How to be a Punekar
Now, before getting to the topic, let me be very straightforward. You’re born a Punekar, it’s something you just are and you cannot learn the traits to be one. However, not everyone born in Pune can call themselves true Punekars. Punekars are known for distinctive qualities, possessed only by a few. If you are someone born in Pune but not quite known for these typical Puneri traits, or as I would call it, qualities, this is the only guide you’ll find that will teach you that. If you are a non-Punekar, who has shifted to Pune and plans to make it your home, here is something you must know. The qualities you need to possess and the things you need to learn are stated below:
[divider]Impeccable Oratory skills[/divider]
It does not matter whether you will ever be required to give a speech or talk in front of an audience, you must possess impeccable oratory. Ek Punekar kwachitach bolto, toh bhashan matra nehami deto (A Punekar hardly talks; he’s mostly found lecturing others!). The key to having good oratory skills are; fluency in language of course! A Punerkar is known for being able to speak well-constructed sentences with proper pronunciation. Jasa eka Punekarachya gharcha sajuk tup shuddh gaichya dudhapasna banta, tasech eka Punekarache vichar shuddha bashet mandle jatat! (The translation will make you laugh but it goes like, “Just like the ghee in a Punekar’s house is always made of pure cow’s milk, a Punekar’s ideas are always conveyed in pure language!) Hasun zala asel tar ata pudhe vacha!
Another thing you’ll require is having an opinion and being able to stand by it. Only with the fatal combination of good grammar and an opinion can you be a typical Punekar, who corrects others, always says the right things and basically, has the last word.
Small tip: Talk to an ajoba or ajji or kaka or kaku or some random person you know who has a habit of lecturing a lot. Learn how they cut everyone while they are talking, change topics to match their conversational foray and just can’t let the other person speak a word more than ‘hmmm’, ‘ho’, ‘nahi’, ‘barobar ahe’, ‘tuch re’ etc.
[divider ]You must have maaz[/divider]
Most people will call it maaz (ego or attitude) but that’s not how we see it. We are proud of our traits and our city and we show it openly. This is what we term, jajwalya abhimaan (there’s no English word that can describe it. Pride will come close). Being a Punekar is not anyone’s cup of tea (we love tea!! Chaha as we call it is a must) and so, it is okay to be proud. This doesn’t mean you show off or make a fool of yourself by trying to be the star of the party. Be gentle, speak only at the right moment using the right words and do it the way a Punekar does, without drawing too much attention.
Small tip: Clean your nostrils and the inside of your nose to perfection. The minute you start getting the Pakka Puneri jajwalya abhimaan, naak apoap var asel (nose will always be up in the air).
[divider]Sarcasm is something the English learnt from us[/divider]
There is a reason we are hated for; our sarcasm. From our Puneri Patya to our know-it-all tone, Punekars are known for being extremely sarcastic. It is not easy; you might be very sarcastic in English but the Puneri-style sarcasm contains humour as well. For example, the message behind a Punekar’s car was as follows, “Horn kitihi vajva, gadi traffic madhun nehamichya veganich jail” (It does not matter how much you honk me, my car will go by its usual speed in traffic). Other goes, “Rastya madhye gadi thambvun vel ghalvaichi amchi savay nahi. Krupaya, ugach horn maru naye!” (We do not have the habit of stopping the car in the middle of the road and wasting time. Do not honk, please). The ‘please’ is to make our seemingly rude statement polite, in a way. Use it as much as possible.
The examples are innumerable, the patya are many but the underlying message is simple; we use sarcasm to our advantage.
Small tip: Start making Puneri Patis and go overboard with them (the same way our politicians go overboard with hoardings of Wadhdivsachya subeccha, hardik abhinandan, etc). The better you get at making Puneri patis and amazing car stickers, the better you get at sarcasm. Also, reply to questions with something nasty, with a hint of politeness. You’ll become a Punekar for sure.[divider ]Ability to have good taste[/divider]
Punekars have good taste, period! Vada pav, sabudana khichdi, kanda pohe, upma, idli sambar, bhel, pani puri, SPDP, dosa, poli-bhaji, chicken/mutton dishes, biryani and just about everything we eat has impeccable taste. Our food matches our mood swings too! Thus, there are times we just want the best Butter Chicken in the world and times when we want nothing but a simple bhakri pithla (if you haven’t had pithla bhaat or pithla with bhakri, your journey to being a Punekar is incomplete). Punekarancha ani khanayacha ek vegalach nata ahe (We Punekars share a very different relationship with food). Western, Indian, Chinese (authentic), Chinese (tapri varcha masta masale lavlela, Nepali Chinese one might say), Chaat, Mastani (Sujata in particular), Desserts (any chocolate dishes mostly) and what not! We eat anything and everything as long as it tantalises our taste buds and make us say, ‘Aai shappat’ while licking our fingers.
To be a Punekar, one must, MUST, have good knowledge of food, which will always put you in a dilemma as to where to eat while making plans.
Small tip: Make extravagant plans of going to some of the best places, dismiss them with arguments like ‘kiti lamb ahe te’ (too far, nothing to do with lamb or mutton), ‘atta te khaicha mood nahie re’ (not in the mood to eat that right now), ‘mi kay aamir bapacha porga ahe ka?’ (we do not have the money to spend so much on food), ‘tithe crowd chappri asta re’ (no hot girls come there) and finally have a meal at your nehamichi jaga (usual hangout spot). This instantly takes you into the Puneri fold.
Your journey to being a Punekar has just begun, enjoy it and be proud.