It is such a sight as one enters as the arch welcoming you to into this little part of French colonized India named Puducherry. You see the local policemen in red caps and white uniforms, the city kept neat and tidy by the union government, much different from the rest of the country. There is a freshness to the air as you reach the white town, a whiff of the French demeanor reflected through the architecture.
I remember arriving at the white town quite lost the first time in my brand new hatchback with a girlfriend of mine who drove the entire three hundred something kilometres from Bangalore while I rolled a series of soul filling joints. We had done no bookings or reservations, we just wanted to explore. We had entered into one of the cafes at exactly half past nine in the morning to ask locals for some guidance. What caught my attention was no local, but a blue eyed American whose interest lay in politics, studying the politics of India from a union territory.
This time it was different, though I had a girlfriend traveling with me, this was Sam. We knew exactly where we were staying, had our entire itinerary planned out and no marijuana. I knew better than to expect to score in Pondicherry, but I was either busy or lazy on the previous days. We were to stay at a luxury heritage property known as Le Dupleix and spend our time exploring the White town which is buzzing over the weekend with numerous live bands performing and cultural events happening at the rock beach-side/ promenade beach road.
The huge fascinating wooden doors of Le Dupleix that welcomed us was one of the ancient doors in the entire town. We had a room on the first floor and as we walked up, we admired how interiors of the heritage property blended into modern luxury. The manager, all of twenty something and charming showed us around the place detailing the history of the boutique property in his three piece blue suit as sweat escaped his brows due to the heat of the beach town. Le Dupleix named after the French Governor was the 18th century residence of the Mayor of Pondicherry. The mansion has been restored with carved woodwork recovered from the house of the Governor.
We had checked into a guest house, Manila and I. It was just short of fancy, enough to give a feel of the French Colony and right in the heart of the White Town. To our surprise the lady running the place was a Bangalorean, married to a French resident of Pondicherry. She recognized some names. She looked amused to know about two barely legal girls driving it up there without any plans or procedures, just in thirst for adventures.
Our room was pleasant with all modern amenities and comforts. The room was filled with elegant lights and wooden furniture. The bathroom was complete with modern fitting and bath where we would spend a large amount of time pampering ourselves. The corridors were warm with cozy furniture, the swing bed to be exact, where we spent long hours indulging in some fine alcohol and conversation leading into the wee hours of the morning.
We had visited the café again at exactly half past nine as I had a feeling the American would be there. And there we found him, I invited him to join us for lunch. We went to a restaurant as suggested by him, since he was familiar with the surroundings. It was beautiful, located at the courtyard of a boutique hotel just like the one we were staying this time around. We enjoyed the meal, as I enjoyed his presence more. I do not remember what we ate, but I do remember how mushy I felt.
Lunch was at the restaurant located at the courtyard where we enjoyed the view under the mango tree. We enjoyed our Chenin Blanc with an exquisite continental meal. We tasted the Salad Le Dupleix and Calamari Fritters for appetizers. For the mains, we ordered the Pan grilled Red Snapper with Lemon Butter sauce and Grilled Pork Chops. The food was exceptional and undoubtedly the best meal that I have had at Pondicherry. We loved it so much, that we had to call the chef to compliment him on the preparation. If you are in Pondicherry anytime, this place is a must try for mouth-watering dishes.
We spent the whole day loitering around town with him, smoking weed and talking about India. He was much older to me, and a lot more experienced. We visited his place, not far from the white town, just bordering the Tamil quarters. The house was cute, filled with newspapers and books on politics all over the place. A typical bachelor pad, made for practicality. Could have been lovely with a woman’s touch, I thought. We invited him over to our guest house. Manila and I had discovered an unfinished rooftop restaurant the previous night. Full of bright yellow string fairy lights, it was perfect for the two of us to enjoy the night under the stars getting high and bantering about life and boys. I took him upstairs while Manila decided to stay in the room. As we sat next to each other on the swing and spoke he came closer I became more aware at the CCTV staring straight at us. I remembered my boyfriend who was out of country on a break. My thoughts became distant as I stared blankly at him. And with a gulp in my mouth, it was time to flee.
Breakfast was elaborate with fresh juices, croissants, muffins, cereals, eggs made to order and a variety of south Indian dishes. The cookies and the sandwiches are also a treat, which we packed for our picnic at a private beach. We also chatted up with the charismatic manager who gave every guest in the property his utmost attention and allured them with his impeccable manners and politeness. We truly had a delightful experience at this hotel. I cannot wait to visit again to make more memories and tell you a great story.