Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘A Vibrant Life!’ Category

When Kalidasa speaks of Summer in Ritusamhara, he not only talks of the hot and dusty earth but also of the comfort of fountains and lily ponds, the moonlit nights spent either on cold slabs of marble or on terraces, the expectations of a good monsoon soon to follow and the affairs of the heart. He touches upon the manner in which lovers prepare for courtship in this harsh season. The use of fragrant flowers and sandal paste gets mentioned. The mention of soft sounds of the anklets worn by lissome damsels fires up one’s imagination.

The poet might as well have alluded to the kind of summer that Pondicherry offers. Howsoever oppressive the heat may feel during the first half of the day, late afternoon onwards, a cool breeze starts blowing in from the sea-side. The trees start swaying with gay abandon. The lily ponds can be forgotten. As the sun starts packing up its bags for a night’s well earned rest and repose, denizens rush to the promenade and enjoy a leisurely stroll thereat.

If the tender coconuts on offer provide succour to a hapless traveller by the day, small garlands made up of fragrant jasmine flowers provide a welcome relief during the evening hours. One’s olfactory senses kick in. The soul drives solace. The colour of either the skin or the hair, which wears such a garland and boasts of such a treat to one’s senses, no longer matters. The mere thought of a leisurely stroll which comes with the perks of an intoxicating aroma wafting in frequently lifts one’s soggy spirits no end.

Vendors peddling frozen desserts and ice creams of all sizes and shapes laugh all the way to their respective banks. Those dishing out fruit juices and smoothies also do brisk business. Owners of outdoor cafes miss their normal rush of customers, who prefer to pop up instead at restaurants which offer air-conditioned comfort. Hotels boasting of swimming pools are hard pressed to accommodate guests who would like to take the plunge. Boutiques which offer organically made perfumes often run out of supplies. Those selling cotton garments never complain of any slackness in their business.

Like the poet envisages, cool rays of moonlight provide great comfort late in the evenings. Just lying on one’s terrace and looking up at the moon makes one forget the harshness of the hot and humid days. The sheer expanse of twinkling stars leaves one invigorated. The skies are invariably clear and one can easily see distant constellations.

The reasons for Pondicherry being attractive during summers are not hard to find. The place is small in size and one does not waste much time commuting from one place to the next. Even though it offers metropolitan comforts, it is not a concrete jungle. Mother Nature still holds sway. Environment is clean. People are friendly and cool.

An early morning dip in the sea perks one up no end. So do boat rides, surf riding and scuba diving. The crowds are lesser, making it a good time to enjoy a peaceful vacation in this little town. With lesser number of people swarming at the beaches, one can enjoy one’s private space at most public places.

As someone who has lived in Pondicherry for over two decades, one finds that the summers were almost 2 degrees cooler in the past than what one finds these days. My favourite spot is a neem tree in the backyard of my house, where I can devour a Blandings story dished out by P G Wodehouse, with a kettle full of green tea by my side, duly accompanied by some cookies.

I am sure you have perfected your own methods of enjoying the summer in Pondicherry. Feel free to share your ideas with me!

(Images courtesy www)

(A version of this appears here: https://www.pondylive.com/simple-pleasures-of-a-pondicherry-summer-starry-nights-sea-breeze-sweat-and-surf)

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

ashokbhatia

In our lives, UBS played the role of a dynamic and bustling airport,
From which we soared in life´s azure skies, enjoying our flights of high
import;
Some took to exploring various corners of our Mother Earth,
Of CEOs, diplomats, businessmen and bankers amongst us there is no dearth.

While in UBS’ hallowed portals, we enjoyed bunking classes,
The brainy ones worked on assignments which were copied by the masses;
Cornering important books from the Central Library was a critical vocation,
For poking fun at our faculty, Student Centre was the prime location.

OB theories and riddles of Sales Forecasting kept us on our toes,
Figuring out Quantitative Techniques made us feel abysmal lows;
Twiddling our thumbs to read between the lines of a Balance Sheet,
Devouring the works of Philip Kotler was much up our street.

Weekend treks to Kasauli and Morni Hills were favourite gigs,
Midnight gorging on…

View original post 69 more words

Read Full Post »

Those who happen to be offering medical succour in the private mode at Pondicherry are always a delighted lot. The city and its environs enable a steady supply of patients to them at all times of the year.

Absence of adequate parks and public spaces discourages long brisk walks. Ready availability of tissue restoratives of an alcoholic nature further compounds the problem. Pleasures of the table often override other considerations.

An early onset of diabetes sets in, leaving the few cardiac specialists, endocrinologists and diabetologists in the pink of financial health. Those practicing general medicine and dentistry can be found twiddling their thumbs, trying to manage the crowds of eager patients rushing to their doorsteps. Ophthalmologists, nephrologists and urologists also have no reason to complain of any slackness in business.

Couples in the reproductive age group do not shy away from their bounden duty to keep the species of Homo sapiens alive and kicking. This explains the overflowing waiting rooms in the clinics of those who specialize in Obstetrics and gynaecology. It follows that practicing pediatricians are never short of customers willing to top up their coffers.

