Unlike the previous depression survival strageties that didn’t work, this one seems to have worked. So far.
Actually, just before we left for Pondy, I was in pretty bad shape. I really had my doubts about how I would manage the trip, what with the long drive and the girls being cooped up, and the court hearing and all. But then, it was not as though I had any option, so on Thursday morning we all piled into the car at 6 a.m. and by 6.15 we were on the road.
As we left the city, I think I left my depression behind too. We had decided to drive ourselves, not take a car and driver, and I drove the last 100 km. This was a big, big thing for me. The last time I drove on the highway, we were in the US. I smashed a Pontiac Grand Prix (flipped it 360 degrees, actually) and we were lukcy to escape unhurt. It’s an accident that I still have nightmares about. In India, 100 km takes 2-3 hours (especially with an extra 20 km detour for a wrong turn) and I was tense the whole time. But we survived.
Pondy was hot and humid and the hotel room was icy cold. Somehow, the girls didn’t catch cold, though Amit did.
Our lawyer was actually mostly human this time round. She even almost smiled once. Plus she answered all our questions, and patiently explained the whole convoluted process about two or three times over so that we now feel thoroughly confused (whereas we earlier only felt completely in the dark).
We spent from about 9.45 till about 11.45 in the courthouse. It was tough keeping the girls entertained and sort-of quiet, but we had a bit of help from all the strangers who were milling around.
Since we had a whole extra day in hand, we decided to drive to Auroville and Auro beach. The beach was a fiasco. Though the girls had enjoyed the swimming pool when we took them several months ago, they hated the beach. The didn’t like the feel of the wet sand on their skin and the roaring of the breakers (tide was coming in) the rushing water, and the way it pulled under their feet as it went out scared them.
But they enjoyed running around and playing at the Visitors’ Centre in Auroville.
I took a long, lovely swim in the hotel pool – it was fantastic. A completely peaceful poolside environment, nobody else in the pool, and the water was so clear I could see every molecule of the tiled bottom. Of course, it was only 4’3″ deep, but that works just fine for me. The only problem was that they had dumped SO MUCH chlorine (or something) in the water that my eyes were burning for well over an hour afterwards. But, in the change room they had this shower that sends shooting jets of water out horizontally – there must be a name for it, but it was the first time I was meeting this contraption and I didn’t have a formal introduction, so I wouldn’t know – it was amazing. Just for that whole swimming and shower experience, I don’t mind going to Pondicherry once again. I wouldn’t want to make a habit of it though…
So in general it was a good trip. I drove again on the way back – it was a divided road, which was challenging in its own way. I was still scared, though. But I suppose after ten years it’s high time I laid that old ghost to rest.
And now, it’s back to life as usual, complete with defunct toilet, thermostat-less frig, tax filing date, diet and exercise, and all the other woes of modern life.