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The charmed city

A visit to Pune always brings back warm memories of the time I spent there.

I have lived in many places so far. But in Pune, I felt at home. It was also probably because I was young, and on my own for the very first time of my life. I got my first taste of independence and the responsibilities that came along with it.

Though it was during this time that I went through a very bad personal phase (the stuff that comes with being young, confused and a Piscean to boot) it was in this city that I felt a sense of calm and peace.

My parents were in Mumbai at that time, and couldn’t understand why I preferred the slow pace of Pune. But I was adamant. Pune suited me well. I was in no rush to live life Mumbai style rushing from one place to another, always out of time. I resisted every argument from my parents to convince me to come and live in Mumbai.

I loved the endless cups of tea at Rupali where we discussed everything under the sun. I loved meeting friends over dosas at Vaishali or roaming around Camp. I loved my daily swim at the Kothrud club. And my frequent visits to the British Library where I spent hours just browsing around. I loved the pace of life.

Pune truly has a unique charm.

On Tuesday, I drove down to Pune with Nidhi. She was driving. I kept chatting on and off, to keep her awake, since she hadn’t had much sleep the night before.

It was fun. The weather was perfect. It was only when I glanced at the dashboard that I realised that madam was doing speeds of 140 up. “I can’t go faster because the car wobbles,” she explains. And thank God for that!

After a delicious lunch of palak paneer and dahi cauliflower (I am sure it has some name!) that Nidhi’s mom had prepared, and after our work was done, I went to visit an old friend of mine. Nidhi went off to get honoured as a young achiever by her college.

Indu shifted from Mumbai to Pune about a year ago. One look at her and I could literally feel the change the move had made on her life. She looked younger, less hassled and really happy. In place of a cramped apartment in Lokhandwala, was a row house about 3 kms from Camp. Her kids looked happier. I mentioned to her and she told me it was the best decision she had made. I couldn’t help but agree.

She took me to Poona Gymkhana where she goes for a swim. Sat around and met her friends. It was windy that day and I enjoyed the cool weather. Watched her kids creating a ruckus. Over a nice garam black chai, I remembered those good old days I spent in this city.

Unfortunately, I was running out of time since we were driving back the same day. I was tempted to stay back, but I had a meeting scheduled the next morning. By 11pm, we were back in Mumbai.

Alas! But I have to go back soon. And next time for a longer visit definitely.

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