On the move again. My last 3 weeks in India I spend in the south. Flying to Chennai, taking a bus to Pondicherry, a bus to Bangalore, Mysuru and then…who knows. As I am traveling alone, still unemployed, and just because it’s more fun, im trying to minimize my spending. So from the Chennai airport im taking an old, local bus to the main busstand from where another bus will bring me to Pondicherry. 200 rupees in total, quite a contrast with the 3000 they offered me at the airport taxi service.
Pondicherry is green, colourful, and wet. It is a wonderful city with European allure. Art cafe’s, croissants and French street names. The French have clearly left their mark. In a little part of town called ‘white town’ that is. Because as soon as you cross the HM Kassim salai you are full fledged back in India. Honking, chaos, but also delicious street food. I buy some food and the girl is encouraged to say “merci” and she giggles shamefully. Further down the street I meet 3 girls from Delhi. They are here on a weekend trip and ask me if I know a cheap place to stay. “Oh my god, so weird we are asking a foreigner this”.
Sitting quietly at the inner garden of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, unexpectedly tears run slowly down my cheeks, while thinking about the last 5 months in India. It has been incredibly intense in the complete spectrum of emotions. Making new friends, losing dreams, enriching friendships, seeing beautiful places, feeling hurt, angry, happy and loved.
On my way to Mysuru I make a one day stop in Bangalore. Arriving with mixed feelings, as this is again a big Indian city, im struck by this place. The whole experience of only 24 hours has been one to remember. Arriving at 6 in the morning I crash in the living room of my hostel. A few hours later one of the bunk beds is available, I take a shower and head out for coffee, followed by a flea market, a hunt for street art, and finally a beer and the India-England cricket match. Two hip looking guys invite me for a drink at their table and explain, once again, the rules of the game. I am slowly starting to get it, but the best part is the enthusiasm and intensity with which the Indians watch the game. Back in my hostel there is a stand up comedy performance. Indian humor is all about seks, drugs, and Old Monk (local rum). See, we are all the same, everywhere in the world.
Bangalore has really gotten to me. It is an incredible city. Sure, also with too much traffic, endless unfinished construction, and chaos. But there is something else. A lightness, a powerful group of young ambitious people, and most of all friendliness. At the flea market im talking to an amazing fashion designer who in the end says, “yes, India is not perfect, but we are the ones who need to change it, no one else will, darling”. And with these words and 24 hours in this city, I might have found a new love in India.