SL-WEEK 9: School


So this week’s theme is School! I don’t see many schoolkids on my commute to work daily so I present Lycée Français, from my trip to Pondicherry –  the French riviera of the East. A very charming building, and painted in the vibrant yellow of the rest of the French quarters. Makes me wish I studied there!

As part of the weekly photo challenge from Sylvain: SL-Week 9

Why people usually don’t give a damn?

In our office we always have three trash cans next to each other everywhere. Each is meant for a different kid of waste.

1) Organic waste 2) Paper, Tissues etc, 3) All plastics.

And guess what? No one cares a damn!

If you open and saw inside each of the cans, you’ll find exactly the same thing: a mix of organic, paper and plastic. Apparently, people think that segregating waste is a mini-game provided by the company that they are not interested in playing. Or they do know why they have to do it, but they don’t do it anyway. When people drink coffee or tea, they get a paper cup and a plastic stirrer. How difficult is it to open two different trash cans and throw paper and plastic separately, I cannot fathom.

This indifference is what gets to me so much. 

The who-gives-a-flying-fuck attitude.

I cannot speak for everyone, but I observe this in my country almost everywhere. There are dirty rivers and lakes, garbage ridden beaches, and severely littered roads. And no matter how many “cleaning drives” are organized, as long as there’s no change in the society as a whole, what difference is it going to make? You clean a beach today, and people will start littering it again from tomorrow.

When did we become so selfish?

Why don’t we mind defiling the environment as long as our own house is clean?

Why do people doodle on historical monuments?

When will we start treating our planet with some respect? 

All questions, but no answers.

And what triggered this outburst? This.

A sign at the very beginning of the beach
But people are like, “Bitch, please!”


A trip to Pondichéry – Part 2 – The Promenade and a French Breakfast!

In the Part 1 of my post, I have described about the French Quarters in Pondicherry with its brightly colored houses and quaint cafes that bring back a whiff of French flavor. You may wanna go and read that if you haven’t, because it really gives you a feel for the town and has some nice photographs too! 🙂

Anyway, today I’m gonna be talking about the one thing that can’t be missed when you’re in Pondi. And that’s the seaside Promenade.


It’s nothing more than a thin strip of road and pavement abutting the coast, and it’s actually pretty short. You would be able to walk from one end to other in fifteen minutes tops. But it is this very strip of land that everyone, tourists and locals alike, flock to in the evening times to chill off in the cool sea breeze.

The beach in Pondicherry is not really a beach per se, as there is no sand that gently slopes into the water. Instead, what you get is a coast strewn with black rocks. I understand that they had to do this as the the sea is pretty deep near the coast and they need the rocks to break the waves. People are not advised to swim in the water here for the same reason. It’s quite a different experience, sitting on a rock, and watching and hearing the waves lash into more rocks below, the sprinkle from the clash sometimes rising up to six feet.


In a stroke of brilliance, the local police authorities have banned traffic on the promenade from evening 6:30 PM to 7 AM the next day. So it is pretty cool to come here in the evenings and just soak up the air unadulterated by the noisy vehicles and the smoke. I was in the beach (and aimlessly traipsing through the French Quarters) till about 5:30 PM and then I heard that the Alliance Français at 58, Rue Rufren, screens French films for free every Sunday at 6 PM. So I’d gone (following directions is so easy there) and found myself in a little auditorium at a little after six. It was moderately filled, a lot of faces foreign. They played an animated movie  Les Triplettes de Belleville, and I was blown away by the grittiness and the surrealism of it. It was very complex for an animated movie and I was spellbound from the very start. Ninety minutes well spent. 

Here’s a gallery of some of the other shots of the Promenade.

So anyway, by 8 PM I was back in the Promenade. The traffic was cut off as expected and it was brimming with people everywhere. I couldn’t even find a proper place to sit down. But I spent a good one hour there and then went over to Pasta Bar Veneto for some…wait for it…Pasta! It was priced slightly higher but it was the best damned Pasta I’d ever eaten! They even heeded my request and made it more spicy than usual. That and a chilled beer and I was ready to turn in for the night.

