To Puddu and back

When your vacation begins with the cabbie speeds off with your luggage,leaving you standing on the road gaping like an idiot, you know your trip is going to be just great.

As unbelievable as it sounds that’s exactly what the cabbie who was to drive us to the airport did. He stowed away our bag in the boot and sat in the driver’s seat, all set. I opened the back door threw in one of the smaller bags and shut the door and  before I knew what was happening I saw the cab cruise along the road. For  a few seconds I thought he was moving along the road to make way for one of the car that was exiting the building but when I saw him pick up speed and take a  turn, I knew he wasn’t making way, he was driving away! I frantically looked through my handbag to find my cell phone to call the speedy gonzalvis and tell him he needed to take us along with the luggage. But as we all know there is a universal law that makes finding your phone in a hurry almost impossible. You need to pull out each and every item in your bag before you can find your phone. And my bag had a lot of things so it took a long time and much anxiety before the desired object is located in the deep recesses of my bag and fished out. A quick scroll through the contacts list informed me that I hadn’t saved the driver’s number.That left us with two option- to go back home and look up the directory or pray that mom’s cell phone had it. Luckily for us fervent praying worked. The number was found, speedy gonzalvis was called and asked to drive back from wherever he was and pick us up. When he did drive back this is what he had to say in his defence ” Maine darvaza band hote suna. Mujhe laga aap baith gaye ho, to maine gaadi chaladi.”  Now what do you say to that? You’d like to say something vile but you end up saying “aise kaise kiya bhiayya? Ab koi baat nahi, chalo”  Who drives like this I ask you? You hear someone shut the passenger door and you drive off? Just like that? Without a backward glance? And if no one calls you, you just drive all the way to the airport with the luggage and without the people? May be I am over reacting but then this is the first time a cabbie has taken my luggage and left me behind. May be if this happens a few more time, I wont react so strongly. Not that I want to it happen ever again. The entire process of “finding” the cabbie cost us a precious half hour, the value of which we quickly learnt when we met one traffic jam after the other. I had this recurring vision of us sitting in the cab stuck in a traffic right next to the airport watching the plane taking off  right in front of our eyes, waving at the passengers peering out of those small windows. Thankfully we reached in the nick of time and were spared the waving.

That was the bad part of the journey. The rest of it was all good. I was mighty impressed with Jet Airway. I think they have been consistently serving some of the best food(a contrast to Sahara, now know as Jet Lite. Only the name has changed. The food remains as bad as ever.). The crew is generally friendly and cheerful (a contrast to Indian) And now they have this:-

all in the name of in-flight entertainment. When did domestic flights get so fancy? The options available arent all that great but still, the fact that entertainment exists is good enough. Now if they only made all their discounted tickets cancellable /modifiable, they will have my undying loyalties for life, I swear.

Pondicherry isn’t new to us. We are frequent visitors who love all that the place offers- the leisurely pace, the wide roads lined with shady trees, the architecture, the blended culture and of course the Ashram

The beach is beautiful, very different from the one in b’bay. The sea is much rougher and the shore is lined with black rocks but that’s  where the differences end. Both beaches have some obvious similarities. There are tens of vendors selling you everything from balloons to candy floss to strange helicopter like objects that emit a blue light up when thrown up in the sky to peanuts. And then there are the people, truckloads of them.  

And noise. No, make that lots of noise. That’s something I could easily live without. With each trip, Pondicherry seems to be getting more crowded and noisy. Too many people everywhere- the beach, the roads, the market, the garden, you name it. Two wheelers with their reckless driving and incessant honking dominate the roads. But then the increasing number of people owning bikes and scootys is one aspect of prosperity. And that’s good I only wish they’d drive slower and honk a lot less.

