AshimSen

93 months ago

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Pondicherry for Lunch

Distance: 294.6 Km / 183.6 Mi Duration: 08:10:53

DAY 6/7 - CHENNAI & PONDICHERRY

Today I should have been riding towards Machalipatnam but as fates decree I had stay back in Chennai & make some tough devisions. My bike had clutch issues & it went to the Triumph Showroom in Chennai to be serviced. My bike was delivered to me the next day & the Triumph engineer did a fab job, the clutch was working fabulously. While my bike was being serviced I had to go for a work-meeting post which I realised that I had to take a break in my biking journey as I have work in Chennai on 24th August. Since the quantum of work is huge, the journey has to take a break & resume post 24th. With a heavy heart not only did I call it off but got back to work mode. Now I have to stay back in Chennai till Tuesday (big weekend across the country as 15th August is Independence day).

Suddenly I remembered that Mishtu Sreenanda Shankar Mish is in Pondicherry on a muted holiday (her doctor has advised her to be mute so that her throat infection can heal) so I invited myself over for Lunch. Graciously she accepted as its an Indian thing to do. She made her darling husband Gev Satarawalla add an extra head to the reservation. The communication happened in sign language (remember she is mute). This restaurant is so famed for its delectable cuisine that one has to book in advance. For us guys of Bombay this is a strange, phenomenon we generally walk in and expect to be seated & served - Its called Bombay EGO. We can afford this attitude because our local hoteliers are from Udipi, Karnataka & not France. Reservation has a whole different for them & could range from Train reservation to College admission reservation). Anyways... lunch time was set at 1:00 pm in Le Dupleix.

I started off from Chennai at around 9:30am immediately post breakfast for my 1:00pm lunch. The route I chose was the East Coast Highway and my destination was a shade under 150 kms each way. This highway traverses through an amazing landscape where the road (highway) is running along the shore for most parts. The highway is well maintained thou some parts are undergoing routine maintainence. After reaching Pondicherry I hit traffic as the revellers were out on the road enjoying their long weekend.

I crossed Mahabalipuram, the destination where I had curtailed my previous bike journey & nostalgia hit me. Economical progress & thousands of beach-villas were visible that did not exist in 2015 Feb. Booming economy will have constructive side effects. The once scenic lands now have a villa owned by a person who will hardly ever stay there, its a status symbol. Currently its a very cheap to have a Villa on the East coast compared to the west coast.

Finally I reached the hotel around 12:45 with a very difficult name (pronunciation of french words is beyond the realm of this old man from the Marathi land) 'Le Dupliex'. The website of the hotel describes it as "Situated in the heart of the old “Ville Blanche” (white town) of French Pondicherry, at 5 Rue de la Caserne, is one of India’s most striking designer hotels. Constructed in the 18th century as the residence of the Mayor of Pondicherry, the building stands white and majestic on an important corner of the French town. It is located just a few blocks from the shimmering waters of Bay of Bengal and Pondicherry's famous leafy park. The central shopping district is just around the corner, too, as are a number of restaurants and coffee shops."

Gev, Mishtu's ever-smiling-half was there and I was introduced to Mishtu's cousin Malbika, her husband Aditya & their son Kush. It was a perfect setting for an amazing lunch. Our table had the whole assortment of the delicacies that the hotel had to offer. Our orders ranged from steak (medium rare of course), Lobster, Calamari, Red Snapper & Prawns. I must say it not only looked fab but it tasted heavenly. The afternoon lunch turned out to be a memorable affair.
Aditya is based out of Bangalore & from him I gleaned out how Pondicherry has changed over the years. It's French part getting more Indian & how the past french-heritage is now a distant memory.

Our laid back lunch got over around 3:30pm, I reached my hotel in Chennai at 6:30pm with the sun setting in my rear view mirror. I must say it was a great day & an amazing memory I will always cherish it all credits to Mishtu, Gev, Malabika, Aditya & Kush.

Tomorrow on Independence day I plan to travel to Mahabalipuram for lunch, lets see how that pans out.

Total Distance covered : 198 kms Total Distance from Mumbai : 1617.7 kms

Shaded ride

Shaded ride

The sea side is never far from the road

The sea side is never far from the road

Sunset on the way back

Sunset on the way back

My lunch was steak

My lunch was steak

Lobster

Lobster

Calamari

Calamari

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