Most people who live in India know that summers are like hell’s gates, with fires brewing in the sunlit sky and the hot winds blowing in the scorching light. A Punekar today would laugh when some oldie would come around to say, “This was once the pensioner’s paradise” or if some British chap tells us, “That was the summer capital of the English in the Empire Days. I spent summers in Pune to get away from the hot weather in the Deccan Plateau.” Pune has changed, transformed and mimicked its close sister Mumbai in every way, and it seems we aren’t too far from when it comes to having TERRIBLE SUMMERS.
So what has changed in the last few years that has made Pune what it is today? A bustling town of people with modern amenities, technologies and a town full of opportunities for all? It’s more like a town full of ants going about their business (at least ants follow lines, Punekars can never understand the concept of “queues”), crowded in every street thanks to our lousy traffic management (and the fact that no one understands lane system. Getting ahead of the others is so much more important), competition in every sphere and now, it has the crazy summer heat to add to the Puneri woes. What went wrong?
Are we only experiencing a result of global warming, as many would want us to believe? Or is it because of the dying green cover, the upstart of a developmental projects happening all across town and mainly the ever spreading Pune map, that seems to be growing each passing day with the inclusion of a new project in parts which were once forests or farmlands? The answer sadly is mainly the latter (global warming is a resultant of our own karma, and the latter is a major part of an addition to it).
The problem lies with the lack of understanding between change and progress. Progress is when you make something better than it is, whereas change is just transforming into something completely different.
The problem lies with the lack of understanding between change and progress. Progress is when you make something better than it is, whereas change is just transforming into something completely different. Encroaching upon open spaces, converting an area of bungalows and verandahs into a sprawling society and worse, taking over a takedi for the purposes of “developing Pune” is not the thing we Punekars exactly want, or do we?
The summer heat may just be Pune’s way of punishing Punekars for abandoning the interest of their own lovely city (sadly I have to say once lovely). The Pune as we know is no more and Pune that has become is not what we wanted. We may sit in our AC rooms and forget and ignore all that is happening around us, but the truth is, Pune is changing and we are part of that unwanted change. This change is driven not by visionaries like Sadashiv Rao Peshwa, Chimaji Appa, Peshwa Bajirao, Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Phule, etc. but instead by power hungry, greedy bureaucracy and builders who want to throw the light of development on every project created for the purpose of minting money. Pune is a city with temperatures reaching 41.5 degree Celsius (recorded on 22nd April, so the worst is yet to come) and its people are more concerned of buying new AC and Coolers, instead of wiping out the root cause of it; encroachment of our greenery.
(We invite any organization who is working on stopping these encroachments and protecting Pune’s green cover to contact us. The Punekar will help in whatever way possible)