This one goes out to Pondicherry

When I mention Pondicherry, the wife rolls her eyes in the classic “not again!” expression. With good reason. I can’t stop bitching about our trip. A total disaster. Maybe this post will be the end of it.

It could’ve been the fact that I expected too much. An image seared into my mind was of lying wasted on the beach drinking beer. (I can’t not go when someone tells me this.)

I will divide this saga into parts so that people who relate may laugh-ter each section and come back with renewed vigor. Those who get offended can blow off some steam before starting the next section. Those who don’t find it funny, the sections don’t matter, you may skim to the end.

The Journey

We set out with family friends, which was the only saving grace of the trip because we all suffered together and that made it funny as hell. The drive was pleasant enough but the suffering started in Chennai when contrary to all known facts we ate the worst idli-sambar ever for lunch. That set the tone for the drive to Puducherry. Dusk fell, roads diverged, directions weren’t sought (the men were driving) and traffic was hellish. As we approached our destination I spied a traffic cop wearing a hat that looked like it came from a Gendarme. I wasn’t wrong. Such pretentious bullshit! I thought the cowboy hats policemen in Bangalore wore were funny, but this topped it literally.

We chose a homestay inside the city. Ridiculously expensive so I expected something decent. Getting to it was the first issue. People are generally bad at providing directions. We are generally bad at receiving them. Compound that with two frazzled drivers, late night, language problems and a mind-bogglingly unhelpful caretaker on the phone who insisted the house was where it wasn’t. We knew because we’d been doing pradakshanas around that area for an hour and the best we’d come up with was a slum and a pan-shop.

A passing foreigner – Frenchman to boot – offered correct directions and we finally reached at 11pm – over 12 hours since we started from Bangalore. To be fair, the house was wonderful. Old, full of books, well-maintained and the lady who owned it was pleasant enough. But the caretakers were other-worldly. I kept the door locked lest they burst in with knives to slit our throats.

The First Breakfast

The next morning we awoke famished and head to the kitchen for the much vaunted “Made-to-order breakfast”. The table was set invitingly and had fresh glasses of OJ, a basket of hot croissants and another with baguettes. We took our seats and the cook brought us heaps of butter. Delighted, wife and I took a croissant each, slathered it with butter and started eating. There were two more croissants left but we decided to pass in favor of other options (this fact is important and you’ll see why). I summoned the cook and said “Please prepare my omelet with two eggs and cheese”. Silence.  Amazement even. I thought it was a language issue so I backtracked and asked “English?”. She replied “Tamil or French”. What the FUCK? After much gesticulation and breaking of eggs I finally conveyed my wish. The reply was superb: “This all you get. Continental Breakfast. French”. Stop. Dogs and Indians Not Allowed. Stop. I was aghast. So what was all this “made-to-order” business? “You choose juice. Watermelon, Orange”. Gobsmacked. I could’ve hit her. Absolutely willing to kick me when I was down she fired a parting shot: “No more bread. One for each of you” she said referring to the hot, soft croissants. And she left. Good decision on our part not to touch the other two croissants. That would’ve made our traveling companions (who hadn’t woken up yet) very croissant indeed.

A short while later our friends emerged from their room, fresh, scrubbed, looking eager and victorious. The guy clapped his hands together Punjabi-style in anticipation of the feast awaiting him and yelled “Aur bata yaar! Kya khaaein?”. I told him. The rest is history.

Pondicherry – the shitty itself

Still famished and in an utterly crapped mood we set out to explore our environment. The ladies wanted to “shop for local handicrafts”, something I couldn’t stand those days so we let them get to it while we searched vantage points for beer-drinkage. There were promising words like “Promenade” and “Rue de la something” all over so we tried our best to have a French Riviera kind of time and went searching for the beach. As we neared the Promenade, we noticed a firang strolling in a bikini. Promising. Then we saw the Promenade. A wall separated us from the sea. Beyond the wall were stones that couples in Mumbai use as a backdrop for getting-it-on at Marine Drive and there was no sand in sight for miles. The road had benches though. Slightly disappointed by this we cheered up at the prospect of cheap and plentiful liquor. We drove to the shop and demanded our rightful quota of Kingfisher, extra strong. “Light not there. Beer hot”. We weren’t from England so that hurt. We meekly accepted four cans of the warm brew, and determined to have a good time, went back to the benches at the Promenade and looked around for a place to sit. Eager to emulate those visions of “chilling” I decided to kick back on the sidewalk. A passing policeman stared at me and shook his head. Forlon, I sought the nearest bench and we shpritzed open our cans. The bastards were even bigger killjoys than the Promenade. No froth, no zing, tasteless and as flat as Keira Knightley. From the corner of my eye I could see a hideous statue of Mahatma Gandhi. I had a total English, August moment. Those who’ve read the book will know what I mean. Gandhi seemed to be grinning at us. Mocking our pathetic attempt to chill out.

