Pune is a city we love and are excessively proud of (Jajwalya abhimaan!!) but, we have a long way to go before we can call it the ‘city of our dreams’. We Punekars expect much more from the city and want it to change, for the better. Here is a list of the top-10 things Pune demands:
1. Better traffic management
“What’s with the traffic in this city?” is one of the most frequently asked questions by Punekars and visitors alike. We do have lanes you know. And, they don’t go zigzag! The yellow light means you should slow down and not speed up like your life depends on crossing the signal. There’s a light (and sometime sound) on your vehicle that indicates which direction you want to turn in. It’s called ‘Indicator’ or didn’t you know? You really don’t need to frantically wave your left hand if you want to turn left. What the city also needs is better public transport. The Metro project for the city is still pending and our buses are known to be overcrowded. Let’s hope things change.
2. Better roads
Germany is famous for their Autobahns whereas Pune is famous for its khaddobahns (pothole-filled roads). The advent of monsoon brings a smile on our faces but leaves the roads in terrible conditions. Roads in Pune are a mess, largely due to faulty construction and incessant digging work that never seems to stop. Plus, the city’s development is largely improper, leading to various flyovers and junctions. To add to it, the city lacks proper footpaths, and those present are invaded by hawkers and the homeless (that’s one more thing Pune needs to tackle; Poverty), making pedestrians walk on the roads. We do not expect highways everywhere but is a pothole-free, smooth road too much to ask? Guess so!
3. More safety for women
Delhi may have received the unfortunate rape-capital-of-India tag but, Pune is not a very safe city either. Though much safer than most metros, untoward incidents towards women have been reported in Pune as well and sadly, they are on a rise. The recent rise in chain snatching incidents has not only brought up safety issues for women, but Punekars in general. Gold chains worth Rs. 3.27 lakh were snatched in two days, as reported on December 5th. Can’t women wear a mangalsutra without any fear for their own well being? We hope Pune becomes a city safe for women, for this can help the next thing we would like.
4. Change the curfew limit
A party in a club reaches its high point by around 10:30-11 pm. And then, in just a bit, you hear the dreaded words “Place your last orders please”. Reminds me of when I was a kid and my mother would call me back home after sunset. Respected government, come on! To start with, let’s agree on 1 am, shall we? The issues of drunken driving along with incidents threatening the safety of women and party-goers in general are the reason pubs and lounges are forced to shut down so early. We hope the limit is extended and Punekars can party harder, longer and much safer.
5. More music festivals
Pune is the cultural capital of Maharashtra and so, don’t we need a wide variety of musical festivals? With two big musical festivals being scrapped, Punekars lost a chance to play host to a wonderful array of artistes. The Sawai Gandharva is the gem of Pune, but the more the merrier, right? Be it bands or artistes coming to the city for independent concerts or festivals like NH7, Vasantotsav, Swar Zankar, Jazz Festival, etc. Pune’s music scene needs a lot more.
6. An IPL team, maybe?
Now, we all know what happened with the Pune Warriors and most would say the team gave a bad name to the city. Now, we have a spare cricket ground and no team, jaga vaya jatie na! We still want a team of our own to cheer, a team that is better than PWI but with better players, right? Here’s hoping we miraculously get a new IPL team, one which the city will be proud of, just as it is of the Pune Football Club.
7. Punekars who stand in a line
Let’s form a line that consists of a Punekar and people from other cities/regions. The Punekar will try everything possible in his power to get ahead and be done with his work. If it so happens that the Punekar arrives after the line is formed, he/she will ignore the line and walk directly to the front of it saying “Ek paach minta cha kaam aahe”. We Punekars have a serious problem with standing in queues and this only gets reflected in our inability sticking to one lane on roads. Ghaich nusti! Let’s hope people in Pune learn to stand in a line and learn the value of patience. Dhakka bukki, orda ordi is not really what a cultured city like ours needs, right?
8. Less hoardings, more patya
Seriously politicians, we do not care if it’s your birthday or if your party has achieved a phenomenal feat (we will see it all in the news). Most Punekars don’t even vote (which is bad) and stay away from politics. Why the need for the innumerable hoardings then, with lines like Ali lahar, kela kahar, Avaaz konacha, vadhdivsachya shubheccha and what not? Replace all those hoardings and ads with something the city is proud of, Puneri patya for example. Don’t we like reading them a lot more?
9. Green cover
Pune once had a jungle (yes, it did). Grandparents talk about bibtya (leopards) and landge (wolves) being found in Kothrud. Though parts of the city developed, Pune had many baugs maintained from the Peshwa era and tekadis that made Pune the beautiful hill station it was (yes, hill station). Today, rapid development has changed the scene, tekadis are being encroached upon, and the only parks left in the city are IT parks. Pune needs more green coverage! Not that we need leopards and wolves gallivanting around town but, let’s be honest, this place is becoming a concrete jungle and true Punekars don’t want that. Do we now?
10. More Marathi natka
The city was also instrumental in being a big destination for Marathi plays and many still remember nataks of Bal Gandharva, stand ups from Pu La Deshpande and more. Though Purshottam and Firodiya are leading the mantle and helping keep the theatre scene alive amongst youngsters, Marathi theatre is slowly losing its hold. We look forward to musical plays like Sangeet Saubhadra, Sangeet Maan Apmaan, comedies like Sahi re Sahi and plays that tell a good story and bring forward everyone’s creative side.
Feature Image: Praveen Prasad. Picture taken at Kalyani Nagar, showcasing the Koregaon Park Cityscape.
Traffic Image: Anthony Comyn, for his photographic series on Old City Pune titled ‘Streets of Pune‘
Green Cover Image: Joe Zachs