Alas! being happily married,juggling job and home responsibilities with two school going hyperactive kids and a jampacked schedule is enough to subside even the most intense of wanderlust spark in me! and it becomes ..... ' wanderlust' *conditions applied.
Unfazed and undeterred I manage out as much as possible and visiting Pondicherry was one such opportunity,a good stroke of luck in my favour.
From the time we shifted to Bangalore , we were trying to go to this tiny place tucked cosily in the east coastal region of TamilNadu, India.
Instead we visited Kodiakanal and Kanyakumari but due to this reason or other the trip to Pondy was not materializing so, one can understand my happiness when on a fine day my husband dropped tickets for Pondy in my lap as our marrige anniversary gift !
The moment I realized that we are going ...It was bliss!
With only two days to go it was lots of work from packing bags to washing laundry and leaving the house spotless clean so on coming back we all can just crash...and being a true wanderer I LOO..VE every bit of it :)
So, on the eve of 26th of june we started from Bangalore by A.C. sleeper bus,my favourite mode of travelling -economic and fun.
|Me and Ani in Bus|
Despite of so many options for travelling I prefer bus for long journeys and bicycles and kinetics for short distances ,within a city. I completely abhor planes for not letting me enjoy the journey.They simply throw you to your destination eliminating the joy and thrill of the journey. Air ways for me are strictly business or emergency.
With this extra dose of info lets not steer away from our narrative and continue the journey.
Vibhor had booked one upper and one lower berth but after boarding all four of us liked the upper berth so we crammed ourselves there with me and Pihu in one direction and Anindy and he sat facing us.As soon as we settled down by adjusting my purse-cum-whole family's bag and water bottle, it started raining outside and Pihu got hungry. Hubby dear rushed out in the torrent and returned with typical Bangalore style steaming dosa -idli,coconut chutney and bada-sambhar for all.
and while he was handing us food, the bus started with the usual Indian ishtyle jolt sending Vibhor crashing on three of us!
By the grace of God sambhar was not spilled and after a moment of shock we laughed as half drenched Vibhor spattered water from his hair on three of us. The kids laughed and for me, the joy of journey had started.
Next day we reached Pondy in early hours when the dusk was still breaking. The kids were still sleeping.I came down from my berth to look outside from the lower seat.We were on the outskirts of the city. Due to wee hours all was calm and clean.By the time bus entered deep in the city its around 6 am and I saw the first french connection with the policemen wearing bright red Kepis .
Though there are evidences of the presence of flourishing Pallava, Chola and the Vijayanagar empires near and in the city , as of now ,it is the french connection of Pondy which makes it distinct in a traveller's mind. During the Roman empire Pondicherry was the port through which India used to export spices and silks.In the 16th century Portuguese arrived followed by Danes and finally the French.
Later in 17th and 18 th century it fell in the hands of British and battles were fought between French and the British for the dominance over the port city.however around 1950's the French voluntarily gave the city to India and it became a union territory with four coastal regions namely-Pondicherry karaikal (in the east coast in Tmil Nadu) Yanam (in Andhra Pradesh) and mahe (in west coast in Kerela) making it a peculiar case for jurisdiction!
When bus stopped,I came to the present .Kids were still sleepy and we entered in our hotel with bags and one heavily sleepy kid each on our backs!
|Anindy preferred the couch|
|Curios which caused the fight in my kids!|
|Pihu settled for the carpet|
|Pihu in Auto for Boat House|
In this way we entered the lift and crashed in the room by ending the first part of the kid-battle.After another hour's rest,refreshment and a hearty breakfast kids were wide awake and ready to roar on the Pondy beaches.
With a Pondy map in hand we headed for the chunnambar boat house by an auto . the boat house is 8km away from the main city on the Cuddalore main road and it is big and has a recreation area with refreshment stalls, large aquariums with colourful fish, swings and an artificial climbing wall for kids.
It was little far from the elevated place where I stood and I could see Vibhor and Anindy waving from there. I rushed.. to stop Pihu who was running rather tumbling as if drawn by a magnet towards the sea! It was hard to change her clothes with water crashing so near her. She jumped in it and as usual, instead of thrill , calm was there in her countenance ;because she was in her element - a mermaid in water!
She sat and let herself being swayed and tossed and turned by the salt water. She was in Heaven.
Painting on wallsAnindy with his father enjoyed in the way only they can enjoy..by running and playing in the waves. Always some activity .
I was mesmerised by the scene as the sea was playful yet calm. Looking towards the horizon the
sea was like a vast aqua blue turquoise sheet on the earth billowing with occasional ripples. However the shore line was a hub of activity with crashing waves and white surf. A perfect place to relax and unwind it was truly Paradise Beach- Plage Paradiso.
On our way back kids enjoyed the swings and other things that the boat house area had to offer. Both of them scaled the full height of the wall with Anindy getting sweaty hands near the summit and Pihu simply lost interest midway (foolish she thought perhaps. what are silent rocks to a bubbling water creature I guess?)
|Old pondy picture|
|Aayi Mandapam is in this Park|
From there we found ourselves on the famous Serenity Beach or the Rock Beach as its a long rocky shoreline. Some of the bloodiest Anglo-French battles were fought on these sands. Today, however, this beach is ideal for a lazy stroll or one can simply sit here on the parapet by the sea or on one of the rocks and gaze out at the rolling waves or at boats and ships looking like black and red dots on the horizon .Pihu instead chose to enjoy the sea-spray standing on a rock with his papa for the longest time.
|From the roof of cafeteria|
|Pihu climbing to reach the MG statue|
Goubert avenue was a lovely place to visit in the evenings as it was well-lit ,serene and is surrounded by the notes of music coming from a local youth band playing in a sea side cafeteria. The cafeteria itself boasted of old sepia pictures of Pondy and its various Boulevards of the french and British era.
After savouring hot coffee and breaking French bread there we strolled leisurely on the pavement, listening to the crashing waves and feeling the gathering twilight .
This was how our maiden day in Pondy ended....with calm and serenity.