I do not count myself as a regular to Pune’s extraordinary Peths. That works to your advantage if you want to avoid traffic of the worst kind and are not a fan of jostling for space on the narrowest of roads. Not knowing the Peths well can be a drawback too, if you’ve planned to cover four of them in a go and realise on getting there that one of them is humongous and has been grossly underestimated! Well, that’s Sadashiv Peth for you. If this were a movie, I’d call it ‘The Return of the Huge Peth’ after wandering through relatively smaller Peths.
Whenever I skirt around the majestic Shaniwar Wada, to perpetually lose my way in the chaotic lanes of Pune’s Peths, I’m reminded of a night some years ago when I stood outside its gate – student with empty pockets and eyes full of hope. Witness to so many Maratha kings of old and their darbars, the Wada was spectacularly lit up with hordes of people rushing in to experience Ghulam Ali and his magical voice at this most beautiful of locations.
A graduate from Symbiosis, Ashi grew up in the quiet green lanes of Bhosale Nagar, nurturing her creative instincts for as far as she can remember. Doodles, illustrations and greeting cards were her media for artistic expression, helping her even to cope with her awkward introvert traits, till at age 15 she was introduced to the joy of clay. When Ashi’s sociable mother took her reticent daughter to see a neighbor’s work, she unsurprisingly fell in love with the beautiful little sculptures and glazed pots. Wanting to try her hand at pottery, Ashi signed up with The Creative Club to learn the basics of the art. Now that her hands were dirty with clay, there was no looking back!
Today is different though. A beautifully designed box with a Gourmade with Love logo and the motto Eat well. Live well. sits on my table. Going by the lunch being served in the canteen, I have certainly not been living well! The aroma seeping through the box lures me to break for lunch as early as possible. I gratefully oblige. What follows is pure gastronomic delight. Cracked wheat and the tenderest of Chicken Tikka Masala with veggies followed by a perfectly done Coconut and Avocado Barfi. I think it is fair to say, lunch at work has never been better.
The year was 1994. Three friends were burning trails on the beautiful hills that pockmark the city’s landscape on machines the modern rider would probably term sad excuses for mountain bikes. Good bikes were hard to come by in India then and essential parts breaking or losing shape just after a casual trail was the norm. These bikes were barely capable of enduring basic trails, let alone the extreme mountain trails they were exploring. Nonetheless, ardent mountain biking enthusiasts Praveen Prabhakaran, Sameer Dharmadhikiri and Abhijeet Nikhalje made do with what was available.
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Time to get awestruck!