It was my first tryst in Aundh which happened to be the Paying Guest (PG) in the residential area at Goodwill Housing Society. In an earlier post in Pune Memoir (4), I shared on my love for the locality, surrounded by the shade of trees lining on both ends and wonderful evening walk along with the owner Mr Oak after the sumptuous Maharashtrian dinner.
The to and fro rickshaw ride from Aundh to Fergusson College, costed me a bomb where I would fork out 70 bucks something every single day. Once, the owner chided me and told to travel by the six-seater. What an experience it’s was! Post lecture walked in the heat from FC gate to the bus stop just after the HP Petrol Pump at Ganeshkhind where you’d zero on US Pizza-it wasn’t there in 2003. I hopped on the six seater stumbling on the pot holes with 10 to dozen people. I enjoyed the ride where I’d love to watch the greenery, small houses and the fields. Yes! I remember there was a sign for Mahabhaleshwar Hotel there and you could see the flashy light from Baner Phata. Yeah! That’s right. In no time, the six-seater would stop at Baner Phata where I’d walk back within minutes, crossing the road to my PG. It were the first days in Pune where I was yet to explore the city.
I enjoyed plodding my feet from my PG at Goodwill Housing Society towards Parihar Chowk every alternate day, stopping at the Kirana store, surfing at the cyber for 10 to 15 bucks an hour and walking under the shade of trees that adorned the road. It was by walking and wandering aimlessly that I discovered Ozone Mall which became a love affair. I was soon addicted to Black forest and whole range of pastries, or the mouth watering, ice golla or what you call barf blok. There was not a day that I wouldn’t quench the summer thirst of relishing the ice golla with a stick. First day itself, I fell in love with Ozone and the youthful, jazzy crowd of students hanging out there, of course the beautiful girls. Life just started in Pune for me.
It was a regular affair to take the stairs, buying ice cream or just traipsing freely inside the supermarket to buy minor stuffs like soap, coffee or shampoo and head straight to CCD nestled in a corner inside, to enjoy a cold coffee with pastry. Plenty of time on hand and would visit the furniture shop-can’t recollect the name of the shop-admiring the huge beds and already dreaming that the day when I have my own house in the tab would buy the sprawling beds. Every afternoon, would hop at Ozone, drinking coffee, munching on pastry but was there more for the crowd. It was at Vijay Sales at Aundh that I bought my first LG Idiot box for some 6,000 bucks. The TV would stay with me till my last days before shifting to Mumbai after three years, leaving it at a friend’s apartment. The crazy walker in me would go miles. towards Parihar Chowk market and observe the vegetables splayed on the shelf at the market. I enjoy doing that at times and realized that lone walker is so me.
Oh, I forget to tell about the owner’s pet who would jump and push me. Dogs used to freak me out and was shit scared of them. He would jump on me. I shook with fear. The owner prodded me to walk inside and insisted that he is a harmless creature but fright took the better of me. I would move my feet in the air when the pet crept below the sofa can you imagine.