Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Au Revoir Pondicherry, Bonjour Silence!
The last 5 days in India have consisted of a whole bunch of nothing. There isn't really a lot going on in Pondicherry if youre not an exchange student. It's on the ocean but with a polluted and rocky seaside, and no beach. When I arrived here, I found it a little frustrating because I knew I was stuck here for at least 5 days not having to be up in Chennai till the 10th. But after a bit of thought, all of a sudden I embraced the whole bunch of nothing and enjoyed every single day of it. So in Pondicherry I have had a lovely few days of doing nothing but eating and drinking and walking and reading, oh and sleeping, lots of that too.
Pondicherry (now officially called Puducherry, but Pondi has a much nicer ring to it) was a former French colony and apparently a real educational hub. There seems to be schools and hospitals on every corner. With the French influence here, there is also a surplus of cafe lattes, baguettes and croissants, part of the reason I kicked back and enjoyed my days of nothinginess. Ive been lazily eating French breakfasts every morning with a book, real coffee and an overdose of carbs. I also came across a very reasonably priced english book store cause I am chewing through books faster than pastries! And if thats not enough, I also scored a room with a phone and have spent hours on the phone to Canada with the long distance love of my life!!!! Pondicherry may actually turn out to be the highlight of India ;)
Aside from all that, there was a festival here (shocking, I know) when i arrived, celebrating the 100th year of Sri Aurobindo coming to Pondi. Aurobindo was a freedom fighter for India's independance and later an important philosopher. The festival itself was pretty lame. I walked about, got blessed by a beautiful elephant named Lakshmi for 10 rupees, took a tour of the principle ashram here and then went to go eat chocolate. Happy 100th.
So that was Pondicherry in a nutshell, uneventful yet enjoyable. Next stop, I head north back to Chennai. Thankfully its only a 4 hour local bus ride, no overnighters necessary. Apparently Chennai is not a place to linger so I have planned to go directly to my destination which is a 10 day meditation course in Vipassana. Ive heard lots about this practise in the last few months. It seems quite daunting but at the same time, Im so keen to learn about it. Ive added a link to a website that does a better expalantion that I could of what it is all about.
I learned a little about it at Ashiyana's, the yoga retreat I did in Goa, and am looking forward to exploring it a little further. Did I mention it is a SILENT MEDITATION for 10 days? So hopefully I dont come out on the flip side clinically insane from being in my own head for too long, left to my own devices. Fingers crossed.