04 December, 2020

Music In Rue Dumas

A slim volume engagingly rounds up all the quirky cosmopolitanism of Pondicherry

Music In Rue Dumas

I have spent most of my school summer vacations in Pondiche­rry. My paternal grandfather ran a lodge-cum-canteen there and I had dozens of uncles, aunts and cousins of all ages. We would hurtle down the sleepy little lanes in cycles, getting our hands burning with boils as we tried to rip open the cashew kernel from the milky fruit in a nearby plantation and, of course, every afternoon walk down to the beach, splash around in the sea till it was dark and return home with the sandy slippers in our hands.

For a long time, Pondicherry for me was just like any other Tamil town, with its men in lungis and women with cloying jasmine, ‘Meals Ready’ ‘Ootels’ and the blazing, white sun, though there would be some curious differences: the cycle-rickshawallah or bus conductor would address my father as ‘misa’ (derived from monsieur), not ‘saar’ like in Madras, the streets were ‘roo’ (rue) and Bastille Day was a big deal, which would fall while we were there in the summer. Years later, when friends talked of the...



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