Madrasis & Mosquitoes

A third of my trip is already done but well spent. I arrived in Chennai an entire day late and had spent 14 hours in the Dubai airport. Funny thing is that I planned my travel purposely to avoid the gulf. Its hard to take any pride in your national airline when Air Canada is of such poor quality all around. It reminds me of Air India in the 80’s.  I spent two nights in Chennai before going a little South to Mahabalipuram (Mamalapuram) and Joe Beach Resort for my three week course with Svastha Yoga. The resort is actually the property of a Catholic religious order (DMI & MMI) and was always crawling nuns and priests. India has this unique quality: you have mosquitoes everywhere (including the bathroom).

I will comment on the course fully in another post but it was a good experience and I met some great people. The course did not offer any sort of challenge and we had plenty of free time. We had Sundays off and I went back to Chennai on the first one and celebrated Pongal (Tamil Thanksgiving) with my cousin’s family. The second one was spent as a lovely day trip to Pundicherry, beacon of the French in India. On the way we had stopped in Auroville to see the famous world city. Unfortunately visitors are not allowed anywhere but the visitors’ centre and shops. On obtaining a pass, we could see the Matri Mandir from a viewing point about a kilometer away. The community was designed to house 50,000 but presently has about 2000 residents (1200 foreign & 800 Indians). Strange place that Auroville. Both Auroville and Pondicherry had been hit hard by a recent cyclone and the damage was substantial. In Pondicherry, the French quarter has wide streets and French buildings with very little traffic. Lots of tourists and many of them French. It’s amazing the contrast between the French quarter and “regular” India. One side is clean and quite and by crossing this little canal, Bam! you’re back in India with the noise and smell!

The resort was 7km from Mahabalipuram which offered us frequent evening visits. The city is famous for stone carving. The day the course ended I was already on my way to Trivandrum. Nice to be in Kerala where I am quite at home. Although I will say that the public bus system in Tamil Nad is much better. Otherwise, this truly is “God’s own country” (perhaps I’ll relate that story a little later). Trivandrum is bathed in a sea of red as it prepares for national convention and anniversary of the Communist party. There’s more hammer & sickles here than they ever had in Soviet Russia. Lal Salaam!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Bharati
    Feb 01, 2012 @ 09:24:48

    Oh Dear Shantidas, am sorry to hear about the flight being a mess…
    Am glad to hear news from u, yesterday I was actually wondering when we were going to get some news from u 🙂
    Thanks for the inspiring posts, om and prem

    Reply

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