The wide range of cuisine that is on offer is exotic indeed. Owners of eateries, roadside stalls and lavishly furnished dining halls of jazzy restaurants and hotels can be found laughing all the way to their banks. But Pondicherry’s gifts to our gastric juices also end up enriching another tribe – that of gastroenterologists.

The municipal authorities ensure that pavements in key shopping areas of Pondicherry either remain cluttered with start-ups of all kinds peddling their wares or are in a perennial state of disrepair. The primary benefit of these uneven pavements reaches the limited number of orthopedic doctors and clinics in the town.

Add to this the singular reluctance of two-wheeler drivers to wear helmets, and one realizes why the hapless neurosurgeons also wear a constipated look and have dark circles below their eyes most of the times.

The per capita availability of educational seats and the corresponding jobs available to the youth of Pondicherry continue to be inversely related. Frustration builds up early. Understandably, the place gets labeled as the suicide capital of India. But practicing psychiatrists could be seen pulling their own hair out in their tax consultant’s offices year after year, trying to minimize their tax payouts.

Trying to make a career choice these days? Consider the option of becoming a doctor and setting up shop in Pondicherry. You shall be handsomely rewarded.

 

Read Full Post »

 

Pondicherry offers spiritual spots where you can meditate,

Also, watering holes which make your spirits levitate;

Pondicherry beckons you several times in a year,

So you may know something about wines and beer;

 

A unique bliss, a strong kick, soaring high,

Once you relish some Scotch and rye;

In a metro, as a hassled techie, you face a lot of strife,

Here, a whiskey and soda may restore your belief in life;

 

Problems on the job could have given you the blues,

Some tissue restoratives down the hatch may offer some clues;

A recent break up could have dampened your spirits,

A spirit-soaked sojourn may help to forget the nasty bits;

 

A lime daiquiri could help you to celebrate a success better,

Unless your credit card is blocked, says your bank’s letter;

Peaceful and responsible boozers this city does not mind,

Sozzling up guests running away from their daily grind;

 

Your sorrows in vodka and champagne you may drown,

But speeding on the beach road attracts a policeman’s frown;

Mixing driving with drinking is surely a sin,

Cruise along without the aid of any rum and gin;

 

If you misbehave with females post your spirited binge,

Hearing of unpleasant consequences may make you cringe;

If the idea is to discover that a Margarita is not a wine,

There is not much fun in attracting a fine;

 

Creating a public nuisance is just not done,

Unless you want others to think you had many more than one;

Sleepy bovines lumbering along on streets may not utter a cry,

But they follow Gandhian ideas and are strictly dry;

 

Dogs chasing you may sound pickled in rum,

But sinless they live, expecting you to keep mum;

Cats crossing your way may look drowsy with a martini,

They might just neglect you, treating you like a genie;

 

Even if you come over with a juicy idea of simply doing nothing,

Lazing about after a couple of shots could be just your thing.

 

Forget your troubles, wipe away those tears,

When you come to Pondicherry, just say ‘Cheers’!

Read Full Post »

Pondicherry has a unique charm for people of different hues, sizes, shapes, ethnicity and faiths. Some drive down with the singular purpose of unwinding and experiencing a spirit-ed upliftment of sorts. But many others pop up over a weekend, merely to soak in its spiritual ambience. Some hang around a wee bit longer, so as to be able to experience its spiritual vibrations. Many others keep coming back and even decide to settle in the city or its surroundings.

Spirituality and religion form an integral part of the allure of Pondicherry. Other than many spiritual hotspots and historic temples which it can justifiably boast of, the place is a spring-board of sorts for many places which would please a spiritual seeker as well as a religious devotee.

Of Spiritual Enlightenment

Besides meditating at either the Shri Aurobindo Ashram or the Matri Mandir, one can experience a heady spiritual upliftment merely by sitting quietly at a secluded place on the beach; being in communion with Mother Nature, aptly represented by the greenish blue waters of the Bay of Bengal.

Seeing the relentless rolling in of waves, deeply inhaling the salty air, pouring out one’s heart to the endless sea, watching the sun or the moon rise, following the movements of seagulls flying by – all these help one to attain a state of inner calm. Batteries get charged up. One can get back to one’s materialistic pursuits with a renewed vigour.

A dynamic awakening

But spiritual awakening comes about not only by adopting a static practice like meditation. It also has a dynamic dimension, which manifests itself through the mundane experiences of life.

Consider the unique experience of driving on the Pondicherry roads. It teaches one the virtues of Humility and Courage. When a millennial on his racing bike overtakes one from the left, one’s Receptivity improves. Bovines squatting on the roads quietly assert their democratic rights over whatever little road space is on offer, thereby teaching one the value of Equality. When a bus driver who believes he is driving an auto rickshaw instead suddenly honks from the side, a sense of Generosity coupled with the fear of life and limb helps one to offer him a right of way. The auto driver who delves unduly deep into the pockets of a lay visitor to Pondicherry also imparts a valuable instruction in Generosity.