Next morning, I was ready for some French food. There are a handful of cafes that server your basic French fare but I was told that if I wanted to try it all, then there was no place better to go than Baker Street on Rue De Bussy. It is a moderate joint that is famous for its French delicacies. They have a huge spread of sweet as well as savory items but my eyes instantly locked on to the croissants and the puff pastries. The Chocolatine, in particular, looked delicious! Just imagine a puff pastry with a chocolate sauce filling! I pointed it out to the lady over the counter and she asked “Would you like it warm, sir?” I squealed a little inside and replied “YES PLEASE!!” Imagine again, a warm puff pastry with warm chocolate sauce inside. Holy moly!

And this is what I finally settled down with, an Eclairs Vanille and a Chocolatine with a Sweet Lime juice on the side. 🙂 I could have this everyday!!

Nom nom nom

After that delightful breakfast, I was up for some peaceful time so I visited the Romain Rollard Library that has a great collection of books, especially on the town’s history.

A couple of strolls after that, followed by lunch at The Indian Kafé Express, and it was time to start my return journey to Chennai again. I gave one wistful glance at the sea and the streets before I finally made my way to the bus stop. And then I come across this on the road –


I couldn’t have agreed more.

A trip to Pondichéry – Part 1 – India’s French Connection

There is a cycle. Once every six months, my feet start to itch in a hunger for travel. And satiate it, I must. Travel is something I enjoy immensely, as it gives me a recharge like nothing else. I just hope I can keep this wanderlust intact till the end of times (or the zombie apocalypse, whichever comes first :P).

Considering that the last trip I’d been to has been in January, it was time for another adventure into the unknown and there I was at Pondicherry on a short two-day trip. There seems to be a lot going on everywhere in the city, in every nook and corner. I guess it’s gonna take me a lot more visits to completely cover this place. But at least, due to my well-planned itinerary I was able to visit most of the important stuff in my trip. I consider this time as more of an ice-breaker.

A little note on Pondicherry: Initially a French colony and now a Union Territory of India, Pondicherry (aka Puducherry) has the quintessential makings of a quaint European town. I don’t know if any other place in India can give off the same vibes. Always teeming with tourists (more foreign), Pondi feels ever lively and vibrant. One more reason for the vibrancy being the yellow (more like ochre) façade on a lot of buildings. I never realized what great a color this is, and it transported me into an other place and time. This definitely is not India.

Presenting: The French Quarters

Charming. Idyllic. Bright colored houses. French Street signs. Almost deserted roads. And quiet cafés. It feels as if the time has frozen amidst these narrow roads and elegant houses.

I mean, just look at this!

Rue de Bussy

Pondicherry has a clear division between the Tamil Town and the French Town, a little sewer separating them both. The Tamil Town looks like any other Indian town and it’s hard to believe that only a handful of blocks later, the place completely transforms itself as you step into the French town. It is also closer to the seashore, which adds one more feather to its cap.

You can do a DIY stroll through the French Town beginning at the south-end of the beach and going in zig zag through the lanes that are arranged in a neat grid (which if you ask me is non-existent in the more organically grown Indian cities). You can end your walk at the imposing yellow building on the north-end of the beach which is the French Institute. I was simply awe-struck by this one.

What’s important is taking your time as you explore these parts, looking at those curiously curved iron grills, the big windows, the bright paints. And if you ever feel a little parched, step into the numerous little cafes at every turn that serve good coffee/tea and simple French food.

Oh, and one more curious thing that delighted me were the Street signs. Looks like the locals did not bother changing them when the French left (and just as well), so I had a lot of fun reading up all the names of the Rues (that’s roads in French). By the way, did I mention that I studied French for two years? 🙂 My spoken French is pretty bad but I can pretty much understand most of what is written. One more reason why I love this place.

Because ‘Dumas Street’ is just too mainstream.

I’ve created a little gallery below with some photos of the streets (and the signs, I went absolutely crazy on them). Hope you enjoy it. Click on any photo to open gallery.


In a stroke of serendipity, today’s Photo 101 theme is Connect. 

Part 2 coming up soon with other explorations of mine!

Chilling Out

I’m glad I finally got a photo to put up for this Friday’s Photo 101 prompt: Solitude

Because stray dogs do live in solitude, fending for themselves against all odds. This cute little one seemed to enjoy the shade, in what had been a hot and humid afternoon.

And yes, this was taken in Pondicherry today in the French Quarters 🙂 I’m having a jolly good time and will post more pictures from my explorations later.