And I took the road to Pune and that has made all the difference!Views — By Namraata Badheka on July 10, 2012 at 5:08 PM
It was 29th June, 2012, that marked the ending of the life I had known so far and the beginning of all the jazz of growing up, starting a new chapter in a new city, Pune. Having completed my graduation from a small student town, Manipal, and schooling in a developing ‘city’ like Kochi, Pune has been a leap of faith for a wonderstruck girl like me.
Upon arriving in Pune, I was funnily fascinated by Taliban- looking women, clad in scarves, covering their faces entirely, with just a peek-a-boo slit for the eyes. My mother, who accompanied me, was impressed. “Look Beta, how conscious women in Pune are about protecting their skin from the sun and pollution. You should do the same. Else, by the time you hit your thirties, you’ll look like you’re in your 50s”, she said. I wondered if sashaying around looking like a terrorist would help me retain my youthfulness, keeping in mind the kind of lifestyles metropolitan city people lead or rather adapt to adopt!
Like many a newcomer, I too had scores of expectations before coming to Pune for my first job. I had thought that getting a place to stay close to my workplace would save me from a mountain of transportation expenditure. To my dismay, my pricey rented apartment compensated for the transportation cost. It had to work either ways, I figured. To add to that, somehow the auto drivers just know that I am new to Pune, and they take me for a ride(around the city, literally) through the longest possible route. With every auto ride, as the meters run a marathon, my pockets develop numerous tiny holes! The other day, I was to attend an event at Koregaon Park. Upon telling the auto driver to take me to a five star hotel there, he decided to charge me twenty rupees extra, from Model colony, and the clock had not even struck 9:00 pm! After a heated argument, he agreed to just charge according to the meter. My friends were right, in Pune, it’s difficult to commute if you don’t have your own vehicle.
Talking about friends, Pune is the ideal city to make new friends. Having just a handful of friends here, I jumped to the conclusion that my first weekend here would bring me anguish. Or so I thought earlier that week. My first weekend in Pune, I made plans with one friend who introduced me to his other friends here. It was a welcome change of scenes. And with them, I made plans for the next weekend to visit Singhad, along with another classmate from college working in Pune, and my new roommates. Not bad for someone new to the city. I now look forward to an amalgamation of friend circles, weekend getaways and a frolic, balanced work and social life.
One thing I admire about Pune is the well maintained roads. Even though one ways can be a hassle, the traffic isn’t atrocious, compared to other metropolitan cities. But I’m going to take the liberty of grumbling about the lanes. No, not infrastructure wise, but the confusion the maze of lanes cause. Despite following road signs, a friend and I got lost, trying to find our way from Koregaon Park to Model Colony! We took many wrong turns, went in the opposite direction on one way streets, eventually exhausting the fuel in the tank. Fortunately for us, Google Maps came to our rescue. We followed the heroic blue arrow on the map and found our way to our destination. Thus, I advice all those who are new to Pune, and all those who still get lost in Pune, keep your internet pack active on your phones.
It might be too early to say this, but I think I’m in love with Pune already! I’m in love with the city climate-wise, of course. No other city is as ideal as Pune when it comes to the perfect weather. It’s neither sweltering hot nor exceptionally cold. It’s pleasantly warm during the day and breezy by dusk, wonderful for a late-evening stroll. Add a cup of hot coffee and a student crowd in the streets to the amiable buzz.
I do miss the comforts of home, mom-made food, the company of my dog, the nostalgia of college days, and the nonsensical never-ending drama with my old friends. But so far, I’ve also loved the excitement of meeting new people from all walks of life, my first job, the lovely climate, the independence, growing up (finally!) and the in-a-good-way-anxiety of discovering Pune. For in a weeks’ time, Pune has caused problems, simultaneously taught me to find solutions. Maybe even all that does not glitter might be gold…