Sitting back in the Pune-bound, not-so-comfortable seat of Pragati Express, I watched Chikki vendors persuade disinterested passengers into a buy. Although it was certainly not my first time traveling to Pune as a guest of friends/relatives, this trip was significantly different. I was moving here; on my way to becoming a Punekar.
Now, I know many of you will disagree and say that one doesn’t just become a Mumbaikar, Punekar, or Bangalorean by shifting to the respective cities. It’s all about how the city welcomes you, and how you soak in all its haav-bhaav and let it become a part of your being. So, I let it sink in slowly.
Here are some thoughts I had during my first few days of being a Punekar:
The Climate – Oh, Thank Heavens!
I would seriously tell my fellow Mumbaikars to shift out here just for the climate. NO humidity (Well, 30% is relatively negligible when you’ve grown up in 80%). What a blessing for people with hyperactive sweat glands like mine! I love Pune’s climate so much that I don’t feel like going back home (Sorry, Mumbai).
The Relaxed Lifestyle
It’s probably the climate, but people here are quite laid-back. Neither is anyone flying off the handle, nor have I seen people nudging and yelling at each other on railway platforms/roads. It resonates well with my lazy nature. Good for me!
Kata Kirr Misal
This mouth-watering tikhat Misal was on my bucket list and I ticked it off within the first few days of my arrival. Attuned to the taste of Mamledaar Misal (only the most famous Misal joint in Thane), Kata Kirr exceeded my palate’s expectations and drove away my homesickness in a second. More on my foodlogue later, though.
Joshi Vade Wale
Vada Pav with ‘lasna chi chutney’ is the sole reason my pancreas secrete digestive juices. Coming from the land of the Vada Pav, I had to find a joint which would satiate my taste buds with just as much spice. Joshi Vade Wale turned out to be second-to-none! Mann bharla, by God!
No drawing parallels here. Flocked by multitudes, this is the most famous Ganpati Bappa shrine in Pune. When I went, the temple was closed for the evening Aarti. I walked around and had a few pedas and mango lassi to kill time, all the while observing people crowding around the shrine to catch a glimpse of Bappa.
I did go a couple of times after that too, for my share of peace in the everyday chaos. I’m already super excited for the Ganesh Utsav activities to begin in Pune!
PS: I’m yet to taste sweets from the popular Dagdusheth Halwai.
Shifting cities is big business; leaving a city like Mumbai for Pune is like letting go of your lover and coming to seek comfort in an old friend’s arms. Well, it does come with a lot of perspective change as well. All about the city is suddenly yours. You’re somehow responsible for all the happenings that are taking place in the city premises, and more so, you’re the city personified. You start defending your home-city, no doubt – but I, for a fact didn’t know which side to choose!
This article doesn’t come close to summing up my entire experience. It was so much more than words can possibly articulate. If Mumbai is a feeling, then Pune is an expression. If Mumbai is love, then Pune is lust. My journey as a Punekar has just begun. Thank you, Pune.