It was 5 am when our bus landed at Maraimalai. A flurry of auto drivers rushed to us chattering away in Tamil, Riya and I were sifting for familiar Malayalam* words in their fast paced talks. Dawn seeped in, the sun rose fairly early at Pondicherry. While walking to the hotel, the early sunshine could never compete with the yellow railway station that was complemented by the bustling auto rickshaws. It was another day of sun, but there was a sweeping wind of laziness that suddenly slowed down time.
Pondicherry was strikingly mapped out; it literally looked like a grid. While we moseyed around the lanes, there were the very stereotypical French colonial bungalows, well-crafted doors, canopies of bougainvillea, arches of lovely green fronds, of course a toss of a few homes with a fashionable dilapidated touch. The bicycles were not just picturesque props for the many avid Instagrammers. The way windows and doors abided by a classic design, I could sense the city’s harmonious existence. I wouldn’t say it wasn't the only city that reveled in its high gloss imagery with a shy rawness of simplicity, for Goa, Fort Kochi and Mattancherry shared this charm. But Pondicherry embraced calmness. There weren’t the loud honks of cars or pesky scooters, rather the chirps of cycling bells. While walking by you could hear faint French music from the rooftop cafes. Though there was an inescapable tropical unease, many just embraced the heat and never seemed to be enervated.
I wouldn’t say it wasn't the only city that reveled in its high gloss imagery with a shy rawness of simplicity, for Goa, Fort Kochi and Mattancherry shared this charm. But Pondicherry embraced calmness.
In our showy clothes, those uncomfortable gazes we expected were rather quelled by a smile, and a few laughs simply meaning, “Have the time of your life.’ Thus I have nothing touristic to say, because our travel story turned out being a journey of meeting people who never questioned why we visited their hometown, rather assured us to be ourselves.
Follow Atheena to Perhaps at Pondicherry N°3
Here's the lingo guide:
Dugbe* - A market situated in Ibadan, Nigeria
Gele* - A type of head scarf commonly worn in many parts of Southern and Western Africa
Malayalam* - The native language spoken in Kerala, India
Rickshaw* - A wheel operating vehicle in India
Chappal*- Colloquial term for sandals
Bharatanatyam*- A major genre of classical dance that originated in Tamil Nadu, Kerala
Chechi*- Colloquial term for sister in Malayalam
Ammachi*- Colloquial term for grandmother in Malayalam
Mutta* - Colloquial term for egg in Malayalam
Run parallel, meet at intersections, skip a few lines, the line of thought has journeyed across a few latitudes and longitudes. To more miles before the big sleep. Cheers, Atheena
While he is searching for the right frame, he believes, that art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Perhaps he is lost in Pondicherry or found in Cochin.
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