Om is a sacred sound for Hindus.
At the guest-house where I am staying in Pondicherry, a recorded OM sound goes off as soon as the manager walks in in the morning, and only stops late in the evening when the watchman takes over: OOOOOOMMMM, OOOOOOMMMM, and again OOOOOOMMMM.
Pondicherry is a quite spiritual place after all. The picturesque colonial style centre is dominated by the various Sri Aurobindo Ashram buildings and interspersed with churches, temples and mosques.
Everywhere you go you will see pictures of Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa, the spiritual Father and Mother of the city.
At 19.30 every evening, people gather for a collective meditation session at the Ashram court-yard. Lines of incense sticks fill the air with their fragrant smell. Their dark-orange tips glow in the dark.
With eyes closed you are enveloped by the reigning tranquility and the soft evening breeze. You can feel how people walk past you to find themselves a spot. Some steps are young and brisk, some are old and heavy.
Some kilometers away from the Pondicherry centre, in Auroville, the Matrimandir lotus bud stands as an impressive symbol of the Divine Consciousness.
As the young guide pointed out during a walking tour of the city, thanks to the Mother and the Father Pondicherry is a very peaceful city – even cats and dogs play together in harmony.
It is true that the sea-front promenade, the quite wide and clean streets and the brightly coloured colonial buildings do add up to a picturesque result.
I am curious to see how much harmony sticky and warm Pondicherry is capable of instilling in me…