“I learnt how to read directions, I learnt how to let go and trust a stranger, I learnt about my strengths and weakness, I enjoyed the adrenalin rush on achieving a task, I learnt to deal with myself, above all I learnt to enjoy my own company…  ~ Me “

I had been itching to pack my backpack and go somewhere, if only for a day or so. But I did not see any windows open. And then came the opportunity. My uncle who was visiting from Delhi announced he was gonna do a trip to Pondicherry. Well, that was all the nudge I needed. Told him I was gonna come along. Off I went, with no agenda, no objective in mind but to spend a day by myself in the French town. When I announced my decision, my uncle said “sure, come along”, others were curious as to why I was heading away, that too on my own. Gramma asked if my friend was alright [ I have a dear friend who lives in Pondy]. I told them all I was just going away for the heck of it… no other reason~ 

This was not a new destination, nor was it some place I had been dying to go to, but it was one of those places where I felt at peace, felt good and was happy to just wander or sit at a cafe reading a book. Which is exactly what I did.  It is where I have quite a few fond memories, of past trips with friends or when I travelled alone [catching up with the friend who lives there for a quick bite or chat near the ocean] 

We reached Pondicherry around 8.45, I got off near the Gandhi Statue in White Town and that was where my day began. I walked along the ocean for a while, clicking pictures, observing the many pairs of busy feet out on their morning walk, dogs snuggled up in the sand and the string of couples sitting on the rocks lost in their own world.

In about an hour, I could hear my stomach rumble, signalling it was time for breakfast. But I wasn’t done with the ocean yet, and so I headed to the restaurant on the ocean front- Le Cafe, grabbed a table on the outside and settled in. I ordered a Masala omelette, cup of coffee and pulled out the novel I had brought along. 

Few minutes in and I spotted a crow slowly make its way towards my table. I shooed it away a couple of times, but it kept coming back. Thinking it was hungry, I offered piece of bread. But no, it had other ideas. it wanted omelette. Oh yes, I kid you not. 

Infact, two men had borrowed chairs from my table so they could sit and sip their coffee/tea. They tried shooing the crow away as well, but no way, it had made up its mind and demanded a good breakfast. I gave in  and offered it some omelette which it grabbed from the table and flew away. 

One of the men [ remember the guys who borrowed chairs, follow on will you…hmpfh] commented that the crow must be a regular at this cafe. And then proceeded to initiate a conversation.. Here’s how it went.

Man1: Are you a tourist? 
Me: err, not really.
Man1: Oh you live here?
Me: Nope, am just visiting
Man1 : Oh where all are you going today?
Me: No plans really, just wander about.
Man2: We are from Hyderabad, with our families and little children. Do you have any suggestions on where we can go? Our cab driver is pathetic, does not know anything. 
Me: You can visit the park, the ashram, temple, museum, library, drive down to Auroville. 
Man 2: How about food, you get good food here?
Me: Oh yes, some lovely stuff. 
Man1 : You are vegetarian or non veg? 
Me: I am vegetarian, but I eat egg
Man 1 : Oh good, good, nothing wrong. Any good vegetarian hotels? 
Me: Cafe Xtasi’s wood oven fired pizzas were really good, Surguru if you want south indian food, pasta bar veneto for pasta, baker street for baked goods[ just check on what contains egg when you buy from there in case you don’t eat egg]and zuka for chocolates and chocolate based desserts/drinks.
Man 2 : So much here.. We have no idea.  Thanks
Me : Smiles and gets back to my book 
[about half hour later]
Man 1 & 2 : Bye ..You have a good time!
Me: Have a good trip.

I was happy to get back to my coffee and book – Nur Jahan’s Daughter and be lost in the world of Nur Jahan , the story of her daughter Laadli and the events that happened around them…. 

To be continued… 

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