Why Travelling To Pondicherry Was The Best Decision Of My Life

Raica Mathews Raica Mathews in Let's Face It on 20 February, 2017

Not too long ago, I was caught up in a job that drained me out mentally and physically. I was caught in an endless cycle infused with alcohol and hours of self-loathing over what my life had come to. Like many, I also had dreams. A big house by the sea. A personal chef who'd make me anything that my heart desires. Late dinners with friends and a tall glass of red wine. Well it’s still a dream.

I am 25 now and have been pursuing this fantasy of what I want my life to be for over a decade now, putting myself in a situation that is “risque” and trying to constantly evolve with the environment around me. However, I always seem to fall a tad bit short. I will credit that part to my laziness and my love for Netflix.

Ecstatic that I made it out of Mumbai. There I found myself caught in the web, where I was clearly failing. So when I heard from a friend who had just got back home from a 2-year long journey in New Zealand, we instantly decided that we needed to get out and see our own country first.


Well, I cannot emphasise enough on my personal desire to get out of India while growing up. I was always looking for ways to get out of India and live in another country. I haven’t been able to figure out what it was that gave me this urge to want to run away to far off lands. The idea of a fresh start has always captivated me.

Call it a quarter life crisis — the realisation that I have spent years chasing my dreams and trying to live like the character in my head got me nowhere. It made me realise that it was time to step back into reality.

So I stepped outside of my comfort zone into the beautiful India. The warm air that hits you when you cross the border to the colourful city of Chennai while your eyes are treated to a wide range of uniquely distinctive characters of people. You will feel happiness, distress and a whole range of contradictory emotions as you sit in a not so comfortable bus seat, which is what we took on our journey there .

On arrival, we felt almost euphoric with the freedom that we had recently acquired by making this decision. The hostel that we chose to spend our days at was quaint and had just enough utilities for you to be able to take in the environment around you.

Here is what happened next — after sipping a warm cup of ginger lemon tea while lazing on a porch and watching a cow walk past me every 10 mins, I was suddenly at peace and no longer felt the pressure of achieving those dreams in my head.

A fairly skinny looking lad from Quebec, Canada introduced himself to me who came to be my companion and friendly advisor on all the different queries that I had about life. Julien — part time cigarette break buddy and life advisor.

Down the street from our new home, to the left was a sweet little spot where an elderly couple served amazing crisp dosas and the most explosive chutney we had ever tasted. Also, stupendously delicious. That came to be our breakfast spot for days to come. .

While to the right from our little home in this quaint town of Auroville was an elderly woman who we referred to as "Amachi", which means grandma in Tamil. Like all grandmothers, there was wisdom in her words and warmth in her smile. She only spoke Tamil and we didn’t know a word of what she said yet we spent five minutes every day with her, exchanging pleasantries and enjoying the warm cuppa coffee she served us. 

These little things are what I missed back in my city. There wasn’t a connect anymore with people. There was simply an exchange of monotony and lack of emotions, which now I value a lot more than the need to have a huge apartment and materialistic pleasures .

And that's what made this place such a refreshing and life changing experience for me.

Author's Note:

Trust the still, small voice that says, “this might work and I’ll try it”. ~ Diane Mariechild

Editor's Note:

Sometimes all you need is a break from the monotony, share this story if you really need one!