New Girl in Pune – The Series

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The Punekars

17-year old girl in Pune, 5,000 miles, etc. etc. You know the story. So moving on…

I remember sitting in the warden’s office on my first day, eyeing the simple girl from Sultanpur in her yellow kurta who hadn’t said a word till now. She was going to be my roommate?  I was sure we didn’t have a thing in common. I mean, I have never watched an episode of Swat Kats in my life! At the time, I didn’t realise that being strangers in the city would become the greatest common point. It became one of the strangest friendships people have seen and one of my most cherished. I had begun to form a new perspective on Pune and the Punekars.

There are two types of Punekars…


Every other person I met had migrated to Pune from somewhere across the nation and brought a bit of their own culture with them. Pune so willingly embraced these new cultures and people. These Punekars amazed me. Yet there were those who still considered youngsters that partied a bad influence. I met those who thought that women should not drink or wear dresses. I came across many flat-owners who refused to give their home to bachelors, and I still come across the nosy neighbor aunty who thinks my boyfriend coming home is her business. So I realised there were two types of Punekars, one I liked and one I didn’t.

Punekars have a good memory…

College was probably my greatest struggle. I had no idea the Indian education system required you to memorise this much crap! My memory sucks and now my future depended on it – great. Punekars MUST have a good memory.

Punekars don’t have much civic sense… *sorry but it’s true*

The first thing I noticed was that people generally skip helmets while riding bikes, because casual attitude about life too. Don’t even get me started on the driving! Not keeping within lanes, going the wrong way up a one-way road, and the general lack of discipline on the road makes me think I’ll never drive here. There’s also no concept of zebra crossings and I still have a bit of a panic attack every time I need to cross the road.

Punekars drink a lot…

Back home we made plans to get a coffee, watch a movie, go bowling, etc. I was pretty surprised to find that nearly every plan revolved around alcohol, I just did not have the capacity for it. My liver went into a culture shock.

Punekars are definitely chill…

McDonald’s binge eating, pub crawling, and three friends later, I was started to enjoy my new found freedom, which didn’t exist in the shackles of “Indian kids don’t do this” back home. I was starting to enjoy Pune and the chill laid-back lifestyle that came with it. Even if I moved back home I think I’d miss my Punekars who take on life with a smile on their face and a drink in their hand!

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