Sunday, May 07, 2006

Pondychery -Sizzling Breezily...

It was a huge relief to pay up and slip out from the de Bussy bar.

The politically charged youngsters had left long before me, but to my utter horor the incompetent waitors had turned up the volume of the near-sleaze channel showing nonstop Tamil film hits. That is songs, or videos, if you like. This Tamil torture is too mind-numbing for words, so lets leave it.

My sense of direction took me to the seaface in hardly ten minutes of leisurely walking around, reading the romantic streetnames and trying to memorize them too. Quai de Guinchy, was an offshoot from the Rue de Bussy, but I strode on. Pretty soon the sky sparkled with a whitish hue, as it does over any large water body. I hit the esplanade suddenly without a warning, and the clean seaface with benches liberally strewn around seemed just like what the doctor would have ordered. Walking in the sun, I avoided by choosing to walk in the shade of the buildings.

It had been a tiring day so far. Within minutes, I chose a bench near the Tourism office, took of my shoes and socks -and overcoming the innate fear that my pink toes and soles will attract unnecessary attention, sparking off conversation, I lay myself gently down and throwing all caution to the wind, went to sleep.

There was very little traffic, just a few stragglers who seemed tourists like me, passed me at all. The sea presented an awesome view. The feeling of sheer endlessness, timelessness, a glimpse into eternity is what hits me every time whenever I sit near a beach. This was even more effective. The cool breeze nullfied the sun's nearly put-on act of being fierce, and it lulled me into a snooze all right.

When I came to, pestilential clerk, a tall and hefty guy with Keralite features -big white teeth that sparkled when he smiled, tooth brush mustache, wavy hair, was loitering up and down the part of the pavement where my bench was located. Every thirty seconds he would go and try to crack a joke or ask a question to some people in a seemingly emptly plot. Obviously there must be a young and pretty girl amongst the labourers sitting and cooking there. He returned at least fifteen times to make comments, and laugh a forced life, his eyes fixed on someone. Finally when I got up, I took a small walk to see what was so fascinating about the vacant plot. There was a gaggle of labourers, with just one young and pretty girl amongst them. She had an electric smile, which she flashed at me too. So the clerk was abdicating his duty, returning to them every half a minute, and making small talk.

Whilst I was tying my shoelaces, three local fellows dressed in spotless white mundus passed by. The one in the middle, seemed like some political agent from the polished tone of his voice, came and held both my hands reverently. There ensued a monologue with an intimacy that may have been the scene of a Tamil film being shot with me in the leading role. Perhaps he was mildly sozzled, like me, and wanted to treat every fella as a long lost brother. Perhaps he was mistaking me for some French professor who have tutored his kids. Perhaps he was just a politician asking me as an old well-established citizen of Pondy to vote for his nefarious party... he waved his hand with five fingers separated. Meaning, he will expect me to see him at five o'clock. Or attend his political rally at five.

As soon as the highly charged trio left, I walked a bit more towards the auto-rickshaw stand and caught one to take me to the bus stand. I never suspected what excitement lay in store for me, in the coming journey.

(c) Max Babi, May 2006.


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