About me

Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie..

Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... Love reading books- sometimes i read 3books simultaneously, crazy about music- need it all around me, all the time and ofcourse, i totally am ga ga goo goo over my 7yr old naughty brat- Floppy!! errr, Prince Floppy!! :)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A day in Pondicherry with Me- 3- The Museum

A day in Pondicherry with Me- 1

A day in Pondicherry with Me- 2

I was done at Le cafe and wandered about the town, first heading to Bharathi Park where I spent some time gazing at the Aayi Mandapam and of course people watching for a while. There was a cute    couple [spoke in French] who sat near me on the bench, and within minutes I could see people walk by slow down near them just to stop and oggle at them. All these two were doing was lost in each other, the guy was lying on the girl's lap and that was that.. Infact few yards down the bench was an Indian couple doing the exact same thing, but that dint catch anyone's eye... grrr.. 

Meanwhile, I heard some ruckus outside. There had been a human chain of sorts at the beach while I was at Le cafe, they had moved to the Governor's office and was standing in a large group shouting something. When I enquired with an auto driver, he said it was to do with changes in transport tax rules or some such. He suggested I walk down the road adjacent to the office to get around this group. 

That is when I decided to go check out the Pondicherry Museum. I have seen it many times before, but this was the 1st time I was going inside. You will find bronze idols, temple lamps, handicraft pieces from the Chola, Vijaynagara and Nayaka periods, weapons and armour from the bygone era, shards of Arretine and Roulletted ware, burial urns, glass beads, coins, snail shells, canon balls, many of which were excavated from regions around. 

Apart from these, you will find documents, journals, books that were from the 1800s as well.  The museum is quite extensive, one can learn about the French colonial era to Arikamedu Roman settled related information here. There is another floor  filled with many other artefacts, furniture and vintage pieces as well. The entry fee is just Rs10. 

And here is where after wandering through the sections showcasing the various coins, weapons, clothes from the bygone era I stumbled upon something interesting, slightly weird but it did get my attention...  

I have often wondered if there were differences between the traditions followed 100-1000 years ago to what we do today.. esp with respect to old people, and death.  What were the rituals related to death like, where they cremated or buried, etc... Today I know it is cremation, atleast in Hindus followed by 15days of elaborate rituals... Here at the museum, I saw huge urns with "Mudhumakkal Thazhi  and Burial urns" written on the labels.   I was zapped. I stood there reading the write up for a few minutes before I moved on... 

Infact, I was zapped that after I left the museum  I was haunted by what I saw and I googled to read up on the same... Apparently back in the days, if someone was very old/frail, they would be taken to a secluded little hut of sorts [built exclusively for them] where they would be left to spend their last days. A woman from the household would take over food and water for them. There would be a small lamp in the space which would be lit by the same woman. This is followed till the person dies and that is when the family would make this urn, place them in the seating position inside the same along with a few of their belongings [almost like the Egyptians do with the Mummy]. The urn would then be buried in a hole in the ground, covered with a stone slab making sure scavengers did not attack the body. They also had a tombstone of sorts erected on top so people could identifyy the spot.

Another website mentioned there were places where urns had been piled atop each other, maybe an entire family or at times the servant and pets were buried alive when their rich owner died. There is another rumour that old frail people were placed inside these urns alive during their last days, and they would literally suffocate to their death... :/ 

A video on these urns from Youtube: Phenomenal Travel Videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij5RnUC6G1c

Let me go catch my breath....wait up...

Monday, January 16, 2017

A day in Pondicherry with Me- 2

The first part can be found here

So, I spent about an hour & a half to two hours at Le cafe, enjoying my coffee and reading the book. One other thing I love doing when on my own is "people watch". Just look around, observe others in the same setting, and wonder what they were thinking based on their expressions/body language. It is most fun at an airport or railway station. 

This morning, I noticed there were quite a few families who came and left. I also heard some loud cackle of sorts coming from down the corridor. It was a group of foreigners with a guide [Indian looking] and he was literally announcing the dish he had in his hand and offered it to whoever raised their hand ..

It went something like this [except it was in French.. yes yes I understand basic french and so knew what he was saying]

"Toast with masala omelette and orange juice"..
"English breakfast- fruits, oats and toast"
"Toast with omelette made with just egg whites and coffee"
"Muesli with  yoghurt and coffee"

And few minutes later, I spotted him standing near me, point to the restroom as the ladies walked down. He looked at me and asked the usual questions 

He: Where are you from?
Me: Am from Chennai 
He: Ah, okay, I thought you were from outside the country... 
Me :"Smiles" with a *just let me be* effect that obviously had no effect.
He: Do you want to do anything touristy? I can tell you a list of places... 
Me: Nah, have been here way too many times. Today is just to chill and wander about.
He: Ah nice. Which part of Chennai btw?
Me: You familiar with the city?
He: Yes, been there, but don't like it too much. Very hot.
Me: hmmm.. *Returns to the book*
He: Am from Gingee. Me and my friends used to frequent Pondy on weekends. I found this French lady and began going around with her, she then asked me to come to France and marry her. 
Me: *gaping with a is this for real* expression
He : *oblivious to my expression* Yes, it is true. I went with her, we got married and now we live there. I spend about 2 weeks there, find tourists who are keen on travelling around South India and bring them here for 2 weeks. I go back, and do the same again. It is good life I tell you.
One other friend settled with an American lady and two others still roaming around [useless fellows]  
Me: Wow, nice! 
He: I dont do North India, don't like it. I take these people around Pondy, Auroville, Kerala, Karaikudi, Tanjore and we fly out. This group is full of 50-60yr olds, so it is simple, no places that involve too much walking. 
Ok, I am going now. you have fun
Me: Bye *yayy, he is gone. yabadabadooo*

While it was interesting chatting with this guy, it got me thinking. Why do people have this constant need to talk, connect and feel the need to share more than just a hi hello? 

