I love the beach. As I walked on the warm sands of Auroville beach, I realized that it took me 10 years to come back to the ocean. Imagine. How in the world did I ever let that happen? This does not bode well. Pencilling in “New year 2012 at Goa” immediately before I forget. Also waiting for Sidin Vadakut to reply once again to my email but I guess thats pushing it too far.
So back in August this year, I had been wondering where to spend my precious winter vacation. Precious because this was my first vacation post baby girl Lee as well as post M-Tech 1st semester, my brain had sufficiently stopped working and needed a kickstart in order to usher in the next semester. Oh yes, the M-tech thing. We go further back to May this year.
I was happily on my long extended maternity leave when a colleague suggested applying for further studies from July at SMIT, Majhitar. It all seemed impossible at that time, what with going back to studies after (gasp) 9 years and that too, with a baby and (gasp gasp) I still hadnt got a maid to help around the house. But like all good movies, everything started to fall back into place and before long, I gathered enough courage to leave my baby with the maid at home while I went about gallivanting around for stuff like work and studies.
M-tech was scary at first. I was all but prepared to use even my baby as an excuse for not being able to study, really. But soon, I met the best prof in the whole world. There’s this amazing prof in my department who is such a good teacher that even if you place a donkey in his class, it will pass out as an M-tech in the end. Yes, he is THAT good. No prizes for guessing who the donkey was/is(?)
I had to study a lot. And by a lot, I mean like a whole lot more. I couldnt get any studying done at home for obvious reasons so I had to study at work. That mainly meant having to endure wise-cracks from wise-acre colleagues about how if I studied so much, either my brain will implode or I will end up getting a gold medal and so on. Thankfully, I got good grades in the end so that meant “all is well, all is well, all is well”.
So back to planning for the winter vacation. I wanted to visit my friend, Anju who is studying MS at IIT, Chennai. Since we were in Chennai, it seemed sacrilegious not to visit Pondicherry and thats how finally, Auroville beach happened after 10 whole years.
We caught the 6 am Shatabdi express from Chennai to Bangalore after our Tamil Nadu stint. The train journey was fantastic and we were fed throughout the journey for the whole of 5 hours. I still remember when I travelled in Rajdhani express to Delhi ages back. At the end of the journey, the waiters passed around a tray laden with “tip money” which was supposed to be a “hint hint” for us passengers. Our Shatabdi waiters were sensible enough not to pull any such stunt though. Also get this – we offer money to pay for our cab from Chennai to Pondy and the driver returns the change without any mention of “baksheesh” and stuff. Another of the reasons I love South India.
We visited Innovative Film City in Bangalore and though I was kinda misled by the name, I really liked the Ripley’s museum inside it. Nearly got a heart attack in the Under Water Room when I suddenly came across a gigantic shark with a huge, open mouth on the ceiling. Walked around with eyes semi closed for the rest of the room.
Louis Tussad’s wax museum was interesting and although the Beatles didnt look like the Beatles at all, I had fun clicking photos posing with the Dalai Lama, the Pope and Mahatma Gandhi making \m/ signs. And like Anju pointed out, the wax statue of Forrest Gump sitting on a bench with a box of chocolates had a painted backdrop of a huge green forest. Someone didnt get the movie at all.
Anju’s mom-in-law makes yummy South Indian food and one of the main reasons for visiting in the first place! My home made puttu tastes like sawdust compared to the one cooked in their kitchen. And my kadala curry takes a beating till it is black and blue.
The trip was memorable in so many ways than one. Meeting old friends even after years feels like we’ve never been apart. And as I packed a kilo each of banana chips and muruku and also 3 kilos of mysore pak, I wondered if I was taking enough for my friends back home.
Friends – what would we be without them, eh?