Oui, Oui, Pondicherry

Ahh, the magic of pharmacological science. I popped a gravol pill and survived a four hour bus ride (on an Indian intra-state bus!) from Chennai to Pondicherry. And I’m glad I did. So far, Pondicherry is the closest thing to a Utopian city in India I’ve yet seen.

The city is completely booked up, so we frantically called around town and managed to secure a high-priced room in the Hotel de Pondicherry, a magnificiently cozy chalet-style inn complete with tropical garden. No TV here, so I won’t be able to keep up with my Bollywood music videos…

….which brings me to the uniqueness of this city. Therer are no movie posters about. Minimal traffic and pollution. The people are friendly, yet the touts and rickshaw drivers leave you alone. There is nothing in this city that says “Indian city”.

Most importantly, this is a coastal town with a ravishing seaside. This evening, A. and I took a walk along the beach road and were stunned to see the full mon rising over the ocean horizon. It was touched with red, incandescent, and hung in the sky like a dangling jewel. It was truly a breathtaking sight, and we struggled for words to describe it.

Pondicherry is a former French colony, and French influence can be seen in the place names, architecture, the few Catholic cathedrals and the city plan in general. Again, my French is proving useful here as we encounter several French-speaking tourists and locals.

Soon I will visit Auroville, a planned community of state-less individuals. That promises to be quite a story…