Mumbai – the city that never sleeps, the city of dreams, the city with a sub-city in it (south mumbaites – holla!), the city which houses the famous Janta Bar, one-km-covered-per-hour-city and blah blah blah, I could keep going on. Simply put; Mumbai has been my home forever. Sure it has its crappy side courtesy the bad traffic and filth, the over crowded trains/buses, rickshaws that don’t want to go anywhere, but it’s a fact- once a Mumbaikar, always a Mumbaikar. I fall into the same category- but that was until I came to the breezy city of Pune. I was in love and turned into a Punekar in a matter of just 2 months! Why and how? Read on. I know every Punekar reading this will agree.
The city, the air, the people.
The air in this city feels absolutely freaking great! Dont get me wrong- you can breathe in muggy hot Mumbai, but to actually make sense of those breathing exercise videos on Youtube, Pune is where its at. To back this up, here are some pollution index* numbers :Pune stands at 79.13 vs Mumbai which is at 91.93! Not to sound overly ecstatic- but I have been a regular taker of Allegra in Mumbai and I haven’t popped a single pill since I hit Pune. As for the city, Pune is a great mix of big urban roads and quaint pathways tucked away in the corners of its heart. The jogging track next to Aga Khan Palace, or the californian sun valley look inside Magarpatta city- the green leafy-ness in the city prevails. But all is not cool when it comes to the people! What is up with the crazy bikers here? Hoards of them without any helmets, breaking signals en masse without any sense of lane discipline or following traffic rules at all. I must say- not that driving in Mumbai is easy, but in Pune- walking seems like a much better option!
REAL estate- more sq. ft. for your buck.
Its not breaking news, everyone knows that buying a house in Mumbai on rent or otherwise would require you to have one of 3 things: a really rich boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, atleast 2 jobs, maybe have to sell a kidney or two or all of the above. And all this for an apartment which literally ends as soon as you step in. Pune on the other hand has better real estate for your buck. Rs 18,000 for a 2 BHK with 2 balconies, a pool, gym and other fanciness! Never heard of in Mumbai. Rs 18,000 will fetch you either a hole in the wall or a hole with 3 other crazy roommates.
Misal Pav = WIN
I am a tamilian with an unbounding love for Maharastrian food. My best friend while growing up was a Maharastrian and I will always remember her mother’s Poha and Amti. With never ending supply of misal pav, Bhakri, Pitale and batate vade- what’s not there to love? Wah Marathi ( Seasons mall) and the misal pav in Sinhagad- literally cannot live without eating these at least once a week, if not more. In the burbs of Mumbai, the choice is between dal makhani or udipi, the bhau in me couldn’t flourish! And more over, Pune has more restaurants per lane than in Mumbai I guarantee! And all of them are full at all times of the week! From lebanese to italian to vietnamese to midnight desi chinese ( Shetty’s in Viman Nagar!), a foodie like me is spoilt for choice.
Oh wait. There’s beer and chocolate pans too!
Pune- you have done the inevitable. You have converted a whiskey drinking Mumbaikar into a fresh german wheat beer lover! The microbreweries of this city are any beer lover or newbies new lover. Couple of places on the radar are : Independence Brew Pub in Mundhwa, TJ’s Brew Works in Hadapsar and of course- Doolally at the Corinthian Club ( the apple cider is the pure bomb). Mumbai is getting its first Doolally soon, but till then- long live the fresh beer in pune! And final piece of food happiness- the chocolate pans at the little tapri in Koregaon park!
And finally, a special mention to cookouts.
My first weekend in Pune took me to the Big Cookout at High Spirits in Koregaon Park. Such a nice day out! With the live band, unlimited food and beer for just 800 bucks- it was a steal. Due credit to Mumbai, we do have cookouts- there are just in really fancy hotels or Barbeque Nation (meh). Since then, me and the hubby have been great fans of cookouts and hope to go to more of these!
I have to say I do feel a little bad cheating on Mumbai with Pune, but this city has very quickly become my home! I am sure there is plenty of Pune I haven’t explored yet, and I cannot wait to do it. Pune- you and me are going to be best friends for a long, long time.
*Pollution Index is an estimation of the overall pollution in the city. The biggest weight is given to air pollution, than to water pollution/accessibility- the two main pollution factors. Small weight is given to other pollution types. For more info, check out: http://bit.ly/1y8v8yk