I guess the 2nd of October isn’t the best of times to visit a land of tax-free booze but then sometimes you just don’t have the choice. So I left with a bunch of my girl friends and we took our first step towards a place which seemed as illusive to us as France itself. Pondicherry was a 6-7 hours drive from Bangalore by road with a small stopover at a hotel that served ‘Dhall fry’. Sadly for us, we didn’t get the privelige to get a taste of the mysterious Dhall fry as it was not available and had to satiate our hunger with the garlic dosa and fresh lime.

Our first morning in Pondicherry, we set out to the Auroville Ashram, partly wondering what was awaiting us there. And we did keep wondering for quite some time since the place was closed the first time we arrived. Making use of the opportunity we drove off to the Auroville beach.

I would strongly recommend anyone travelling to the place to hire a bike because nothing would beat the feeling of driving the beautiful roads around Auroville, the lush greens sorrounding you and the wind through your hair. I am personally a beach bum, so any place with sand and water is heaven for me and that would make my description of the beach a little biased. All I remember from my time on the beach was the water splashing around me and i trying to drag my friend inside the sea. In a funny incident a giant wave devoured our slippers, and in an attempt to save them one of my friends sacrificed her watch and the other one her cell phone. We got the slipppers back though. Still high on the beach experience, we made our way back to Auroville.

Auroville is a perfect place to sit down, relax and take in the serene beauty around you. Inside, you would also find a café that in my opinon serves great, almost homemade, food. There are also a few shops where you’ll find everything from fancy hats to scented candles, t-shirts, dresses, lampshades. Don’t expect them to be too kind on your pocket and you would have a blast.

Pondicherry, as I had heard from various sources was a small territory that has managed to retain the French flavour since the time they ruled it. But unfortunately, as we made our way to the rocky beach we ended up spending quite some time shopping for clothes and shoes. And by the time we could discover the France in Pondicherry, the sun had set and the camera battery had discharged. But we were persistent to explore the beauty of the city and the full moon gave us all the light that we needed that night. The rocky beach would have been even more perfect had I been sitting with some loved one as most of the people were. But nonetheless, I spent some time there listening to the waves dashing against the rocks. At that moment it felt as if the sea was in a constant war with the land, trying to conquer the whole of earth and engulf it inside it. every time the waves rise and hit the rocks with the same strength I wondered what was it that was driving them.

We spent the rest of the night roaming the streets and taking in the beauty around us. The french windows, the small bakeries on the roads and the boards with french names on them. It was truly a magical evening, and I felt as if I had reached some other country altogether. After dinner we drove to a beautiful beach house next to the backwaters that we had rented for the night. It was surrounded by trees and all of us spent the entire night on the terrace listening to the waves. Man! I wish it wasn’t a dry day.

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