Pondicherry and all the rest in Chennai

January 28, 2010

Random fact: Marina beach, Chennai’s eastern border, is the 2nd longest beach in the world.

The day after the wedding I took a drive Puducherry/Pondicherry, which is about 3 hours South of Chennai. Sweet coincidence that 5 guys I met at the wedding were planning to go the same day as I- so I hopped on their ride. Perhaps a slightly offbeat thing to do as a single woman travelling alone, some may think. But they seemed fun and super nice (and they are)! We had a really fun trip with multiple adventures in between (including the craziest driving I have ever experienced!). Pondicherry itself was honestly nothing too great; mostly dirty and touristy.  I suppose the draw is that it was colonized by the French,  and apparently it’s an educational center. But we had a really good trip, and it was really great to hang out with Indians my age (even though they spoke Hindi at least half the time)!! One thing I may have mentioned- these guys are super tight and not at all afraid of showing affection towards each other. I really love that.

Amidst the whirlwind adventures, I definitely feel the extraordinary array of  contrasts and intensity that is India— all of which I about before arriving.  I don’t think I have really even started to process it yet.  The first BOOM of emotional waves was probably in Triplicane, the bustling area of my fabulous budget hostel– the lows of  steeping onto the hot street full of gross amounts of trash and way too many autos, kids sleeping on the ground covered in flies. The highs of finding a teeny side street with a fruit/veggie/meat market.  Then the wave comes again– getting chased by a stray dog, yelled at and ripped off by a woman while buying fruit, being helped by another really nice fruit vendor. Woooooosssshhhhhh– that blanket of overwhelming feedback.

The distusting poverty is by far the worst. I’ve seen it in quite a few countries now and it never fails to impress. India also has her own unique disturbing characteristics. Much and continual growth, right along with the majority who have less than nothing. Urban poverty, I think, is particularly hard.

This all followed by a trip to the Vivekananda Illam for a really nice free one-hour meditation class (and I was sturck that they gave out free channa to everyone afterwards– here a beautiful contrast: generosity yet having very little). I wanted to write about our monk’s Om (actually A-U-M) lecture, but I think I need to part from this blog thing. Man, I hope these posts are entertaining for you all still reading!

Now I must go eat…Indian food! Then I am to meet Ambika, Ujwall and Ajay for some hooka, and that’s it for Chennai and I. Tomorrow morning I fly to Trivandrum, the capital of the state of Kerala, to meet up with my friend, Deepali, and explore for about 9 days.  Shout out to Flow Yoga Center peeps on behalf of us both!!

Sendin’ love,


2 Responses to “Pondicherry and all the rest in Chennai”

  1. […] Pondicherry and all the rest in Chennai Share and […]

  2. Margaret Woodside Says:

    You bring it to life, Hil. Keep posting. I love reading. I know it will get lost in your studies sometime but post when you can.

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