-A window ajar is a prelude in building to the joy of being limitless! That uneasiness of being familiar somehow, sometime, somewhere.......

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Meeting Pune...

Awakened by the cold breeze, I realise that I’m on a night bus on way from Bombay to Pune. A Volvo if you like. “volvo hain saab. volvo hain saab” The guy at the counter had insisted proudly to coax me to buy the tickets.
In India a Volvo is more than a Volvo.
You even got a bottle of mineral water for free!!!

I could hear Bono singing electrical dreams in my ears. I had dozed off without turning off the mp3 player. I checked the time, it was quarter to three.

The Volvo sped smoothly over the hard-metalled road.

The road something of an Indian motorway is very impressive considering the traffic it handled daily. More so for the fact that majority of the traffic comprised of heavy motors, owing to the industrial background of the region. I swear I saw four trucks driving shoulder to shoulder once. A very rare sight in India.

Through the pitch darkness, the only landscape was distant factory chimneys and the frequent orange glow of the small towns along the way. The breeze was pleasant and the ghats silent. All this would change by day fall.

Nearer to Pune, the concrete heightened. Most of the buildings had a shanty worn out look and I searched hard through the halogen lit streets to find something modern. Something relatable. No joy. Was sort of disappointed, given what I had read and heard of Pune.

The 'volvo' brought us to the Pune bus stand , which was,.. just like in many other Indian cities, right near the railway station.

The supposed bus stand is a public tragedy to say the least; shambled, filthy and breath full of stink, it looked more like a ruins of a neglected monument. People lying down all across.Some even asleep.
To my misery I learnt they didn’t sell any fags at the shops in the bus stand. I could see two dozens of cigarette buds lying all over. Such a sweet irony!

The junction of city centre outside is a direct scene from one of those old British Indian movies.

Sprawled across the pavements were variety of vehicles- two wheelers, carts and many other commodities which would be geared active by the sun, brown puddles of water in potholes by narrow road with its stalking rickshaw drivers. Aligned shops, bakeries selling morning bread, tea and the day’s first newspapers.
The scattered apartments and other small business structures looked sodden, grey and sleepy.One particular building right opposite the train station was striking in impression; blackened and rot,it looked charred, as if so by fire; the horror being , as I later discovered, it stood charred by damp, grime and irresponsible laziness.A tribute to the unaccountable sloth.

Outside the city railway station, half the letters of whose huge neon (?) signlight wasn’t functioning, stood a curved line of fastfood carts with their dusty naked electric bulbs. The air was intensely hot and oily, a strong tea with a much deserved fag completed the initial experience.

Would sleep visit now?

Pune June 2005—draft edited later.

Pune: A west-Indian city near Bombay.
Volvo hain saab: Its a volvo, Sir !
Ghats: Long range of mountains.


luz de la luna said...

Hey, I'm really lovin your tales from Bombay. They are all written so well you have me glued to the screen! Thanks a lot of these. I'm going nowhere but travailing so far with your words!

- Martin

Sudarshan said...

You are right. This is India and India is certainly not the multi storeyed buildings and commercial centres that you see only in Tech parks and downtowns. But India is changing...and changing fast.
did you get a good night's sorry morning's sleep after that? ;)

Ubermensch said...

hey luna,
Thanks for that.Really pleased to find you are interested.the best ,however is to find out for yourself:)

I know ive been bit caustic here,but for all the songs on Pune,the city centre seems beyond imagine.I notice India is changing and changing rapidly but im not sure for what ? and mood is high but the mindset remains largely the same...
sleep...yeah about an hour or so...:)


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