Hopes smashed we drove back to find the ladies. They were doing OK. Lots of leather and crafts and hippie-junk around. Since we were in the middle of the city, good food somehow seemed scarce, so we went to a local food court and ate some atrociously priced, shit-laden hotdogs and burgers. The only bright-spot was the fact that the joint was owned by that girl Ayesha (from Black) and she was at the table with us. Fuckity whoo!

The Dinner

By now totally desperate to have SOME semblance of a good time we decided to have a meal at “The Promenade”! Pondicherry’s only Five Star Hotel! Views of the sea! (exclamation marks mine). The hotel was owned and operated by Hidesign and that became apparent in the elevator which was lined with foul-smelling leather. Freshly-killed fare possibly. They had a rooftop restaurant. Yay. The place had mood-lighting, making it impossible to navigate in the night. Some tired, atrociously-dressed Mumbai PYTs were lounging at a couple of tables. The guys had their shirts open to their navels, wore chains and had gelled hair that kept it stuck to their necks. Andheri. Maybe Pali Hill. I can never tell.

Once seated, we ordered drinks and food. First shocker. Everything was vegetarian. Second shocker. Everything was tasteless. It had no spice, no salt. We called the waitress and politely (as much as our growing hunger and impatience would allow) requested her to re-spice everything. Two things returned from the kitchen. Our food and the waitress. One of them was salty. She told us the chef said “this is how the French cook it”. I checked the menu. It said Tofu Salad. Which motherfucking Frenchman eats tofu salad? What was wrong with a little salt in our tofu? I mean I had GANDHI staring at us 20 feet below. He’d whack her with his Dandi if he knew what was going on.

To cut a long story short, we skipped to dessert. By the good graces of Hindustan Unilever, we enjoyed some unspoiled Walls ice-cream, pulled many banknotes through our noses, feebly complained to the restaurant manager and left.

On the way back we saw a grocery store. The poor chap was about to close for the night. Bread was purloined along with a few sad-looking tomoatos. Pondicherry had got to them too. We went back to our rooms, avoided the Vampirish caretakers and feasted on good old butter-tomato sandwiches. Bliss.

Ab Auro Kya?

Day 2 entailed a visit to the must-visit Auroville. It was during the drive that I noticed beaches. Ah of course! The beaches must be OUTSIDE a city which borders the sea no? The ashram was bleh. The instances of “Auro” Auround the ashram were fascinating. We started building imaginary Auro-businesses just to amuse ourselves. The drive was long and rather pleasant. Predictably the density of hippied foreigners per square foot kept increasing as we neared the ashram.

The temple of the Ma or whatever was closed that day. More bleh. After much unnecessary sunbathing we turned back. Oh wait, food. A recurring theme. I don’t remember what he had that day. Something tasteless and insignificant.

Home Sweet Home. Ah wait, not just yet

That was enough. The next morning we wanted to quickly pay our quart of blood to the caretakers and vanish but the owner insisted on chatting us up. She also understood only French and Tamil so most of those 15 minutes were spent in increasingly irritating gesticulation that attempted to convey much gratitude for letting us live and return home safely.

