Just another brain-dead techie with views on everything under the sun!

Monday, October 07, 2002

Something that I wrote some time back. Enjoy!!...

Disclaimer: I have nothing against Pune!! ... in fact I love the city! ;-)

While in Pune

. . . ... it's better to own a two-wheeler. If you don't, you could be looked down upon!

... never drive a two-wheeler without a face mask. No, this isn't some sophisticated contraption to reduce pollution. It's just a scarf wound around the face in such a way that only the eyes are visible. This 'haute-couture' is practised by the female populace of Pune while riding two-wheelers (who needs all those sun-blocks with TPFs and anti-UV formulae when you have a scarf!!)

... speak Marathi. If you don't then be ready to get blank stares...though some of the Pune population has, under the guise of cosmopolitizing (is that a word?!) started speaking other languages.... a blasphemous notion for the 'assal punekar'.

... visit Vaishali. No, that isn't some lady don that you have to pay a visit to. It's the most popular hangout of Punekar youth on this side of the river. Well, it's basically a restaurant... but it's more of a place to meet than a place to eat.

... order food items using abbreviations. The waiter will laugh at you on your face if you don't order Sev Potato Dahi Puri as SPDP or Masala Dosa as MD.

... call the 'nallah' that flows through the city, a river. The river flowing right through the city can be called a river only during the rainy season. At other times it shrinks to a measly nallah. So much so, that they've built roads on the dry river bed so that people can drive/walk on them during non-rainy seasons.

... embellish trivial things. Pune is a city of supermarkets! Well, don't get carried away. The street corner grocer in Mumbai becomes a supermarket in Pune. A smaller sized grocery shop becomes a mini-market.

... make sure you enter shops well before their closing times. Even a chemist will refuse to sell you an emergency medicine because it is 5 seconds past the closing down time!

... as a corollary to the above point, make it a point to never try and go to a shop exactly at the time it is supposed to open. The shopkeeper's timepiece runs in a different time zone altogether. Its not uncommon to see a crowd gathered outside a shop in the morning waiting for the owner to come and open the shutters ("Customer is the king"...no way!... not here in Pune!!)

... take a siesta in the afternoon. Afternoons are for naps. Working or doing business in the afternoon is an unheard of notion for our Punekars.

... don't rely on public transport buses. Ask me! ... I've spent hours waiting for a bus which never comes because PMT believes that cancelling buses at the drop of a hat is their holy duty.

... ensure that rickshaw drivers don't take you for a ride. Well, they just use your ignorance about the city to take you to your destination by weaving through the lanes. Also do make sure that you pay by a correct tariff card. Twice, I have nearly paid fantastic fares because the rickshaw driver tried to charge me using a Mumbai taxi tariff card!!

... enjoy your stay. Whatever people say about Pune's transformation into a second Mumbai, it still is a quaint place to stay, with a reeeaaaally laidback lifestyle.



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Sameer/Male/27. Hails from India/Maharashtra/Mumbai/Prabhadevi, speaks Marathi, English and Hindi. Spends 60% of daytime online. Uses a Faster (1M+) connection. And likes Reading/Computers.