Sunday, January 14, 2007


When I was younger and we traveled as a family, my father at some point on each trip would say "This is it - this is where I'm going to retire." Penang, New Zealand's North Island, Perth, etc. etc. All told, Dad must have chosen 20+ retirement spots (the irony, of course, being that he is retired now. And living in the same Northern VA house my parents have lived in for over twenty years.)

I have found my first retirement spot. I absolutely *loved* Pondicherry! It is split into two parts: the Tamil side, and the French side, with street names appropriate to each. (I imagine some "West Side Story"-esque song and dance sequences, but one can only hope.) I stayed in a cute little guest house on the French side (on Rue Francois Martin - oddly cedille-less.) The French side of town is all louvered windows, whitewashed balconies and pastel-coloured houses. In typical French style, the names of the streets are on

I went to Auroville, the Sri Aurobindo ashram just outside Pondicherry. Oddly, it reminded me of Sedona - different topography, weather, etc., but the same red earth and the same peaceful, calming energy. The Matri Mandir is oddly .... "Star Trek" (and, yes, I mean the old skool one.) Walking around the grounds is like a South Indian botany class - tamarind, cocoa, mango, etc.

For breakfast, I had a croissant, for lunch - Indo-French (Franco-Indian?) As much as I love South Indian food, it's nice to get a break from it. (If I see another vada staring at me in the morning, I may scream.) I went for a walk along the water, stopping to admire the Gandhi memorial. (As a sidenote: guys here are L.A.M.E. - but this is a surprise to no one.) I had my fortune told, not something I would have chosen to do - but the person I was with had hers done, and wanted me to get mine done as well. The person was uncannily accurate (ex. that I'm a lawyer, that I have two younger brothers), and also hit some ... obvious notes (ex. I will have a "love" marriage - I'm not married at 32, arranged is looking ... unlikely. Frankly, I'm not so into the 'marriage' idea at all, but that is a post for another time.) Apparently, people will take the things I say the wrong way for the next three months. Beautiful. (And different how, exactly?)

I think Pondicherry fits with other cities I have loved: it is on the smallish side - not so small that it's boring, not so big that you can't explore it on foot and take its pulse in a day or two. I will definitely be back.


And with that, we take you back to our regularly scheduled broadcast. I am back in the US and will be once again boring you with the minutiae of my life.


cookiemonsta said...

ooh i loved your india trip entries =) I can't wait to visit pondicherry. i am glad you enjoyed yourself!

the pundit said...

I visit pondy every trip to India - so much so, that I own a house just 4 blocks from the Ashram. Needless to say, I absolutely love it! Just a quiet, quaint town. I'm glad someone else from the US could enjoy it too.