Pune. I love.

Flowers on Chaturshringhi Hill

A trip to Pune is a lesson in contradictions. I look forward to it for weeks at end but often spend evenings torn between emotions. Airports and cabs and auto rickshaws give me a strange, alien feeling – you are not really living here. You are just a tourist, the automobiles seem to say. I cannot pick one favourite restaurant to go and dine in and spend a lot of dinner trying to stretch the hours. This time was no different. I am back from Pune after a week and can only manage to bullet-point my thoughts. Just about. So here goes…

* Chaturshringhi Temple is overflowing with pretty white flowers. They are common ones otherwise but when atop a tree, bundled together in heaps, make an awe-inspiring *picture.

* Agneepath is quite a headache-inducer. Ah I am not being derogatory – I am sure it can be entertaining if you are keen on that sort of thing. All it gave me was a horrible nightmare featuring a bald and eyebrow-waxed Sanjay Dutt. (No gyan on action-is-not-your-thing please. I had gone to see a fairly harmless Gali Gali Me Chor Hai)

* Good Luck Cafe hasn’t had luck with icecreams yet. We would always order the jelly with ice cream only to be told that the jelly had run out. This time the ice-cream had run out as well.

* Coffee Shop is expanding its branches. There is a new one near my former flat for instance. When I asked them if they have anything to eat, they said evenings are only for coffee. A lot can happen over a cup they added. Let the stomachs growl.

* An old colleague gets married today. I heard he had tried to put on weight, albeit unsuccessfully. So he will now return to Pune a married man. How cool is that!

* Election campaigning is on in full swing. Auto rickshaws play patriotic songs and billboards are painted afresh. Quite a festival it is.

* Sharvaree serves awesome food. They have Maharashtrian cuisine on the ground floor (called Shabree) and multi-cuisine upstairs. There is delicious stuff like potatoes stuffed with paneer, dal that has the perfect tadka, spicy red chutney and soft, buttery naans. Must try!

* Crossword is now equipped with toys that go grrr! when pressed. A crocodile croaks, a bird coos. There are also two cars priced at 30k which are good enough to ride. To say nothing of the CD collections they have. I acquired a copy of Malgudi Days. Can’t wait to re-see.

I am going back on the 19th but that’s only for two days. I am longing for the day to come soon when all this coming and going will be reduced to holidays and functions back in Delhi and Pune will not look at me like an occasional visitor. R says the time will come soon. I trust him.