We have now lived in White Town, Puducherry for a little while and I thought I would write about some of the first impressions and things that are happening in this faraway place.
A great way of experiencing White Town as a newcomer is simply to walk around the town. It is really the tale of two cities! Divided into French and indian parts, as it was a French colony until 1954.
Our school is in the French part and our house is in the middle between French and Indian. You take a right and you get the feeling of being in a quiet French small town. You take a left and you see the more exotic India that one reads about or sees on television. With scooters and Rickshaws honking at all time, cows eating whatever lies on the ground and the smells of spicy food.
I took an afternoon walk in the Indian part after reading about the theories of structural violence, to perhaps lighten the mood a little. I first walked down to the beach where one could feel a “cold” breeze from the ocean. Then I walked towards the more densely populated area in Puducherry, presenting all the colours of the rainbow from lime green to dark purple! Colours from the houses, the fresh fruits and vegetables, and also from the Laundry hanging outside the many doors. There are cows and dogs and people everywhere. Children playing with marbles and chickens running around between their legs. This comes across as very chaotic , but the impressions give off a very friendly and interesting vibe! The people are more than willing to have a chat with the little English that they know and the ten words of Tamil that I can stutter.
After I came out of the neighborhood I stopped for a quick cup of chai at one of the many stalls around town. The chai is way sweeter than one is used to back home, and the way they make it is a lot of fun to watch; the way they stir in the milk and pour it from jug to jug to mix in the tea and sugar.
Before my little walk went to its end I went to the Ganesha-temple and gave a couple of rupees to the Elephant! In return he put his trunk on the top of my head, as a blessing. This is rather scary, elephants are big animals, but very exciting!
Puducherry is diverse and colourful, we are all looking forward to experiencing more of the south Indian culture, with its vast option of places to eat, beaches to surf and swim at and many festivals!