into ashes.
You would have heard of people travelling and going with one bag and come back with two bags from all the shopping and new items? Yeah, I went with two bags and returned with one. At that moment of me realising that I had lost all my clothes, especially the ones I had specifically bought for this trip, people around me felt very bad for me. Or should I say, they waited for me to actually laugh at this situation so that they can burst out into laughter and actually let it sink in that something like this had happened?
Luckily for me, I had exactly two pairs of clothes left outside, enough to survive the next day and come back home.
Day 3 – The Mangrow
I don’t honestly remember which day it was but we had the most interesting beach time at Paradise beach. It was just like its name. Anup anna and Ameena did not get into the water. It was Dheeraj, Pranav and I that wanted to race with the waves and do that lame thing of jumping when a wave hits, like 5-year-olds. The three of us, rising and falling with the rising and falling waves, were hit thrice by three big waves that completely took us down. Let me tell you that, that is the most beautiful beach experience you can ever have.
I remember Day 3 to be fondly associated with the drive to Mangrove Forest of the place called Pichavaram. It was scorching and we were off to a boat ride on the Mangrove Forest. As boring as I thought it’d be, it was one of the most beautiful moments of our trip. We went deeper inside and experienced stillness and silence of the water. We could hear the birds chirp and the sound of the mangrove rub against our boats. None of us really spoke to each other for those few minutes of the ride and just sank in the power of silence that the place gifted us.
We were sceptical of this place being worth our time and after the visit, it definitely took our doubts away.
I can’t possibly write down the three beautiful days in its entirety. Today being the birthday of Pranav P Rao, who is the whole reason why this trip happened, I wanted to write this as a gratitude to him. There are other things about Pondicherry that I would like to bring to your notice.
There are no traffic rules here. Let me tell you how. If there is a circle and you get the green signal to go, you can go anywhere you want, circle from its right or left, without actually having to go around it in order to turn. Cause, sure, that’s how circles work. Technically that city was untouched by the concept of helmet and licenses. How convenient!
We also decided to try out the authentic French breakfast. I have one word for you, DON’T. As fancy as they look, well, just don’t. We also realized in the due course of the trip that Anup anna and Pranav are basically cows cause they can eat and finish anything that is kept in front of them and they are unfamiliar with concepts of taste and appetite.
I am just really glad that this trip happened. Like I how I have said on my IG post,
When you’re travelling, you cross paths of people you’ve never met before or people you have shared smiles with across the hall. But before you know it, you start becoming a part of their memory and they start delving into yours, even if it is for a brief time. They become a part of the place you visit together and a part of the food you have while you’re there and the roads you curve along. Their silliness and wisdom become a part of your journey, their reactions and smiles you remember, every time you remember the trip. That’s what makes a place special, the people in the place, the persons in the journey. Laugh out with joy and freeze it as a memory, because that is how you’ll remember a place and the journey that lead to it.