Saturday, September 27, 2008

Adieu Pune

I bid thee adieu... yes!! I bid thee adieu...
That's all I could think of as the train pulled out of the station at Pune. It was a funny feeling. I had spent some of the best years of my life in this city, in fact it is a city of firsts for me. And yet as I leave the city behind I feel a sense relief creeping within me. I guess I had been expecting to leave the city for far too long or may be there were circumstances which made it necessary for me to leave the city behind. But then, they are besides the point. What I really want to do is take a look at the city of Pune/Poona as I felt it, saw it.

My first day in this city took me to the office of my future employers. I still remember the first impression: A busy town with loads of dirt around and yet... It was the "and yet..." which made me accept this city as my future home, a city I grew to love as I discovered it's hidden qualities and traits. The city has got a funny mix of the old and the new, the traditional and the modern. Delve into the history of the Marathas as you walk by the Shaniwarwada, the life that was as you are taken through the peths, the Oxford of the East as your feet trudge along the grounds of Pune University, the halls of Fergusson College, which has street named after it - FC Road. Yes, that is the popular way of identifying this youth hangout spot. Rarely is the road clear of the young bloood who dream of taking over the world, with just a aloo paratha (potato stuffed Indian bread) at Chaitanya. Drive into the area of Pimpri-Chinchwad and you are in the area of the richest municipallity in Asia (or so I've heard) where the Industrial belt is one of the most prosperous in India. A tour around the city reveals the IT and ITES belts at Hinjewadi, Senapati Bapat road, Kalyani Nagar, Magarpatta and Hadapsar.

From a small hilly, getaway town for the well to do Mumbaikars to the big destination of students for decades to the employment haven for the well-heeled people - Pune has come a long way in the past century or half. The quite laid back lifestyle of Pune has been replaced by a much more busier and hectic life where running along in the rat race is more important that anything else. But then, one still does stop by to enjoy life here. The Iraani cafes though dwindling down in number can still provide what I found to be the best breakfast in town. My favourite was Vohuman near Pune station. I personally feel that Iraani cafes should be marked as sites of heritage for once they die an important part of the city would die along with it. Pune has always been the cultural capital of Maharashtra and there are stories galore how the Iraani cafes served as the melting pot for the some of the best that the land has known. But then, like some, the rest may also succumb to commercial ploys and probably start functioning as restaurants apart from being what they really are.

For transient population of students and workers like me, Pune has a lot to offer in terms of lifestyle. You get some of the best food that you would ever sample in the country at pretty average cost, try Koregaon park for that. Going ahead with the lifestyle, may be not too many hangouts, but the quality at most of them is quite good, my personal favourite being Toons on Mahatma Gandhi road. And that brings me to the fashion quotient of the city. With the delicate mix of the young and the old, Pune fashion can take you on for a ride. Looking for the best deals on western outfits, apart from the malls, M.G.Road is where most head out to because of the exquisite collection one might find there. Step a little north onto Laxmi road and ladies are in for a treat as rows of shops on both sides of the road scream for their attention. The flavor of this fashion station is traditional though one might find shops saying otherwise, the variety of clothing you would find here can leave you, well... breathless!

Three beautiful years floated by as I flirted with the spirit of the city and enjoyed every moment of it. I earned some of the sweetest and most loved memories through this city. A city whose streets would always remain special for me for more than one reason, I would like to come back... may be for good... may be for a visit... but as I sit in the cold weather of a city 8000 km away I dare say, I'm missing Pune. May be just a little but yes....

6 comments:

Vandita said...

things goin on in my head while i was readin this...
1) wow i have yet to see so much, i havent been to pune either and i so wanna go to hyd, pune, mumbai and actually experience what ppl keep talkin abt.
2) boy this guy writes well :)
yup u do sam... like ive always said.
3) will i ever be able to sum delhi up like this when i leave?
4) "I guess I had been expecting to leave the city for far too long"
*nods head frantically*
hope uve reached safe and sound and have no trouble settlin in :)

Cuckoo said...

Very well written post ! :-)
Nostalgic.

Anybody who is attached to a city for sometime can relate to it. The memories will linger forever. They'll fade but remain.

Cuckoo

Sam said...

@vandita: thnk you... am sure in due course of time you'll see a lot of the world...
and i yes, i made it safe and sound... the flight was a bit boring though.. ;)

@cuckoo: nostalgia - a feeling i suppose we both a familiar with... its hard to forget such places!! :)

Solitaire said...

I love Pune. I miss it too. :(

Meghna said...

I like pune...will b going ter in a few dayzz :P

CoolKap said...

i am born in brought up in pune... Pune is the best place on the entire earth ... i just miss those days when we use to go to chandani chowk for a drive n then have vada pav n chai on the tapri near up n above... then going to panshet n mulshi dam in rainy season... drive from chandani chowk to express way is the most amazing ... if u have love of your life with u with 93.9 FM ... Life was so perfect n i miss it a lot.. :-(