Like many of the places I’ve been in India, Pondicherry is a place I returned to twice. Only the second time around, it actually felt like the first time. Mostly because the first time I was extremely sick, and spent a good amount of time recovering in a hospital, and then later with a friend of my family. I barely got to see anything.
In a recent post, I wrote about my visit to the Sivananda Ashram in Varkala, and how my second visit with my life partner Chris helped me to recognize how I was trying to repeat my first trip to India 5 years before. That experience reminded me that although I was extremely excited to show Chris everything that had made that first trip memorable, there was a lot of value in discovering a new place together.
Which is what happened in Pondicherry.
We had just left the ashram, and we made our way to this colonial town with a sort of ‘laissez faire’ attitude. Let’s just see what happens. We planned to stay for about a week.
Pondicherry is a pretty walkable town, and is right beside the water. It’s filled with some absolutely beautiful architecture, and it has continued to hold onto many remnants of French culture – there are even some French language speakers. One of my favourite places, was a very cute boutique called ‘Nirvana Shop’, which featured a selection of local art and accessories. Right next door to that, was a French-inspired café where we spent some of our mornings.
On one of the days of our visit, Chris and I parted ways to explore Pondicherry on our own. There was a women’s expo in town, and I decided to take a look. I made some friends there who helped translate, as everything was written in their local language. I learned about a traditional Indian art called rangoli (pictured to the left), and even tried out the technique myself. They use it to decorate the ground for special occasions, like New Years eve.
More and more, I’m beginning to realize that it’s all out of your control. Life is going to happen the way it happens, and maybe the best you can do is go along for the ride.
For my very first backpacking trip, I connected with a good friend (and seasoned traveller) to explore Colombia. I was in University at the time, getting my degree in Biology. I hadn’t even started to consider a career as a jewelry designer, although looking back… I think this experience may have ignited a flame.