We stopped for breakfast at a “Cafe” by the Promenade (again….gluttons for punishment no?). It felt like we were in France. Non-French in France that is. We were ignored, the table was set 10 minutes after we took our positions and the menu was, of course, overpriced. The heat was stifling and it was showing on our faces. One of the “Ramus” took pity on us and switched on the air-conditioning. We ordered the Big Lebowski. Everything they had starting with cornflakes. 10 minutes gone, no sign of cornflakes. Two battered toasts hit our tables at some point during the wait but they were definitely past their sell-by date and remained ignored. Finally me and my friend got up, went to the counter and started preparing our cornflakes ourselves. Suddenly the Gallic universe was upended and out came the proprieter wearing a lungi and apologizing profusely. They served the rest of the fuck-all breakfast on-time. A foreigner entered during this show and occupied one of the tables. Two minutes later the AC was fuller-blast and the soft strains of Kenny G floated mellifluously from tastefully hidden speakers. That kinda summed up the whole experience for us.

Indians Go Home

I’ve never driven faster or happier back home from anywhere. The first thing we did after opening the door was to prepare some rice, waran (Maharashtrians rejoice, I know my roots), mix the two with ghee and a dash of lemon and salt. We hadn’t uttered a word since we came home and the next word out of everyone’s mouths was “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah”.

In my opinion the Indian Govt has two options: Let the Indian Army invade the place and set their mental polarities right. Or request the French Govt to provide French passports and get them the fuck out of India.

There. I’ve said it. It was cathartic.

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37 responses to “This one goes out to Pondicherry”

  1. beekay says :

    Its not for you guys!

    I’ve been born and brought up in Pdy. Let me tell you this… During late 70s or early 80s it used to be a quasi-town… a well planned town adjoined with villages those were ever green and under cultivation.

    Over a period of time I could see people from all walks of life and from every part of the country invading (settling) and take it apart. The reason being steady electricity, water and the Union Territory Status, which made the cost of living cheaper.If my memory serves me correctly, then, in 1991 population census, the head count was below 200,000. After a decade it rose to about 1000,000.

    And the new comers had no sense of belonging nor civic sense!

    With that kind of population , what do you expect? As on date, it one of the most raped towns in India…

  2. disgruntledPondicherrian says :

    I’ve tried in vain to get off this mailing list…:|
    In spite of NOT checking the “Notify me…” box.

  3. Naveen Reddy says :

    @Daddysan, Though its clear that you had a really bad time, I still didn’t understand what were your expectations of the visit. Like a guy(s)go to Goa or Pondy per say to have lot of booze, laying idle, have a massage
    and may be get lucky with few chicks (firangis or locals, esp. there are lot of russian chicks in Goa) as goals in their mind.

    I have been to Podicherry wid my friends once on Dec 31-Jan1st in 90’s. and from the time we arrived to till the time we left Pondy we had a beer every hour. Beer served to our hotel room, with the fantastic sea food,it was simply great, prawns or fish. And also that night we went to a Year end party in a near by Hotel where we watched average to good looking women dancing and stripping for us, it was some thing exotic for me, untill the time I went to a stripclub in United States after many yrs. The next day we went to Beach near Pondicherry University (I don’t remeber the beach’s name) the sands were so clean and it was so pleasant in the morning to be in the beach wid the lovely view of the sea !!

    I can’t talk about the spirutual side of Pody. Because I know or read very less about Auroville. It was not the actual reason for my trip.

    So in the end let me conclude by saying ” you seem to be big d*ck head or dumb ass” with no clear intentions of why you end up in some place, otherwise who would take their wives to Pody or Goa unless you are a really filthy rich Indian, No other middle class Indian would generally do that, lol LMFAO !!!
    Hey man Pody or Goa are like Las Vegas of India got it !!!

    the second thing you are not a state head or something, so that everything would be arranged for you and so many people are there to take you places etc.

    thirdly, People like you spoil the image of our country, who the f*ck you think you are to ask some one to leave this country, on the contrary we should be appreciating those French people for giving such a well planned good town
    and those people who built “Auroville” to really prove how diverse and strong a country we are spiritually !!!

    Lastly I would like to sincerely apologize to those Podicherrians, who naturally would be hurt because of the rants (esp. last few lines in this blog), Not all we Indians are like that !!!

    PS: I doubt if this comment of mine would be published lol

    • daddysan says :

      I’ll approve it because it’s not often someone makes a bigger ass of themselves than I do in this space.

      Clearly we want different things from life and your very “Hangover 2” existence and perspective is perhaps, not my style anymore.

