“Pune is a small place!” I’m sure you’ve heard this before and you might have said so yourself at some point. In reality though, it’s really not. Pune is filled with all sorts of characters from all over the country. Yet, somehow, the charming city rubs off on all of us in some way or the other, and we soon fall into one of the following types of Punekars! Which one can you relate to?
The Assal Punekar
The Assal Punekars are the daddy cools of the city. They are the ones who have seen the city modernise and grow to what it is today, and are extremely proud of it – mind you, they will leave no chance to tell you about Pune’s history, The Aga Khan Palace and Shaniwar Wada. Contrary to popular belief that they survive solely on Puran-Polis, the Assal Punekar is a heavy seafood eater. They reside in the heart of Pune – the peth areas – and know every nook and corner of the city. They will tell you the very best (and cheapest) shops all over the town, especially on Laxmi Road. Just don’t ask them for anything during Ganesh Chaturthi, because they will be too busy organising a Ganesh Festival somewhere. The Assal Punekars are the ones who keep the cultures and traditions of Pune alive.
Next Gen Assal Punekars
The Next Gen Assal Punekar is known to be fluent in multiple languages, including English, yet persistently decides to speak in Old School Maharashtrian lingo. They are the offsprings of the Assal Punekars. They strut about the city and take great pride in telling people where to find the best of everything – although, their knowledge is actually limited to the best food joints – but they thrive on their parents’ knowledge of the city and their contacts. These are the guys who would rather cue up in a long line outside Vaishali than a fancy bed and breakfast. They are also the ones who believe that two-wheelers are the best, irrespective of the weather. If you’re friends with the Next Gen Assal Punekar, you’ll rarely find yourself in Pune on the weekends – but sipping chai on a mountain somewhere because they know the best and cheapest get-aways from the city too.
The Baju Wali Aunty
The very uncool baju wali aunty is forever giving us the ‘dirts’ when we go out late at night, wear short clothes, or even when we go to work modestly dressed. Like, whaa?
The Mixed Breed Punekars
The non-Maharashtrian kids whose parents moved them to Pune when they were kids. They are the guys who mostly speak in English, yet abuse in Marathi. Mind you, they speak fluent Marathi as well, but only pull it out when they need to haggle their way out from a cop. They’ve been living in Pune for the last 15 to 20 years and never get bored of arguing about which school is better – Bishops? Vincents? St. Mary’s? Although all of them have spent more time at the local addas, Budha’s Paradise and Anna’s Maggi Tapri, than their own classrooms. They are your best bet to exploring the city if you’re here for a short time as they’ll take you to all of the off-beat places. They bring their own culture to the city, organising Garbas and Pujos, giving it a more vibrant and colourful feel, and they also take part in each Maharashtrian festival with equal enthusiasm.
The Army Kids
“Oh you’re an army kid! Canteen se daaru khareed ke de na?” – Need I say more?
Newly Migrated Punekars
They are the kids who come pouring in to Pune once a year for their college admissions (usually to one of the Symbiosis institutes). Regardless of which college they end up in, we all know the majority of their time will be spent at High Spirits. They are the saviors of the rest of the ‘localites’ when it comes to alcohol, a house party or hiding a pack of cigarettes. Obnoxiously obsessed with JJ Wada Pav and Misal.
Ok, so, which one are you?