It’s New Year’s Day in Tamil Nadu. Wink and l are, as I write, on our way to Vellore. It’s a modern dual carriageway with a central reservation planted with flowering shrubs. Where we are now, there is plenty of greenery though we went through quite an arid stretch soon after turning inland from Pondy where there were trees but little other vegetation.
We saw a near-accident in Kanchi. I’m not sure how it happened because I was sitting behind our driver and didn’t have a good view, but a motor cyclist had to stop or swerve suddenly and his wife lost her balance and fell off. Luckily, she was able to keep her balance as she landed on the road and didn’t quite lose her footing and he stopped quickly enough not to drag her along as she held on. She must have scraped her feet on the road at the very least though and been wrenched as she twisted. They both looked shaken. We were far enough behind to stop easily, luckily.
There don’t seem to be as many accidents on the road as you might think. Over four visits, this is my ninth week in India and I’ve travelled fairly extensively by road, both in town and long-distance. In that time, I’ve seen the accident I just described, one overturned auto rickshaw where the annoyed but unhurt passenger stood as the driver tried to right his vehicle and one dead dog.
Dogs seem to be treated quite kindly, by the way. You know it’s a poor area if the dogs look thin, usually they’re quite well nourished.
Yesterday I had the great pleasure of stroking an elephant. I was sorry for it mind you, standing in its place outside a temple in Pondicherry. It was calm and friendly enough, reaching out its trunk to passers by. I wondered how large its living accommodation was. The last temple elephants I touched were in Kerala and Weeza and I were able to ride them and feed them bananas. That was out in the countryside, they looked as if they had a good life.
We have arrived at our very luxurious hotel. I have wifi!
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