      Also

      Exhibit 1: “I can’t talk about the spirutual side of Pody. Because I know or read very less about Auroville. It was not the actual reason for my trip. ”

      Exhibit 2: “on the contrary we should be appreciating those French people for giving such a well planned good town
      and those people who built “Auroville” to really prove how diverse and strong a country we are spiritually !!!”

      So in the space of two paragraphs of text you suddenly had an epiphany and realized what Auroville means spiritually? LOL!!! That’s spoken like a true dickhead dumbass!

      Thanks for stopping by.

      • Naveen Reddy says :

        Well I’m not trying prove anything here. When I said “I don’t know about Auroville’s spiritual side that means only “auroville’s spiritual aspect”, doesn’t mean how much spiritually strong or weak I am.

        This clearly shows how your mind works, judging and discriminating people and cultures based on what you can see through your narrow tunnel vision, narrow minded wisdom and opportunistic mentality.

        and in the end one should realize who’s making dumbass of themselves,
        when they suggest /request one of the biggest democratic secular government’s on this planet to through out their fellow citizens.

        God bless ! lol

        • daddysan says :

          Whatever you say, bro. FYI I’ll break the suspense lest you take too long to figure this out, but I was judging you in my reply, not Pondicherry.

          Cheers.

  4. saurabh somani says :

    Hahaha… born, brought up, grew up in Pondicherry. But I still didn’t get ‘offended’ by the post. :)
    Daddy-san, I do hope you make another visit though – and I’d be more than happy to help you have a better experience (trust me it exists – but it of course doesn’t match up to the hype created). It’s the least I can do for all the joy your writing has provided :) Cheers!

  5. snipersap says :

    haha.. liked ur post and more or less could feel ur pain. Agree with Mr. disgruntledPondi that research before visit is definitely a thing to do … but yes, language is a barrier which can definitely mar the visit!!

    Visiting a place where u get differentiated really hurts, Sigh!

    may u have better vacations in future … cheers

  6. vee_mee says :

    really ?You went so far to buy cheap beer? how poor are you
    maybe if your personality was not so sour you might’ve enjoyed those couple days.@ pondy. even tomatoes could look sad to you. wow

    • daddysan says :

      I’m not poor, the attitude of Pondicherry’s denizens is. (#trollface)

      Agree on the sour personality part. Maybe I should’ve achieved self-actualization before hitting Pondicherry.

  7. Chipmunks says :

    Hey there… good one.. i was laughing all the way through… i also enjoyed the communication btw u and disgruntledpolitician.. informative too ! I have had my share of TamilNad expriences so I can help agree with u..
    Just a question ? did u know about some leaf in Pondi that is said to talk about ur “Bhavishya” ? I don’t know if I got that right? It seems its supposed to be really cool; jus wanted to know if u have tried it .. though i dont think so coz if u would have tried there would be a comment saying it was all in french or tamil so u cud not read u own future ;) ciao…

    • daddysan says :

      Hey thanks! Glad you liked the post :)

      ROFL. Yes if I’d read my future all this wouldn’t have happened.

      Yes this is called Naadishastra and its not really in Pudu. I think it is in some ashram on the way there. I hear it is eerily effective and accurate.

  8. Sonali says :

    This was hilarious! Have heard a lot of mixed reviews on Pondi, but this one takes the cake. Can feel your pain..thru all the sarcasm and humour. Was amused to read te varied reactions to your post too.

    • daddysan says :

      Thanks Sonali! Yes, people staying in Pudu wouldn’t have liked this one bit. Like disgruntledPondicherian above. Regardless, I HAD to get this out of my system.

  9. anotherdisgruntledpondicherrian says :

    The best thing would be to know a localite when you go to any place. Whether Pondicherry or Paris. The worst is to expect too much. There is also an extra hype attached to Pondy which is not true. It is just a peaceful place which happened to be on a sea side.

    –Amen :)
    PS: Good read BTW ;)

    • daddysan says :

      Aww cmon, you just summarized my entire rant in a logical and neutral manner. Where’s the fun in that? :)

      But seriously – I agree with what you say. We didn’t know anyone and suffered.