Finding a parking space on the main thoroughfares needs loads of Perseverance. Upon a hapless pedestrian avoiding being run over by a speeding car, a sense of Gratitude towards the Divine descends. Sincerity of purpose is required while crossing a narrow road where two wheelers use a two-way as a four-way lane. When a traffic cop endowed with a stiff-upper-lip takes a lenient view of one’s inadvertent adventures on the road, vibrations of Goodness can be felt. When one has battled through the streets and reached one’s abode safely, a sense of Peace prevails.

Overall, one makes Spiritual Progress. One’s level of Aspiration goes up a notch higher. One learns the true meaning of Surrender to the Divine.

Even if one misses meditating at the twelve petals of Matri Mandir, each representing the qualities mentioned above, there is no cause for worry. Driving on local roads can also be an enlightening experience.

For Religious Succour

Ardent devotees of Lord Shiva treat Pondicherry as a part of the southern ‘Pancha-bhoota’ circuit, comprising Kalahasti (Air), Kancheepuram (Earth), Tiruvannamalai (Fire), Chidambaram (Ether/Space) and Trichy (Water). As an architectural marvel, the Big Temple at Thanjavur is not too far off. Overnight trains can transport one to Madurai, Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari in a jiffy.

 

Those who revere Lord Vishnu just need to head to the famous Ranganathaswamy temple at Trichy and experience its strong vibrations. Kumbakonam offers a heady concoction of many deities who are eager to bestow their grace on any of their believers who choose to get benefited. Some who wish to specifically appease Lord Shani head to the famous temple at Karaikal.

The dargah at Nagore offers solace to those seeking upliftment of a Sufi kind. The church at Velankanni is not too far off.

Irrespective of the faith one professes, Pondicherry and its vicinity offer a wide spectrum of uplifting options.

With the Union Government recently pitching in for burnishing this facet of Pondicherry in the years ahead, blissful days are surely ahead.

Brand Pondicherry

Brand Pondicherry has many attributes. A cosmopolitan culture. Metro-like facilities in a small-town framework. Warm people. Excellent education. Great medical support. A thriving hospitality and services sector. Yoga. Ease of meeting public officials. And like the proverbial icing on the cake, spiritual enlightenment and religious succour.

Take your pick and experience the myriad colours of the rainbow called Pondicherry!

(A crisper version of this article can be found at http://www.pondylive.com/pondicherry-for-spiritual-upliftment-2)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/pondicherry-a-certain-sense-of-gallic-glory-gone-by

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/pondicherry-the-little-indie-french-town

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/the-element-of-wisdom-in-management-a-seminar-at-pondicherry

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/the-travails-of-a-non-resident-pondicherryite

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/movies-with-a-puducherry-connection)

Read Full Post »

In our lives, UBS played the role of a dynamic and bustling airport,
From which we soared in life´s azure skies, enjoying our flights of high
import;
Some took to exploring various corners of our Mother Earth,
Of CEOs, diplomats, businessmen and bankers amongst us there is no dearth.

While in UBS’ hallowed portals, we enjoyed bunking classes,
The brainy ones worked on assignments which were copied by the masses;
Cornering important books from the Central Library was a critical vocation,
For poking fun at our faculty, Student Centre was the prime location.

OB theories and riddles of Sales Forecasting kept us on our toes,
Figuring out Quantitative Techniques made us feel abysmal lows;
Twiddling our thumbs to read between the lines of a Balance Sheet,
Devouring the works of Philip Kotler was much up our street.

Weekend treks to Kasauli and Morni Hills were favourite gigs,
Midnight gorging on the greasy omelettes at PGI gate like pigs;
Catching up with first day first show of Bollywood flicks was the norm,
Securing high Class Participation marks invariably kept us in form.

(UBS stands for University Business School, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India, from where your truly completed his MBA in 1976. This composition has also been shared on the Facebook page of UBS).

(One of the several related posts: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/10/01/the-class-of-1976-how-it-managed-to-get-suspended-for-a-week)

Read Full Post »

Your every ping

Makes my heart sing

 

A chat a day

Keeps blues away

 

Through emoticon

The heart is won

 

Your status update

Could seal my fate

 

Your profile pix

Is a heady mix

 

Of hot and sweet

I follow your tweet

 

And WhatsApp too

I follow you

 

On the Facebook

It is no fluke

 

That (your) every post

I like the most

 

On mails we chat

Of this and that

 

Until at last

Oh! Meet we must

 

Then I awake

Your profiles fake!

 

And all your pings

Of sweet nothings

 

Went out en masse

Alack! Alas!

 

My pal, my bro, my boss, my dad!

All got them, we’ve all been had!

 

And if all this has taught something,

Never ever trust a BBM ping.

(Soumya Mukherjee is an alumnus of St Stephens College and Delhi School of Economics. He earns his daily bread by working for a PSU Insurance company, and lectures for peanuts. His other passions, family, friends, films, travel, food, trekking, wildlife, music, theater, and occasionally, writing. He has been published in many national newspapers of repute. He has published his first novel, Memories, a novella, hopefully, the first of his many books. He blogs as well.

His permission to re-post this composition is gratefully acknowledged. It can also be found at http://www.differenttruths.com/literature/poems/ode-to-social-media)

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »