Amidst the Presidential election,there was another voting process going on in Pune couple of days back and the election was for choosing the Brand Ambassador for the city Pune.Today I take this opportunity to declare Ms.Deboshree Bhattacharjee as the Brand Ambassador of Pune.This is a guest post by Debo who keeps the city Pune very close to her heart and she blogs at Of Paneer,Pulao and Pune.She could even find the nook and corner of this city even if we let her wander in the city blindfolded.When I wanted a post about “Imagining a city as India”,it took less than a second for me to decide the author.Debo,you are such a darling.Love you for writing this post for me.It is my pride and pleasure to publish your article in my blog.Happy Reading!!
*picture from Pune Student Chronicle
…then the breakfast crowd at Good Luck Café would thicken further. They would need to stock their delicious breakfast buns nineteen by the dozen and get more people to lovingly fill them with golden butter. Come to think of it, the fragrance of fresh-bread would fill up the morning sky in even more delightful strands than usual.
Pune usually has a prank up her sleeve – the best part is that you don’t know it. She is capable of conjuring up a perfectly sunny afternoon, without a trace of cloud in the sky, and then, just when you have ventured out in your newly acquired shoes from Metro at Deccan, it starts to pour. By the time it’s night, you need to empty your cupboard to locate the sweater you had set apart for the winter which wasn’t supposed to be ‘anything like Delhi’s’. When you wake up the next morning, however, you are back under the Tuscan sun.
If Pune were India, the Bengalis would gatecrash luncheons at Oh Calcutta! and Rice n Curry. Much like the Marathis would crowd a Sharvaree, a Durvankur or the vada-pau bhaiya. When fairy lights would glow in sync with the music at Navaratras, Pune would dance to lilting tunes of celebration and festivity. There’d be faces sparkling with delight on Id, feet tapping to dhol when Ganpati is brought to Dabru Seth and Kalyani Bakery busy with orders for Christmas cake to be delivered by their in-house Santa.
The markets at FC Road would overflow with people of all ages, from all ages. The narrow, buzzing lanes of Laxmi Road would teem with gasps – “isn’t that just what we saw last month in Bangalore!” and admonishments –“how can you price such little cloth at 1200 bucks?”. The cloth, by the by, would probably refer to a pair of hot pants. The behaviour would be followed up by a “you are such a great bargain-er” or a “bargaining on the road is so middle-class!”, depending on whether the Indian we are talking about subscribed to a Monisha or a Maya Sarabhai.
The “kids” – freshly passed college and breaking into “working” – would be able to show their folks around the workplace. An SB Road, a Hinjewadi, a Magarpatta, you name it. “Look Ma, that’s the office I sit and code in!” How cool is that. The family would pass on the story to their friends who would pass it on to theirs and just after the kid has kissed his girlfriend’s hand proposing marriage, a Minu or a Pinky would call in and say –“hello Binnu, Aunty told me how you still remember the birthday parties we shared as kids…” If Pune were India, the kid could take the whole family out to a movie at the old-world Victory theatre. Or, the beach at Ganpatiphule. With the hope that the water would wash out all traces of the matchmaking gene his folks so prominently had.
A few hours from Mumbai, Pune learns its glitter and jazz from the big brother. But her calm and her maturity, her subtlety and her grace…who taught her that? Often when I venture out for a walk down Pune’s canopied lanes, I gaze at the wide roads in Camp, the hustle and bustle at MG and the long, winding queues of panipuri wallas at JM Road. The seats by the window at Crossword are always occupied – men past their so-called prime but rich in enthusiasm to learn, little kids devouring tale after tale and women stealing a few minutes from their super-Mom-super-employee routine. The restaurants teem with people too. There are young couples, hand-in-hand. Some older ones walk past, debating the merits of vegetable-shopping at Reliance Fresh.
For a city I love and where I have loved, Pune means the world to me. You should see her when she wears her dew-dropped rain costume… or even when she is all sunlit and done up in blue. She may be ‘small’ but she does not react when ‘snobby’ people from the rest of the large country keep their noses up in the air. They all come to her, for multiple reasons – education, work, marriage, the works – and somewhere down the line, they start to belong.
When Pune prepares to pack in for the night, there is an old lady who sits by ICC Trade Towers and brews steaming coffee. Fragrant, warm and strong. Much like Pune herself. The cups, on their part, keep jangling all through the night.
— By Deboshree Bhattacharjee