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Saturday, 3 December 2011

Chilling Times in Pune City

Pune is the city that is just 3 hours away from Mumbai by road, it’s the city where majority of my family lives, it’s the city where I have spend most of my free time doing nothing but sitting and lazing around, or going for movies, endless lunches and dinners and getting fatter with food, laughter, chit chat, teasing, ragging and love.

Pune used to be the city where nature smiled at all hours of the day, the weather was cool and birds cooed beautiful rhymes. We would wake up early hours to enjoy the cool breeze, in the evenings we would go for long walks on the main street, pick up sandwiches from ‘Mazzorin’ Sometimes we would go for long drives (long drives meant just two hours, driving through the lonely lanes, sometimes right up to the Pashan lake or to Khadakwasla dam, and sometimes a longer rides driving through the winding road up to Mahabhuleshwar, eating usal pav or egg omelets at way-side stalls, drink chai in an Irani restaurant.

There was no TV nor BlackBerry nor Iphones to distract our conversations. We played board games or simply joked all day. Simple things amused us, there was so much to talk about. Chatting would continue late nights and sometimes we would sneak out of house in the middle of night, go the Pune station to eat egg burchi from the road-side hawkers. We never worried about hygiene, never washed hands, never used sanitizers but surprisingly never really felt ill or had any stomach upset.

I can’t recall the conversation we had during those days but at the end of my usual one-month-stay, I always cried when I had to return home to routine life in Mumbai.

Not much has changed on the home front but a lot has changed outside my family home, out on the streets of Pune.

The greenery is slowly eroding and is replaced by huge, shiny malls, selling branded goods.

Traffic is disorderly, a big wigwam of cycles, auto-rickshaw, buses, cars, scooters, pedestrians all sharing the same space. Temper tantrums flying high in all directions, the weather that once Punites boasted is now humid. Redevelopment and constructions is the order of the day.

That quaint little city is now a bigger cousin of Mumbai, resembling in noise, breath and weather. The essence of place is lost forever.

Now the only reason I go to Pune is to visit my family and friends

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