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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah


When I first landed in Auroville, I borrowed a bike from my guesthouse and cycled into Pondicherry, the nearest city, to pick up  mosquito net and an adapter for my laptop before arriving at Sadhana Forest the next day. (Pondicherry’s official name reverted to the de-anglicized Puducherry a few years ago, but everyone, Indians included, was still calling it Pondicherry, or Pondy for short.) You have no idea how crazy Indian traffic is until you’re in it; I kept thinking as I dodged motorbikes driving on the wrong side of the highway, ‘if Mumsy could see me right now she would be horrified.’

Anyway, I went back one afternoon with my lovely new friends and explored the city in a much more relaxed way.


First we had a proper Indian breakfast on Koot Road before hopping the bus (four rupees!) Diva snapped this photo of Jaspreet, Kate, Capucine (who can’t ever seem to resist sticking her tongue out), me, and Danielle.


If there was a contest for bloodthirstiest deity, d’you think this gal would take it?


I spotted this rooster hangin’ out just beside the Kali shrine (above).


An elaborate gopuram at one of the Hindu temples (I can’t recall which one).

(Yeah, right!) Capucine and Diva.


Pondicherry was once a French colony, so it has a quieter, vaguely European-feeling section we walked through later on in the afternoon.

Of course, we spent the afternoon either eating or shopping. We had cucumber mint and pineapple juices and picked up healthy snacks (sweets made of dates and ginger, that sort of thing) at the local health food store, paid a visit to a French bakery (where after eating a few petits fours Danielle whipped out her toothbrush; ‘there is no one in all the world like you,’ I said), and shopped for journals, cards, and stationery at the excellent Sri Aurobindo Paper Factory. And Diva finally purchased the beautiful singing bowl she’d been thinking about since she first saw it at a Tibetan imports shop. It was such a nice day!

Next post: a day trip to Mamallapuram.

2 Comments to Pondicherry

  1. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    May 26, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    So many colors!
    How big of a city is Pondicherry?

  2. May 27, 2011 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    1.2 million, according to Wikipedia.

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.