I have been spending almost all my holidays in Pune, be it the 21 day Diwali holiday or the long 2 month summer ones. Being a true Mumbaikar, I have since long hated many things about Pune. The traffic, the girls who look like ninjas, too many 2 wheelers, too much of pollution, etc. But this time round I was in for a sweet surprise.
The climate was pleasant at 13 degrees. Diwali was round the corner. The first thing I noticed, naturally, were that the roads were very smooth. No potholes, no ‘Reliance/ Metro/ MTNL work in progress; sorry for the inconvenience caused’ boards. The roads ran absolutely smooth for miles together. Even journeying in an over – packed rickshaw didn’t jarr my bones. I was also glad to notice that the Pune traffic had finally learnt some amount of discipline. There was no unnecessary honking (though twice the riders did not honk even when needed & almost drove their bikes over my feet), the bikes were neatly parked in parallels. Drivers were following signals & were stopping at a red light & not attempting to buzz past as the light changed frightening a poor pedestrian in return. Many cars & many rickshaws too turned off their engines when the stopped at the traffic light. A rickshwala even had this etched on the back of his rickshaw ‘क्रांती घडवण्यासाठी लाठ्या, काठ्या, तलवारी किंवा उपोषणाची काय गरज आहे? प्रत्येक सिग्नल ला आपल्या गाडीच engine बंद करा’ and this wasn’t just etched on the back covers but was followed scrupulously.
You will also find some multi – storied parking lots in Pune. Though the ones I did see were empty, I hope in the next visit they will be used for the purpose they were built. Another addition was to the style quotient. A few cars had ‘IND’ written along the left hand corner of their number plates. This is a common enough practice in Europe where cars write the initials of their countries (F for France, D for Germany, NL for Netherlands, etc).
Overall my visit was an extremely pleasant one & by the time we were to return I was wishing I could stay on a couple of days more & enjoy my new found peace of mind.