      PS – Thanks for stopping by :)

  10. disgruntledPondicherrian says :

    Booze and the Beach:
    Well, we did have a big sandy beach about 15 years ago, when all of a sudden the sea suddenly decided it would like to get to know us better; Forgive us for not being able to control the sea, even if it’s just a Bay and not a proper sea. Incidentally, if you had done some research (on say, google maybe) or even just driven up and down the coast, you would have discovered that there are a few hidden and not-so-hidden beaches to the north (on the ECR) and to the south (after Ariyankuppam – between pondy and cuddalore) of the main beach. Some of them are even clean actually. I’m sorry we can’t do anything about the fish-stench on the beaches, because, that’s what most fish do – they swim in the sea. Also, if you’d just approached the tourism office on the beach road (down the road from the Gandhi statue) you’d have found that they actually help you out with what to do and where to go there.

    Ashram:
    Pondy is a haven for Yoga and meditation lovers – in my opinion, most visitors from the instant gratification generation could do with a weekend Yoga/meditation session. I am not an Ashramite. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother did not proclaim themselves as god. Those who think the Ashram is bleh need only come to pondy, have your fill of booze and please leave quietly. Pondy is called “Peaceful Pondicherry” because of the Ashram and Auroville. We are a happier, peaceful people than you ever will be. You could take a leaf out of these people’s book, I say.

    Auroville (and associated firangis):
    Most “firangis” in Pondy are as Indian as, if not more than, you and I. They have Indian names, cook Indian food, wear Indian clothes (complete with jasmine flowers and bindis), speak Tamil and /or Hindi and a lot of them were born in Jipmer hospital. Many of them marry Indians – and I don’t mean just the sophisticated, urban ones, I mean people from surrounding villages. Incidentally, the firangis run a lot of workshops/cottage industries in Auroville – stuff that employs the local men and women. Stuff like making candles, agarbathies, baskets, clothes, paper, houses etc – all organic and eco-friendly, mind you. They all live in eco-friendly houses and many are botanists/ naturalists – I once was chased off a farm by a white couple for stomping around on some very rare saplings they were studying/growing. Hard, though it may be to believe, they are not all hippies.
    The schools there don’t follow a prescribed syllabus – the kids are taught hands on – to grow produce and stuff apart from traditional subjects. Labourers/understudies who have worked under aurovillian architects are in demand in Pondy town for their eco-friendly experience. Many of them don’t have a tv and are big on saving electricity and reducing our carbon footprint. Many of them eat in a common canteen called the Solar Kitchen – 3 guesses what it’s powered by.
    The Pondy firangis know more about our history and culture than us and I have been shamed to reading up stuff on many an occasion. I have definitely strengthened my Indian identity because of my firangi (although some of them like to be called Indian!) friends.
    Footnote: Again, please use google or a guidebook to find out the working hours of the Matrimandir before visiting. Or you could have gone the previous day after finding out from the bazillion tourist operators around – although, I believe Providence perceived you were not ready to receive inner peace yet.

    About your trip:
    I have nothing to say to someone who takes 12 hours to get from Bangalore to Pondy by road, except: TCH! And about finding the homestay in the city: Again I have nothing to say to someone who gets lost in Pondy where all the roads in town are laid out in perfect parallel – perpendicular fashion – even a child can get around pondy without directions. By the by, there are such things as maps, you know.

    So what if the cook spoke only Tamil and French?? One is local lingo, the other is the language of our colonizers. Just like English is the language of yours, pal!!
    Actually there were days when people used to visit Pondy to see the auto/rickshaw walas and servant maids talk in a mixture of Tamil-French-Creole. It used to be part of the experience. If you want English, please GO TO GOA! The booze is there and the beaches are apparently better. All the more better for us! Jolly good. Or as we like to say, Bon Jovial!

    It is unfortunate that you had a lousy breakfast at the homestay – I think you went to the only people running a homestay in the central town of Pondicherry – it has not caught up except maybe in the outskirts (ECR). Again, do your research properly. If you want eggs and cheese for breakfast, go to Indian coffee house on Nehru street!