While in Pondicherry we made a visit to Kanchipuram to see the famous temple. The temple is very impressive with its large gopurams and beautiful stone carvings but what really caught my attention was this elephant at the temple entrance. Painted pretty, the elephant rests his trunk on your head to bless you if you offer a rupee or two. I think elephants are cute and everything  and they do look great on the Animal Planet but I am just not willing to get too close to them. So I offered the elephant a uncertain smile, extended a coin from the greatest distance physically possible, got a photo clicked and said good bye. 

Everyone else seemed to be a pro at this offer-coin-get- blessed routine. No one  stretched their arm as far as they could to maintain maximum distance between the elephant and themselves. No one jerked away when they saw that trunk approaching. Everyone was really cool including my mom. I think it’s just me. In addition to the

 elephant at the entrance, we found these while walking around the temple compound.I, for some rason think its pretty cool that we still have elephants in temples- it just make the whole temple culture seem to grand and it  certainly makes some of the boring histroy chapters that we did in school seem real.

 We stopped over at Mamallapuram, also called Mahabalipuram  on our return journey. In the sweltering afternoon sun, I wasn’t sure if stopping over to witness the remains of history was such a great idea. But one look at the rock-cut monuments and I knew I wouldn’t be regretting the decision. You need to see these structures to believe them.

How people made these structures centuries ago is mind boggling. I wish the weather was a little more compliant and we had more time on our hands. An hour is just not sufficient to see and appreciate all of the structures. This is one place that requires another visit and I am going make it for sure.

 

 PS: please note the two pics of the beach are courtsey mommy. I am mentioning it here cause I dont want to be accused of plagerism later! 😉

22 thoughts on “To Puddu and back

  1. somehow that doesnt sound the “relaxing” vacation… that people usually want… but some people feel relaxed just by moving away from the routine…great pictures…

  2. aww that was a beautiful write up. I am so glad that the cabbie actually came back with the luggage. It’d suck if he never made it back!!! thanks for introducing me to pondicherry. the noise everywhere is what troubles me about India really. it gets too energy-depleting after a while but without the noise, it wouldn’t be india would it. life livable in chaos and full of lively contrasts. 🙂

    ‘n oh gosh, i’d be scared of elephants too!!! im scared of anything that moves on roads in India … which is true for almost anything .. from cycles to cars to cows to elephants 😛 …

    n i luv jet airways the best too. kingfisher is not bad either but i like jet airways better. looks less ‘elitist’ and yet provides similar service as kingfisher. i think it’s their only 1 hour+ flights that have that in-flight entertainment system. we flew from hyderabad to delhi … it did have entertainment system … but the plane from delhi to chandigarh didn’t. same with our flight from delhi to jaipur … we didn’t have entertainment system … but jaipur to bangalore, we did.

    either way, jes, i likes jet airways over nething else there. we flew spice too. oh gosh, it was miserable … but i guess that’s what u expect from discount airlines.

    blah, sorry for the long message. 🙂 enjoyed reading your write up and definitely enjoyed yer mom’s photos!! 🙂

  3. ROfl.. havent stoppped laughing since i read the cabbie leaving you all behind with your bags…. 😀

    woww, u seem to have had qute a time.. i know, these days Pondy is perpetually crowded, been a while since i was there, i think atleast 6mths, need to plan a trip!!

    and ditto @ scared of elephants.. i am shit scared of them.. they dont get no coins from me, not even a mile away..thankk u!!:) i run the other direction upon seeing one…

    nice pics..:)mom’s pics are awesome!! tell her!!:)

    next time you are around here, give me a buzz.. i do live in chennai vonly 🙂

  4. Oh wow!! sounds like you had a great time despite the cabby driving off with your luggage! Scary really!!
    And, Lovely pics… all of them 🙂
    But, its lucky that you DID get your stuff back though…

  5. The cabbie thing had me laughing like crazy. The best was imagining you guys waving to the passengers in the plane. Do they still serve food in the planes? Thought the next time I travel, I would be carrying Paranthas in my handbag, hehehe.
    Great Pics. Compliments to your mom. I remember having read on your blog somewhere that she was planning her own blog. Does she still want to remain private with it, or would she rather have us all read her?

