Aah, Pune, Pune, Pune…
Once the core of the freedom movement, then the pensioner’s paradise, and now the Oxford of the East. A petite city with many-a faces, that not only grows on to you but grows with you. You may have heard your elders reminisce about their good old days in Pune, where the streets were empty and the trees were abundant. Now you repeat what you’ve heard them say like you actually lived in that day. Sadly you were somewhere between ages 5 – 10, so you may not actually relate to their fond memories, but this will definitely take you back, 20 years precisely.
To begin with, the roads were empty and finding parking wasn’t so difficult, even on top of Sinhagad Fort on a weekend. Cars and bikes were fewer, and bicycles were more common. Aundh and Baner were considered outskirts of Pune and the express-way was only a distant dream.
‘Energee’ was the most popular drink.
While it’s impossible to count the number of eateries and hotels in Pune today, back then Pune had no international fast food chains – Venkys near Dorabjee was the place to go. There was only one 5 star hotel, Blue Diamond – now Vivanta by Taj Blue Diamond.
There were only about 4-5 engineering colleges back then, with COEP being the most popular one!
PMPL was PMT and with the probability of breaking down mid-way as high as today.
The minimum rickshaw fare was only Rs. 4!
Shopping in Pune meant shopping on MG Road, there was no Phoenix Marketcity Pune or Westend mall to rush to. There were no PVRs or multiplexes either. Alka Talkies, Victory Theatre and Rahul were the places to go!
Super-markets, ATMs, international banks, and FM Radio channels were a rarity.
Although we may miss the simple days, Pune city has come a long way as the one of the fastest developing cities in the nation. We enjoy luxuries that only metro-cities are familiar with. Yet, there is something about the city that retains its old world charm, maybe it’s all thanks to our reminiscing elders who refuse to let the good old days die out?