    Le Promenade and food:
    The only people who go to the Promenade Hotel are firangi businessmen (as opposed to Pondy firangis) and the Indian rich and famous wannabes. You may have appreciated the view from the Promenade better at 5-6am when all the walkers, joggers and the yoga / meditation umm… doers… throng the beach. It is news to me that Le Promenade has turned vegetarian, cos I distinctly remember spitting out a chicken samosa thinking it had just aloo. And I agree with the waitress, I’m not a big fan of French food or French bread for the very reason that it is bland and tasteless. Even the Indian food they cook is oh-so-not-spicy. But hey, you wanted the French experience, right? When in Rome, my friend, when in Rome.
    Moral of the story: 1. Don’t get carried away by the schnatzy big expensive hotels. 2. Do some exploring on your feet to experience the real thing. Promenade is not how you experience Pondy, just as the Windsor Manor is not how I would sum up Bangalore or the Leela Kempinski, Mumbai.

    Food has never been an issue in Pondy if you know where to look. I hate saying this as the lady who owns Le Promenade was nice to me (before “Le Blitzkrieg des City People”, everyone knew everyone else in Pondy) but the roadside stuff and the tiny by-lane cafés provide the stuff you’re looking for. The Ashram canteen provides healthy wholesome fare and there’s a restaurant that serves only natural, organic, healthy food. And there are these amazing Chocolate and Ice cream places that visitors throng by the hundreds. Get a guide book, people!

    I’m sorry I wouldn’t know where to get premium booze or grass (visitors are more compulsive drinkers and dope-heads than we are) but my heart truly bleeds for you and your warm zingless beer.

    Your experience at “Le Café” on the beach road, yeah, pretty much sums it all. The food is usually good there when you enter with good karma.

    For your information:
    Until 10-15 years ago, Pondy was a quiet haven for all of us who lived there. All of a sudden, we had over 10,000 people visiting us every weekend – apart from the thousands who have moved here post-retirement. The roads, built to serve pedestrians and cyclists, now thronged by SUVs and tourist buses! Old buildings being torn down – to give way to snazzy (euh!) hotels and shopping complexes.
    The beauty of Pondy lies essentially in not visiting, but living there and experiencing it– not anymore though.

    I believe my “go green” mania stems from me being a Pondicherrian. I’ve lived in Bangalore for the past two years and although my husband works for a big MNC we still don’t own a private vehicle. We walk or use public transport – something I imbibed from my umm…hippie(sic.) friends.

    We like our traffic cops with the Gendarme caps. At least they don’t have a whole facebook page dedicated to hate them as their Mumbaikar counterparts do.

    And seems like you didn’t know that half the people who live there have French passports – ever since we joined India in 1954. We even have our own French consulate. Call them: (0413) 233 41 74 (or) 233 40 58 if you want us to get the fuck out of India and we’ll see how that goes.

    Conclusion:
    I sincerely hope that many, many people read your blog and stop visiting (and ergo, ruining) Pondy it so we can go back to live peacefully ever after.

    PS: Most staunch Pondicherrians like myself would like nothing better than to chase off tourists with a hot iron cattle prod.

    • daddysan says :

      Thanks for the rebuttal. A few clarifications:

      1. Don’t take the roads personally. It’s no fault of yours that we couldn’t find our way. A child who has lived in Pondy will certainly know how to find his or her way around the city. We didn’t.

      2. I, me, myself detested the whole experience. My wife loved Pondicherry. Maybe if my Karma had been better this would’ve turned out differently, right?

      3. Please don’t assume we are silly tourists. We know what it means to walk around a new place and we did that at Pondicherry and I wasn’t impressed. Mea Karma Culpa.

      4. This is a rant. Take it as such.

      Cheers.

    • daddysan says :

      Oh yeah, and BTW your Conclusion, apart from causing bad karma to you, runs in the opposite direction of the rest of your comment, which seeks to explain how the beauty and wholesomeness of Pondicherry may be experienced.

      Second: It’s very easy to use the phrase “for a person who knows where to find it”. If I knew where to find it, I wouldn’t be a tourist. And FYI, we DID visit the tourism office. Day 1 it was closed. CLOSED. Day 2 they were unhelpful. “You can walk or take a bus to Auroville”. How’s that for helpful?

