Monday, May 21, 2012

My Tryst with Pune

         tryst /trist/ n. meeting, esp. a secret one of lovers.
Don't go by the literal meaning of 'tryst'. However, I could not find anything that would be an apt description of how I feel. My apologies. The following passages are just an attempt to describe my personal feelings, views and experiences with this Charming Town... Pune.

Like most of the juinor college students in a small town, I too cherished a dream of getting into an esteemed Pune Engineering college. To cut the story short, I couldn't make it. But throughout my graduation I cam down to Pune every now and then - sometimes to get reference books from Appa Balwant Chowk aka ABC, sometimes to have a wild time with my friends (who were so lucky). It was one of those joy rides to the Land of Fantasy! No 9pm deadlines. Bikes. Guys n' gals. Carefree attitude. Young guns at the threshold of adulthood.

Pretty soon we were grown-ups. Out of colleges, struggling ahead with new challenges of life. Pune was an obvious choice to start a career. Automobile industry, call-centers, the newest IT hub of India. Soon enough I did find myself in a IT giant. My dream of studying in Pune had an attachment - to work in Bombay. And this part of my dream did get fulfilled soon. I was heading to Bombay on a project assignment after being inducted in Pune offices. Bombay - a city that never sleeps.

And I must admit, what people say about Bombay is true. Once you come to Bombay, you'll always stay here. If that doesn't happen, Bombay will stay with you - at least a part of it... forever! 

Marine-drive, Bollywood, locals, vada-pav, dance-bars, Churchgate bookstalls, Mohammed Ali road, Gateway, Taj, Haji Ali and the list goes on. But, I kept coming to Pune. Have lost count how many times I must have picked up my bike and headed to a place where I knew I'll catch-up people who knew me. Knew me inside out - an important thing, considering the fact that you feel so... 'lost' in Bombay's crowd. The lovely route made my biking experiences even more beautiful. And I kept coming for more!

But when I moved into Pune a couple of months back, it was an anticlimax... of a sort.
Coming to Pune on weekends for fun is one thing. And living here is quite another. 
With highest number of two-wheelers in the city, it felt like home(?), only to realize how horrible people ride here. Used to go for a hair-cut at midnight and collected laundry on the way back. Here, it was like by 8:30 or 9 you better be heading home, all shutters down. The thing I missed the most was FM Radio. From 6 channels to just 2 and that too with the irritating Khokho Patils! Initially it was tough. Slowly I accepted things and got myself adjusted. But, I still feel life minus Mr. Patil would be much better!

In fact, I started enjoying these changes. Since I live in heart of city, I switched to bicycle for small runs. A thing that I could have never imagined doing in Bombay! Plus, its a healthy thing. Night-outs at Sinhagarh became as relaxing as Juhu at 3am. Of course, I do miss Marine-drive and nothing can ever replace spending evenings on the curb watching the sun go down in the vast sea. However, the FC and MG roads are just good enough to spend the evenings. Theater, Pu-La Deshpande, Atre now get some time too, thanks to my nautanki roomates. There's Mathura, Vaishali, Roopali alongside Pizza Hut, Mac and KFCs. Weekend rides have now more - Mulshi, Tamhini, Sinhagarh, etc, etc. All in all, Pune is happening once again!

So, there are two ways in which you can describe Pune. Definitely bigger and more fun than Solapur. And serene and peaceful as compared to Bombay. But, any which way I look at it... I like Pune!

This piece was written long back for a newsletter on Pune. Its been 7-8 years since I moved to Pune and it has changed a lot... that may be the topic for some other time... But, I still love Bombay more than Pune and Solapur more than both Bombay and Pune :)


  1. I'm a Pune Bombay person too :) And you're absolutely right, it's very difficult to come back to Pune after living in Bombay. But, the fleeting feeling of familiarity in Pune is hard to find here. I'll always love Pune for that.