In my adventures, I came across a young man from Pune in Francisco. He heard me speaking some IT jargons to an acquaintance and this caught his attention, so he approached me. Telling me how he has a passion for IT, how he would love to be a programmer when he grows up, and that age was just the limiting factor. Like the mentor that I am, I told him “You attract your thoughts.” He sure is a smart boy.
Since we could not talk so much about IT, he could get lost in the middle of the conversation, he told me more about Pune; or at least the much that he knew. Pune is known for perfect blending of greenery, booming city, of empty roads and a crowded “Peth.” However, the boy gave me an honest account, from a true-blue Punekar regarding everything that he has always loved in Pune, and all that spells home for him. Below is a list of such things;
- Tekdi hill
He explained to me that Tekdi refers to a hill in Marathi, and how Pune was lucky to possess many Tekdis within its city. He also gave me stories about how the place was perfect for spending his evenings, and how it is a collective walking park for the majority of the Punekars.
He also explained to me that if anyone needs a getaway from all the noise and pollution, the Tekdis of Pune rejuvenates them within hours!
- Satisfying hunger
The young man inquired whether I had ever heard about the stubborn and curt nature of Pune and its residents. I for sure had heard that Punekars were lazy, failing to adjust to changing situation demands; this was backed up by their common statement that ‘what is life if they keep compromising?’
He illustrated that Punekars change their stance once in a while. He exemplified using the famous Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale shop known for its Bakarwadi which used to close between 1:00 p.m and 4:00 p.m. But now opens and is making news in Maharashtra. A man ought to fight for his land!
The boy also suggested that I should try some Puneri flavor which is authentic on the streets, as well as Pune’s Bakarwadi, Mawa cakes, and Shrewsbury biscuits.
In the spirit of praising his land, the young man told me about the Sinhagad, a fort which was named after a lion warrior. You should have been there to listen to his stories. He ended up sharing an experience he loves; telling me to how he used to wake up at 4:00 a.m., put on his tracksuit, ride on a motorcycle heading towards the Haveli village and letting the cold winds wake him up completely.
He would then watch the sunrise from Sinhagad Fort foothills as he began to trek. He would then see people of all ages, even those in their mid-80’s trekking up the hill as if it was not a big deal. The best part would be interacting with them and encouraging each other to keep on trekking when they get tired.
- The Busy Commercial Streets
In Pune, commercial streets are called the ‘city’ area or ‘Peth.’ Albert, the young man’s name, made it known to me that the streets are named after the days of the week in Marathi, and are dedicated for specific shopping items. He gave an example of the Sunday ‘Rawivar Path’ where people shop for bulk items since there are amazing discounts in place.
He also gave me other examples of every street which left me anxious to start shopping. I was even beginning to love Pune by the time he was done talking. Who wouldn’t want to buy cheap quality stuff?
- Early morning hours midnight snack
Studying requires a lot of poring over books, and for students or working professionals who are always burning their midnight oil on their urgent tasks; Albert brought to my attention that Amruteshwar on Karve road serves a midnight breakfast/snack with hot chai. It always opens at 4:0 a.m. for the convenience of its customers.
We then exchanged contact with the boy, and will probably use him as my guide next time once I visit Pune. Not just for what he knows about the place, but also because our interests in IT align. Felt nice to be a role model I guess!