Riding down memory lane, my first trip to Pondicherry in 2013!

2020 seems long & short – both at the same time. Long because it feels like an eternity since I have been home-bound, since I have planned cafe dates with my friends, since I have taken a flight out somewhere. And short, because it’s October already. Durga Pujo is just around the corner, and in less a month, we would be celebrating Diwali. 2020 came with a bang and in another couple of months, this year would be over. We felt a whole range of emotions this year, rediscovered our hobbies, and came to value our relationships. Back then, it was getting way too easier to plan trips, pack bags and leave for beaches, hills & ancient India that’s still alive inside the palaces, forts and caves all over the country.

I am quite hopeful that travel is going to resume pretty soon, the way we have known it, the way we have lived it. And till I plan my next trip, I am going to share the experiences of the amazing trips that I have had over the last five-seven years.

Today, I am going to talk about my visit to Pondicherry back in 2013. It’s a special trip because I planned it four months in advance, and saved a fixed portion from my salary every month, while proudly defaulting on my education loan EMI. Just a week before the trip, a big launch was planned at work, and I have been working towards making that happen. Everything was happening like clock work, and I happily reached Puducherry with a bag full of amazing clothes and a heart full of desires. By the way, do you know how I thought of ‘Pondicherry’ of all the places?

Take a guess!

My love for travelling is not exclusive. I share it with Chai, Cafes, Movies, Music & Books. In 2012, I had watched ‘Life of Pi’ and my ever-favourite Irrfan Khan as Piscine Patel in ‘Life of Pi’. There’s this two-second scene in the movie where there were girls cycling around in the background, like they are having the time of their lives. It stuck with me. Even today, I remember it like I saw it a while back.

So, Pondicherry! Did I tell you that the only sport I have been really good at, in childhood, was cycling? Yeah, I know it’s not really a sport unless you are doing it really slow or really fast. I couldn’t do it really slow because I had this fear of falling down and making a mockery of myself & nobody would let me cycle too fast because let’s face it, I grew up in Ghaziabad. And those who grow up in Ghaziabad like to be around people at all times, for safety reasons.

So, I reached Pondicherry, waited for a while, looked around, waited a bit more, kept checking out the shops selling gajras, chakli, more gajras, and that was all I could see around me. I had spent four months’ of savings on this place and there were no cycles. Not even one. But hey, there were beaches, and I was coming from Ghaziabad. So, beaches = party! And somebody had told me about this cool place that had the most amazing food; it’s called Auroville. I could still explore a lot. So what if there were no cycles.

This happiness didn’t last long because I was too early for Auroville. I was in search for chaos, noise and mistakes in my life; I haven’t had enough of those. I wanted to be a semi-wild, acceptably crazy person. And Auroville turned out to be the exact opposite of what I wanted. Auroville sold peace, calm and composure which unsettled me to the core. And hence, I got out of that place as fast as I came.

Also read: How should you spend time in Auroville if you don’t meditate?

Route to Matri Mandir

I spent the next day in Paradise beach which turned out to be cool, because I got some really nice pictures clicked that day. I spotted some crows both at Paradise and Rock beaches, that evolved into ducks, swans and sea-gulls when I shared my Pondicherry travel tales with people at work. 😉 What? Haven’t heard about Creative Freedom? 😀

Also read: Bonjour! Beaches of the French Colony of India – Pondicherry!

The only thing that I loved about the place was Baker street. I explored a few places rated highly on TripAdvisor & kept Baker Street for the end. I ordered a cheese quiche, a cappuchino and a blueberry muffin. And sat comfortably in a corner. There was a group of 8 people sitting in front of me. Yes, I counted. Some of them were dressed in loose kurtas with their jholas wrapped around the chairs. All 8 of them had their own coffees but shared one big pizza amidst them. They were discussing something that I couldn’t hear properly because I was paying a lot of attention to make it look like I am a pro at eating quiche. But I would like to believe that they were discussing literature & art.

In my mind, they were artists who were trying to challenge the societal norms, break the mental constraints that we all have, bust the stereotypes that we have to fight, and end the habit of cracking insensitive jokes at the expense of someone’s self-esteem. I liked them, and decided that one day, I will have a group of my own & we will visit such cafes and talk about stuff that REALLY MATTERS!

The only difference would be that I will order a Chai instead of a Coffee, and my pizza will be my pizza. Because this girl who is really good at riding a bicycle doesn’t share her chai or pizzas.

Note – Pondicherry is a place full of surprises, good food and a lot of rich heritage & culture. In no way, I mean any disrespect to Auroville or any of the places. And I am definitely travelling to Puducherry again as soon as I get the chance.

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