happnin' pondicherry, India - doomed

Yolanda’s bit
Two hours bus south to Pondicherry town, French ex-colony, Union Territory, Independent Estate. French flavor is on your face. Pretty amiable town by the sea, has enough happening to trap you for a while. It's also the good news place. New Vaio is on its way! We'll pick it up in Trivandrum (opposite coast) in a few days. And finally the first money rent for my flat in London has gone through after so much delay.

Everything in Pondy, hotels, cafes, smoking habits (non smoking everywhere), way of dressing, orbits around Sri Aurobindo Ashram. It's a bit disturbing. The Ashram is a beautiful flower garden smelling tomb. We spend three days here and on the last evening we bump into a music - dance festival pretty amusing.
After two hours wait under the torturing loud violent voice of some Indian bloke who keeps screaming God knows what about Mahatma Ghandi, the show starts.

Odissa traditional dance is very aesthetic. Every few minutes the dance comes to a still of a beautifully arranged human-costume-make up set up full of Indian mystic symbolism.
In between these traditional dances there's Indian super energetic girl in jeans and T-shirt bouncing and waving to this very popular Indian song and also the fabulous Michael Jackson bloke dancing with the other Indian bloke who keeps his traditional style. Amazing mix.

Next morning is systematic packing up which has become an approximately one hour systematic ritual. Everything still fits in our surprisingly small and compact one year rucksack and handbag. We've got two new huge pieces of foam to pack in for Vaio. Then bank.
The morning is really heavy, the atmosphere is charged with electricity, rain, heat and dust. I collapse. Faint-like, sick, weak.

At 3pm we catch a sleeper 22 hours train to Trivandrum. East to west coast, really south. On the train, 99% Indians, everybody seems to get themselves very busy with nothing for hours until 7, when everybody starts getting the beds ready. This consists of lowering the backs of the sofa-seats and fitting the bedding. They spend around 2 hours doing this.
Indian thali is served. By ten everyone is sleeping. I spend some time reading and looking through the window in my enclosed coffin. The tracketing of the train leads me nicely into sleep.

In the morning, another few hours getting up, undoing the bedding, folding up seats, combing hair. Tea and coffee boys make inexhaustible rounds up and down the coaches.

Miles’s bit