How's my Luck now?

Reflections, views and descriptions during my stay at IIM Lucknow from July 2004 to March 2006

Location: India

Monday, April 25, 2005

To Pondicherry - I

Yesterday, seven of us went on a day's trip to Pondicherry. We caught an East Coast Road bus from Chennai's Koyambedu CMBT (Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus) at 6.45am. This bus terminus is huge and resembles an airport more than a bus depot (it even has luggage trolleys similar to those at airports).

Having begun well, we were in for a rough ride almost throughout the day. We were going to be able to view the sea all along the East Coast Road, running parallel to it. But the bus was so crowded, with people standing, that such a view could not be obtained. Anyway, at least the road was excellent. After stopping at numerous points, we finally reached in 3-odd hours.
Tempos were waiting for passengers outside the Pondicherry bus depot, and we caught one (as usual, after haggling). The first place we went to was the Aurobindo Ashram, located in the French Quarter (my name). This is a large locality with very similar box-type buildings of a similar light blue or cream colour. The Ashram is housed in a white building with Sri Aurobindo's samadhi in the courtyard to the right. The silence inside was total as we walked, single file, around the samadhi. From the courtyard, we entered the building where the Ashram's publication house had displayed Sri Aurobindo's and his followers' works in many different Indian languages, besides English. I also found some Gujarati books there. Not knowing very much about Sri Aurobindo, I wanted to buy a book or two, especially his 'Essays on the Gita', but then finally didn't. Some other time, maybe. We came out of the Ashram from the front door and went round to the back in order to enter the meditation room. But the large crowd already waiting outside the door (albeit, very peacefully) dissuaded us from pursuing meditation any further. The crowd was waiting under a shamiana on Rue Saint Gilles, one of the several French-named streets in the area (others had names like Rue Saint Louis, Rue de la Marine, Goubert Avenue, etc.).

We came back to the front, had some coconut water, and went to the seafront right opposite the Government Secretariat building on Goubert Avenue. This is not a sandfront, but a rockfront, so we just walked along the wall, watching the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal.

Now we wanted to go to a boathouse on a lake created from backwaters. After haggling for quite long with two auto-wallahs, we stuffed ourselves in their vehicles and reached the Chunnambur Water Sports Complex (a big exaggeration, if ever there was one). There were only a few terrestrial equipment for little children, and some boats, besides a restaurant. We hired a couple of pedalled boats and enjoyed boating on the lake for a leisurely half-hour. Before that, we had completed lunch at the Sea Gulls restaurant in which about 2% of the items of the multi-page menu were available. The next place on our list was Auroville, the township located away from Pondicherry city.


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