My internet time expires in 15 minutes, so I’ve got to make this fast…
Pondicherry continues to please me. The French colonial style is soothing, as are the tree-lined streets, the constant crash of waves against rock, and that brilliant reddish moon that hovers over this quiet berg every night. And at night the town comes alive.
This is one aspect of Indian life of which I really approve: everyone –entire families– is out until 11:pm. The heat of the day is so overpowering that the cool of night is reserved for social family time. Couples straggle along the giant statue of Gandhi by the beach. Little boys clean their after-dinner dishes in the alleyways under moonlight, giggling and scurrying all the way. Some old men take to drinking.
Speaking of the surf, today I met the owner of our hotel. He’s a 30-something local who has been working for Nortel in Paris and Ottawa, and so is a successful young professional –the new generation of Indians. He tells us that in his youth, there was more beach. Global warming has pushed the water up against the city walls. By some miracle, this city was saved the ravages of the 2004 tsunami. But the fear of water, I gather, lingers in all of coastal Tamil Nadu. In fact, in Chennai we saw a little boy pulling a home-made sledge of some kind, muttering to himself, “tsunami, tsunami!” We don’t know what he was doing, but we’re pretty sure the word did not exist in the local lexicon until that fateful day in 2004.
Tomorrow morning we head to Auroville. Google it to know what I’m talking about. It’s sure to be fascinating.