  6. ROTFL @ the cabbie’s antics:))) Some guys are just too funny!
    I would have been uncomfortable being blessed by an elephant too, I am sure that is how he gets the most of the coins, out of terrified tourists 🙂
    You mom’s taken lovely pictures 🙂 Mammalipuram fascinated me too, there is a beautiful legend behind the artists who created the stone carvings…how they loved each other and how they were killed and how the place was cursed never to be inhabited.

  7. WOO HOO! one more Puddu lover 😀
    Gald that you got all these pics, but it makes me really puddu sick – my nov trip has been postponed (and may be cancelled 😦 )
    So how are you feeling/coping with work after a wonderful trip?

  8. pondy is a sexy place–> soo relaxing n chilled out..
    geee..
    me wanna make a trip there too..
    infact, planning one to yelagiri– i hope plans materialize…
    n abt the elephants, me scared of them as well- but yeah, they’re really yte n adowable froma distance 🙂

  9. Hi! This is my first visit here. Enjoyed reading your post!

    Even tho it started off problematically, your trip seems to have gone well. Loved the description of the elephant encounter!

  10. @UTP- for someone who lives in fast paced mumbai, this was as relaxing as relaxing can get!lol…but yeah i have had lazier,more relaxing vacations..

    @roopie-yeah, too much noise is tiring..but in india u just have to live with it! dint know jet has the jazzy entertainment only on over1 hr flights..thanks fr enlightening me.

    @aaarti- i know the cabbie was funny but he was scary too!dint know u were a channai girl! will keep u informed beforehand next time..

    @pixie- yeah! it was fun!!!

    @IHM-the cabbie was a nut!mamallapuram is great..visit it sometime.

    @cinnmint- yeah!! another puddu lover in the house!! i know about ur postponed/cancelled trip tp puddu.. i do talk to N, u know!:P will do the tag soon…

    @jane- make the trip soon!!yelagiri sounds fun too!

    @manju- welcome to my blog! elephants are really not my thing…

  11. Looks like a fun trip! I love elephants and getting their blessings for some reason. Even now during my trips to temples the first thing I check out is if they have an elephant and at temples I visit regularly I know the elephants name n history! To visit and enjoy Mahabalipuram in whole is atleast 2-3 days and I regret that I never have time to do it fully every time I visit. It is just a fleeting visit. This time I made sure I planned everything right and the first day on the way, we stopped at Dakshin Chitra and end of story we never made it to Mahabs… next time I promise…
    glad to have you back

  12. You have a gift, without a doubt, you ARE the funniest girl I know! Believe you me 🙂 Glad you’re back and everything worked out great. Ok, did you eat at Moonbreaker’s? No na? Go back, if only for it 😀

  13. o dear lord! i have tears streaming down my cheeks….that cabbie part was hilarious. agree with henri, ur the funniest girl i know too! and the best part is i know u dont know it…or try to be.

    i still cant stop laughing.

    how,baby, how do these things happen to u!

  14. I came back and read that cabbie part again 😀 indeed…how do these things happen to you? 😀 But I’m glad you guys enjoyed the place and had a good getaway 🙂

    And that header is AWESOME!

  15. @pooh- now thats one fearless girl who doent mind approaching elephants…

    @henri- thanks girl…im glad someone finds me funny! wherez moonbreaker’s?tell tell..i need to visit it next time!

    @SnS- well, im laffing with ya…

    @N- yeah yeah..suddenly eveyone thinks i am funny..i tell u neets it wasnt that funny when it happened to me!! and God knows why these things happen only to me!! its bloddy unfair!!!

    @SnS- glad to know i cud add a bit of humour to ur life..i like this header too!

  16. hehe..i can’t stop laughing at the thought of the cabby driving away with your luggage 😀
    but i am glad you got it back!

    beautiful pics :)…i have never been to that part of India..wish i could go sometime…

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