Remember me , okay here I go. We left all the birds except those served on our plates at Temple Bay restaurant for the soujourn to the French capital in India, now called Puducherry earlier known as Pondicherry.
It was about a two-hour journey from Temple Bay and all Anacondas inside now started to become nice, good, fun loving human beings thinking and looking forward and dreaming about the night life we were all going to have at Pondy (well the ladies are excluded).
Lo! here we are finally at Pondicherry zooming into the Hotel we were supposed to crash in. It was a three-star hotel that gave us a warm welcome and three of us share a room. Once inside the room, we went in for a quick wash and got ready to visit the Ashram which is one of the attractions for people from far and wide.
In fact we were pushed out of the hotel as we were running out of time and didn't want to gate crash at the Ashram. So all the 17 bundled into the mini-bus (actually it was a van, not a bus or mini-bus) and reached the ashram which was a 10-minute drive just in time to find that the gates were not gonna be closed till 7:30 PM. A few of the not too religious ones of course had to be contented saying "oh! god, it not time yet". There was this looooooooooong queue and 50% of our rugged, boisterous crowd lined up one behind the other trying to make others believe "oh what religious people are they coming all the way from Chennai", (of course here too the ladies were .................... okay let me stop this line here).
Well once inside the ashram, you had the customary habit of switching off your mobiles and a few of the men crowd were in fact happy about it as this was one time they could let their wives who were left at home hear the message "the person you are trying to call has switched off his mobile", well in fact I was gleeing inside my mind about this whole thing. There were a few who felt bad about switching off the mobile (well I am not sure if the ladies felt the same way about it as the men crowd, though if you ask them they would obviously say a big NO).
I was in fact waiting to get out as I am not that very religious and not an atheist. Once out, the next stop was vinayagar temple close by. I was just asking myself, "did we come all the way from Madras to visit temples at Pondy", well I couldn't speak louder than that for the fear of getting mobbed by my own office crowd.
The best I enjoyed in this temple was the medium-sized grey-black elephant standing outside, jutting its trunk out to get money from people and blessing them on their head and blessing only those that gave either coins or notes and not caring for those who fed it with grass. I guess the mahout has trained it that way.
From the temple, I knew where we were heading. Man this is why I guess we all came and I was on cloud nine merely for the fact that there were no more temples around the place and the next stop would be to where we were all eagerly wanting to go. In fact my mind was whistling and singing all old tamil movie songs and of course singing songs of Lionell Ritchie, Beatles, man you name the group, the song was on my mind.
Then came the crashing news, a bolt from the blue, felt as though the piece of earth below my feet had split wide open and I was falling down a bottomless pit. The news was we were all going to the beach to take a walk. "Oh god." Why me of all people. Did I ever ask you for anything at all. Did I trouble you. Then why pick on me. Looking at my or rather our sullen faces, a senior person of our organisation finally gave the nod and said, when we get back to the hotel we open stuff. That was a bit soothing.
The beach of course was nothing at all compared to beaches in Chennai and Mumbai. It was crowded and I didn't like it much, but still when you are in Rome, be a roman and I was all praises for the beach for the fear of not wanting to be seggregated from the crowd, who I guess were also (as they had no choice) praising the beach with its long walk way (which of course is the only thing the beach has).
Here too, I was about to be confronted with another bad news.
Let me tell you about that tomorrow and continue later.