1. “French Riviera”
A thick carpet of auburn-green pines,
tilting to the right as sentinels of the night –
swayed ever so slight in sensual delight
in serenading grey waves guiding my drive.
The ashen sea, a glinting bed of charcoal –
with a midday Sun fuelling its glittering sheath:
on it waves as boats on canvas, bob prominently
as if in an exhibition of oil paintings of galaxies.
A smooth metal highway runs with the breeze,
past coloured shrines embodying Tamil pride –
with colourful deities startling from their edifices
the clustered crucifixes identifying souls apart.
It’s a Chennai Saturday morning, in late February
when we’ve set out on this drive to Pondicherry –
a favourite weekend trip to this Union Territory
retaining essences of an erstwhile French Colony.
A heritage bed-and-breakfast motel we check into
with its bright yellow facade, French style woodwork –
with a balustrade balcony, cane-blinds and fixtures;
in White Town, near the sea and Aurobindo ashram.
This coastal town, reminiscent of my boarding school,
in Chandannagar – a riverside erstwhile French enclave
shapes my rootedness, cultural tastes, and attitudes –
in upholding historical culture, with progressive views.
2. Saturday Night Fever: at “Rendezvous”
Red and black are the colours of the balmy night –
attired as they’re in a svelte red dress and black suit:
the young female vocalist alongside a male violinist,
serenading us with multilingual, modern and old tunes.
It’s a breezy rooftop cafe, twinkling with fairy lights
twirled around railings separating the promenade at night,
from which a musky seaside smell permeates the air –
aromatic flowers infused with light drizzle, a cocktail create.
There’s a charming, old fashioned gaiety in the air
as young and old enthusiastically whisper their requests –
to the violinist prancing table to table to fetch them,
strumming with dramatic moves to amuse little children.
There are tables lining the railing, dotting the terrace –
it’s top is covered, the sides allow a spectacular sea view:
vases; square lanternlike candle stands adorn tables,
flushing faces, fluttering hearts of several young couples.
I’ve been here twice before, both times for lunch,
but this trip to Pondicherry is far from what I envisioned
as we’re here in Chennai on work – that’s not fun,
and this was a getaway to soothe our wreaked nerves.
The candle only on our table isn’t lit, making me panick –
is this a sign from god our stiff goal won’t be achieved:
but I extinguish negative thoughts, breathe from light within:
Such an evening, has to be a gift of hope of new beginnings!
3. “Savouring my Solitude”
An odd time it was – I strolled the handosme promenade,
four pm is too early for a cool breeze let alone sunset –
but after a night and an all morning out-of-season deluge
I just had to find my way outside in the sun or stifle indoors.
Watching the rain all morning batter the exquisite greenery,
through cane blinds, past French doors, windows – it’s a luxury:
but after noon the sun shone bright and dazzled my eyesight –
I realised it was a shame to be couped indoors in Pondicherry.
I set out to fetch oranges, coconut water – near the temple gates,
inspired by the guest house fetching us idlis and iddiyyapam –
after I asked for breakfast in the room once they’d served coffee,
though since Covid lockdown, they didn’t have provision for meals.
But the cobbled streets of White Town lured my steps beachward,
on sidewalks by French architecture, blooming pink-red bougainvillea:
even though my companion in the room wasn’t up to venturing out –
a charming walk drawn by the smell of sea and rain I couldn’t resist.
The broad stately promenade was sunny, scorching hot now,
as I walked down in the shade of the buildings, viewing the waves:
a few like me had ventured out – why waste a Sunday afternoon
when rains might return, wash out a sunset and evening’s pleasures .
A view I gauged from Aura cafe, made me take a seafacing seat,
to order a mixed vegetable sandwich with coffee, to drink the sights in,
but balloons of packeted pink candy floss riding pillion on a bicycle –
drew me to groups taking selfies, their backs to jaws of dragon waves.
My troubles now came rushing up with waves spitting fire, to swallow me –
yet nutritious solitude I savoured with each caramel cappuccino sip,
conscious, the world is unconcerned with the whirlwind I’m caught in:
thus strength I have to garner from deep within, to resuscitate my soul.
PS: The above lines were inspired by this trip two weeks back in the photos here in the link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10159490914989974&type=3
…wrote an initial hurried draft today for Women’s Day tomorrow…will add more to this and edit along the way.😌
The Sea and I, have a Spiritual connection☺️: I’ve always loved the mountains and preferred it to the sea when choosing a vacation. But it was the sea, this one precisely – that churned the depth and profundity in me and made me a poet. And most of my early poems are on the sea – between Chennai to Pondicherry, whatever the emotions I’ve woven into and around them.
Little did I know that the sky at dusk yesterday – would reflect my colours back to me – ones I’d found in the grey sea. 😜
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