      Third, the experiences I have written about here are issues a traveler should not face. I totally agree to your point on colonial and local language, but the rest of India speaks English and Puducherry was part of India the last time I checked. Maybe this is my pov. You have your own (on English and whether Puducherians belong to India in the first place). I have many other observations that are scathing but Im fair enough to admit they are products of my bias and so I haven’t written them here.

      Fourth, I find your comment on “bad karma” being reason for my bad experiences at the “Cafe” surprising and illogical. That’s racism my friend. Wake up. And the same happens in Goa too.

      Fifth: I have nothing against Auroville. I do not believe in the philosophies of Ma or Aurobindo so don’t read it as a diss. I did not find that my time spent there added any value to me but I know for a fact there is a vibrant subculture that exists in terms of Green, Arts, Pottery etc – which is why my wife wanted to undertake the journey in the first place.

      That said, it’s good that I agree with your conclusion: Pondicherry is NOT a place for Tourists.

      • disgruntledPondicherrian says :

        See, I’ve had my share of lousy vacations…I would have found your blog amusing – what ticked me off was the 2nd paragraph of your “Indians go home” section.

        Every time I think about it even, my usually unruffled self, gets really agitated – I think this is the first time I ever swore on a public blog.

        But I’ve done some deep breathing and I’m calmer now. I’m not gonna read this or think about it any more. It’s a free country, you’ve had your say, I’ve had mine.

        Peace. Hope you have better vacations than this one.

    • daddysan says :

      I appreciate you clarifying your response. I apologize if my paragraph came out as harsh or deeply offended you.

      This is a rant and not everything is going to be politically correct.

      I’d stick with the basic theme though: I (personally) would like to see less of such closeted behavior across India but I’m being wishful.

      Thanks for your wishes. I hope to have great vacations too :)

  11. MJ says :

    Harsha Bhogale raved about the Hidesign owned hotel in his TV series. Strange!

  12. chumkymonkey says :

    I guess it depends on the reason you go to the place and your expectations. When my all girls team went there a couple of years ago, it was not as a vacation – rather to participate in national level basketball tournaments, which btw Pondicherry has a nice indoor basketball court for. Going there as a sports team who does not play cricket, the experience was more chak de than de beers…but in spite of having to eat the same food every day, a crazy woman protesting our presence in chaddies at auroville and getting hit on by thugs on bikes who thought we were ‘easy’ and living in a ymca hostel with shared bathroom and that we got kicked out of the tournament fast, it was one of my best trips ever and even that hostel had our bedroom window opening to a turquoise sea with white sands…we just had a good time.

    • daddysan says :

      You’re not French right? *just checking*

      Also ROFL at “de beers”. Diamond standard pun?

      I’m sure Pondicherry would’ve bothered us less if I’d gone in a larger, boisterous group of friends. Totally agree.

  13. Purnima Rao says :

    See, the thing is to go to the REALLY pretentious part of pondicherry – auroville, where if you are anything other than caucasian, you will be instantly treated like Jesse Owens at the Berlin Olympics. That’s the true pondy experience.

  14. Giribala says :

    A sad sad story! Hope you are feeling better now! Very bad experiences make us appreciate the less bad ones.

  15. i_r_squared says :

    Good thing you didn’t go out onto the beaches on the outskirts – they’re not clean enough to lounge around on anyway.

    I’ve been told Pondy doesn’t work as a seaside resort because the currents around the area are dangerous – so it’s just a place for cheap booze that *happens* to be on the coast. You can be a hippie all you like, though. And if you drive on the ECR from Madras, it’s one hell of an awesome road to drive on.

  16. chicabeingme says :

    Oops… sounds really really bad. Well I went thr when I was in 8th maybe. I remember all good things. we stayed in a nice guest house, which had good food and nice people. I would walk around town alone (safe place). Not much to do though, but since id gone thr for a camp, we were kept occupied.

    Dunno how all tat happened in ur case :P Sad.

  17. Dr. Gonzo says :

    I had precisely such stunned reactions. Huh? Beach? french? food? What do I do here?

    Oh look pretty house in colors!

    I found a convenient rickshaw guy who took 300 rupees for a pudiya of grass worth 3 joints, but by then I was so pissed that that felt about right.

    Thankfully the rest of the time all 4 of us stayed indoors.

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