I just stumbled upon a wonderful 2005 Travel and Leisure article about Pondicherry. Author Nell Fruedenberger describes the botanial gardens, where “the Joy Train, snakes passengers through intermittently labeled native and foreign species.”
“Pondy… is one of the region’s most pleasant and easygoing cities… Local families sit on the rocks at the seawall, watching the waves; Indian and foreign tourists stroll down the elegant seaside promenade, eating Italian gelato in exotic flavors… navigating a pathamong the bicycles, autorickshaws, mopeds, and careening compact cars.”
I was also interested to hear about the political posters that were posted everywhere.
“My trip coincided with the national elections, and Tamil Nadu’s chief minister, the former starlet J. Jayalalitha, had just been voted the least popular politician in the country, according to a poll in the weekly India Today. Nevertheless, she appeared on poster after poster, smiling jovially underneath her party’s double-leaf symbol.”
Needless to say I am very excited to learn about the political landscape on the local and national level. Check out this article about free giveaways for participating voters in Tamil Nadu. Sound familiar?