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Peaceful Pondicherry: Give time a break


Some things haven't really changed

                                     Some things haven’t really changed

Peaceful Pondicherry. Give time a break”

The promoters of Pondicherry tourism couldn’t have chosen a better tagline than this. The coastal town is unique in its own way. There is calmness around. There is peace. There are no inhibitions. Everything seems to stroll along. Everyone backs the idea of ‘living in the moment’. It is pretty much like the good old days. There are no strings attached. There are no commitments. And there is every chance that you might think about ditching the life you’ve lived and living the life you’ve always dreamt. Pondicherry makes it happen.

Give Pondy a thought. Give time a break

                                     Give Pondy a thought. Give time a break

My T-shirt had the writing,” It is bad manners to keep a vacation waiting”. But Pondy is not about mere vacationing. It is much more than that. It is about savouring the French flavour. It is about being conscious about cleanliness, like the morning tea seller at Promenade beach, who requests his customers to throw the tea cups only in the dustbins. It is about leading a disciplined life, be it at the traffic signals or be it with your choice of food. It is about the kindness and hospitality, like this stranger who patiently explained us in detail about the wholesale liquor shops and the streets where they are housed.

Stay away, English. We are in the land of the French

                         Stay away, English. We are in the land of the French

Pondy will forever be French and if I were to judge the French purely by their impact on Pondy, then I’d definitely rate them highly. A canal runs through the heart of the town. On one side lies the French Pondicherry. The neatly laid out perpendicular streets, the prevalent cycling culture on the tree-lined boulevards, French style buildings, nameplates and billboards bearing the names in French, the streets closer to the Promenade beach and laid back life of the inhabitants will give the impressions of a quieter coastal town in France. A plethora of cafes and restaurants serving French and Italian cuisine there will bowl us over. I’ve already started to ponder when I am going to gatecrash the Baker Street again. On the other side of the canal, lies the Tamil Pondicherry. It’s interesting to know how liberal people here were, to still retain portions of what the French left with them.

Don't look further. The best breakfast in the town is here

                      Don’t look further. The best breakfast in the town is here

My favorite Pondy moments were the times spent on the beach. The early morning sunrise from the rocky Promenade Beach was quite a sight in itself. The sun rose, like it does nowhere else, from the Bay of Bengal, creating magical colour patterns on the waters. The windy evening at the Paradise beach was thrilling. These virgin shores took us to another world, a world you’ve read in the fairy tales, a world of magic and tranquility, where you don’t care about burdens and commitments.

Sunrise from the Promenade beach. What a way to start the day

                Sunrise from the Promenade beach. What a way to start the day

But if there is one place, which was an eye opener for most of us, it is Auroville. The quaint village lies on the outskirts and is beautifully nestled in the bog. Auroville, where one comes to live the life that he/she had always dreamt of, attracts thousands from across the globe. The volunteers make every attempt to preserve nature. Organic farming is encouraged. The kitchen serves organic food cooked with solar energy. Plastics are banned. Cycling is appreciated. Local arts and crafts are supported. We can volunteer in farms, local schools and a string of nature conservation initiatives. In a way, this is the best place for self introspection and really think about what we want in life. There is no one to judge us and we are our own master. This trip is probably the best decision that we took. Pondicherry is not just a place, it is a state of mind.

This Ferrero-roscher shaped Matrimandir is pure magic

                       This Ferrero-roscher shaped Matrimandir is pure magic

 

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Foodies on Shivarathri


It was quite ironic that most of the people in my Twitter timeline were talking about food, on the day of Shivarathri, when almost everyone took to fasting. Couple of food junkies added me in Instagram. A friend suddenly tweets, asking me to suggest her the must try-out eateries in Bangalore. And there were special items on the cafeteria menu. How ironic! To add to all of these, Prinku sends me the pics of the dishes that we had ordered the previous day. And yes, we did have a wonderful day with the different taste buds.

Au Bon Pain:

Au Bon Pain

French Breakfast @ Au Bon Pain

Au Bon Pain has been my most preferred place for breakfast after the Dosa outlets and the Kerala restaurants in Bangalore. I stumbled upon this French cafe bakery one fine day, when I was going through Shivya’s blog (www.the-shooting-star.com ) and what immediately struck me was their in-cafe nutritional kiosks. Pesto and Sandwiches are my favorite and depending upon the mood, I make a choice between the cappuccinos and mango smoothies. The calorie counts on every menu item is displayed and the choice is all yours to go for low-calorie, low-fat or a vegan dietary. I love the ambiance here and they play some soothing numbers in the mornings.

Tacobell:

Mexican Lunch @ Tacobell

Mexican Lunch @ Tacobell

French breakfast was done with and now, it was time to turn Mexican for lunch. And so after giving it too much of a thought, we headed to Tacobell. One will instantly fall in love with Tacobell. The floral designs are all over and the food wrappings will make any creative designer blush. I always go for the Kathitos; for there is something in these Chat-pata rolls taste-alike, that I keep going back to again and again. Nachos, Burritos, Tacos and Cinnabon delights too are worth having a try. Top them all with the unlimited soft drinks that’s available. Yes, you can drink Pepsi as much as you want. The icing on the cake is probably the free WiFi. You can click pictures of your dishes and instantly upload them in the social media.

Mango shots from the CCD have always tempted me. And because you have CCDs lurking around almost every corner in Bangalore, it wouldn’t take much of a time. I always love the CCD, despite the hopeless Coffee that they serve. The sizzlers are out of the world here, along with the Mango shots of course. But I get fascinated by the Cafe Digest newspaper that they have, the contents of which deserve being featured in page 2 of the TOI. Needless to say, I cherish all the coffee table conversations here.

shots @ CCD

shots @ CCD

Well, it was all foodies on Shivarathri…