I do enjoy the occasional chit chat with strangers but I wouldn't go on and on. Also, you don't know what the other person is going through or what state of mind they are in. 

I wish people would learn to practice constraint when it comes to talking to strangers..  Ah, I was finally able to get back to my book, Ordered another cup of coffee and looked forward to a few minutes of peace and quiet... 

And few minutes later, I heard the clang clang , when I looked up I spotted this gypsy guy selling beads, neck pieces .. He kept walking up and down the stretch of the cafe trying to lure the women who were seated there. A lady in the table next to mine [Sounded like Marwaris or Gujaratis] asked him the price of a blue bead necklace and he quoted "Rs400".. Whoa, talk about pricing your products... :O She immediately began bargaining, asking him to sell it for Rs150. He said no way and walked on... 

After about an hour, I decided to step out and wander a bit. I knew all roads were interconnected, and so pulled on my backpack and began walking down the road opp the cafe. I came upon a building on the right side that had no sign board and had me curious. It looked like an office of sorts, but I have no clues. 

Have you had such experiences? Do share em... 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A day in Pondicherry with Me- 1

"I learnt how to read directions, I learnt how to let go and trust a stranger, I learnt about my strengths and weakness, I enjoyed the adrenalin rush on achieving a task, I learnt to deal with myself, above all I learnt to enjoy my own company...  ~ Me "

I had been itching to pack my backpack and go somewhere, if only for a day or so. But I did not see any windows open. And then came the opportunity. My uncle who was visiting from Delhi announced he was gonna do a trip to Pondicherry. Well, that was all the nudge I needed. Told him I was gonna come along. Off I went, with no agenda, no objective in mind but to spend a day by myself in the French town. When I announced my decision, my uncle said "sure, come along", others were curious as to why I was heading away, that too on my own. Gramma asked if my friend was alright [ I have a dear friend who lives in Pondy]. I told them all I was just going away for the heck of it... no other reason~ 

This was not a new destination, nor was it some place I had been dying to go to, but it was one of those places where I felt at peace, felt good and was happy to just wander or sit at a cafe reading a book. Which is exactly what I did.  It is where I have quite a few fond memories, of past trips with friends or when I travelled alone [catching up with the friend who lives there for a quick bite or chat near the ocean] 

We reached Pondicherry around 8.45, I got off near the Gandhi Statue in White Town and that was where my day began. I walked along the ocean for a while, clicking pictures, observing the many pairs of busy feet out on their morning walk, dogs snuggled up in the sand and the string of couples sitting on the rocks lost in their own world.

In about an hour, I could hear my stomach rumble, signalling it was time for breakfast. But I wasn't done with the ocean yet, and so I headed to the restaurant on the ocean front- Le Cafe, grabbed a table on the outside and settled in. I ordered a Masala omelette, cup of coffee and pulled out the novel I had brought along. 

Few minutes in and I spotted a crow slowly make its way towards my table. I shooed it away a couple of times, but it kept coming back. Thinking it was hungry, I offered piece of bread. But no, it had other ideas. it wanted omelette. Oh yes, I kid you not. 

Infact, two men had borrowed chairs from my table so they could sit and sip their coffee/tea. They tried shooing the crow away as well, but no way, it had made up its mind and demanded a good breakfast. I gave in  and offered it some omelette which it grabbed from the table and flew away. 

One of the men [ remember the guys who borrowed chairs, follow on will you...hmpfh] commented that the crow must be a regular at this cafe. And then proceeded to initiate a conversation.. Here's how it went.

Man1: Are you a tourist? 
Me: err, not really.
Man1: Oh you live here?
Me: Nope, am just visiting
Man1 : Oh where all are you going today?
Me: No plans really, just wander about.
Man2: We are from Hyderabad, with our families and little children. Do you have any suggestions on where we can go? Our cab driver is pathetic, does not know anything. 
Me: You can visit the park, the ashram, temple, museum, library, drive down to Auroville. 
Man 2: How about food, you get good food here?
Me: Oh yes, some lovely stuff. 
Man1 : You are vegetarian or non veg? 
Me: I am vegetarian, but I eat egg
Man 1 : Oh good, good, nothing wrong. Any good vegetarian hotels? 
Me: Cafe Xtasi's wood oven fired pizzas were really good, Surguru if you want south indian food, pasta bar veneto for pasta, baker street for baked goods[ just check on what contains egg when you buy from there in case you don't eat egg]and zuka for chocolates and chocolate based desserts/drinks.
Man 2 : So much here.. We have no idea.  Thanks
Me : Smiles and gets back to my book 
[about half hour later]
Man 1 & 2 : Bye ..You have a good time!
Me: Have a good trip.

I was happy to get back to my coffee and book - Nur Jahan's Daughter and be lost in the world of Nur Jahan , the story of her daughter Laadli and the events that happened around them.... 

To be continued...