From all the trips that I’ve done till now, the one last year to Pondicherry has been the best yet. Reasons ? Well I have a lot of em.
This happened to be my first solo trip. I was excited to finally get something off my bucket list. I loved the whole experience of what it brought along with it. Travelling around to explore something new. Meeting people, trying out new cuisines and spending time without having to worry about time itself. Interestingly, the Pondicherry tourism tagline goes by, “Give time a break”. And I did.
During my stay, I was roaming around the town on a bicycle as well as a Vespa on the two days. On the second day, when I had pretty much roamed around the place, was left with time and petrol to spare.
One person, a middle-aged man, was asking for lift to passerby. I stopped my bike close to him. Happily, he boarded the bike and said something in Tamil. After having established that I knew none of it. Except of course Tamil Terriyadu (which means I don’t know Tamil). We conversed in a little broken hindi which he knew, surprisingly. He thanked me for that and I moved on.
Although it was just a start. When you’re driving you can see a lot many asking for lift. In strange and peculiar ways sometimes. Some do the standard waving, while others excitedly wave around to catch attention.
I again met this young lad, clad in a lungi who asked me for lift. We talked a little where he was surprised as to why I was travelling alone. Yes, I get that a lot too. And due to some reasons, I’ve not been able to travel alone much. He enquired about my stay and whether I liked his town or not.
I was almost on my way back, where I met this teenager. Torn jeans and sadly not for his fashion sense, but actually torn, without any shoes or slippers walking along. Occasionally turning back to see if someone stops their vehicle to reduce his effort to walk back home. Or to wherever he meant to be taken to.
I stopped and he was almost expressionless at that time. I signaled him to hop on, which he did and finally put on a little smile. He knew a little English, so we talked. I asked him about what he does to which he replied that he was a daily wage labor and usually heads back home at this time. From what we could talk, it was not very clear because of the language issue. I took out my camera and told him to pose for it, which he was very reluctant to. He then offered to take a picture of me in my camera. Even though I had to teach him on handling the camera, he did take one.
Having clicked me, he was happy. As if he has learnt something new. He returned me the camera and shaking hands he went away. I was waiting for the signal to turn Red, while I saw him dancing happily and running into the lane.
I was smiling. It felt good. A different kind of good.