The Pune Memoirs is back after a super long break. I take you back to my college days in Pune during the second year. Today, is the first outing in 2004 and hope you have fun reading as much as I had retrieved the blissful memories.
Pune Memoirs: Kothrud to Vishrant Wadi
Second Year, 2004
The tale of shifting house and living literally off the suitcase continues unabated like the Monsoon lash during my second year in Pune. I was back in the city and literally shook my head, caught in maelstrom losing sleep. Do I need to do that?! Arggh! Felt like tearing my hair off.
It felt like a lover torn between two damsels at a time when people in India struggle to find a roof under the head and the pavement offers solace. You ungrateful bugger! I cursed myself. I was in a quick fix.
It was quite a funny story when I went back home, stacking along copies of Times of India. I am a hoarder of paper. I couldn’t afford the luxury of reading newspaper in peace during exams and stacked bundles in the luggage.
One fine day, I was gleaning through the advert and my eyeballs popped like round gulab jamun on a studio apartment for 2.8 K off Paud Road at Kothrud. It was a steal. For outstation students like us when an ad reads, Brokers please excuse and minimum deposit, you sprang to the tune of Aisa jadoo dala re. I called the aunty who firmly told that she is giving her words and I better keep mine.
Mayhem of goodies struck. One fine morning, Sunita aunty who is originally based from Pune and moved out of India, a bit like me, called home to announce like Santa Claus that her Mom has a spare and newly constructed room that she will give me for 2000 bucks. The only hitch is Nani’s (Sunita aunty’s mom) house is in Vishrantwadi which means I gotta converge to Fergusson College every single day for two hours, braving the traffic.
Cut the crap! I gotta do that. The first thing that I did when I went back to Pune was to land straight at Nani’s house and stayed there for a couple of days. Vishrantwadi is a very nice place, cut off from the city and walking in a village like atmosphere, surrounded by small shops, houses, and greenery.
I was warned gently by Nani’s daughter-in-law of the mosquitoes making masala dosa outta of ordinary mortals and a mosquito net protected me throughout the night. My silly mind outdid myself with the Mathematics and decided to go and shift to aunty’s rented place at Kothrud. The mind wasn’t working properly and decided to go back to Nani’s place. I got myself a second hand Kinetic bike that would make me sail through. Except, the journey to and fro college was no Vishrant in the wadi.
It was quite painful and felt like being trapped on the on the Indo-Pak border being hit by snipers and rifles to brave this super long journey between Vishrantwadi and Fergusson College. The honking and terrible traffic ensured I almost pee in the pant and shook like Paul the Octopus. I couldn’t take it anymore to drive like a mad man, covering the journey and started to hail the rickshaw, costing me a bomb where I almost forked 400 bucks every single day. It rattled on my mind and body like Katrina not the Kaif but hurricane.
I couldn’t afford to miss college for a whole year and after all, it was a matter of life-and-death. Chicks, what else?! I am no Vishwamitra not to be distracted by the Menkas of Fergusson College.
I called Kothrud wali aunty and almost wailed on phone, for pity in this tough life. I looked like a doe-eyed Kanhaiya and Bhola straight out of the Hindi film potboilers, apologetically asking Nani’s permission to go back to Kothrud. I looked like a new age Abla Nari in the form of a man. The baggage was shifted back in the rickshaw from Vishrant Wadi to Paud Road like a No Man Land’s character.
Finally, I settled into the daily routine, taking the bus to college and dropped atGarware bridge to walk 2 kilometers and back to wriggle my way into the bus as if I am some tiny musketeer. Lady luck would often smile at me and would hop on the six-seater packed like packed eggs with the long legs dangling in the air. I felt like a flying saucepan.
The bike would kick off in the morning and believe me, you gotta keep hitting till it soars to life. I would always ride as a responsible and disciplined citizen, you see! It’s another story that haphazard driving is a fucking norm in Pune. I normally avoided the crowded Deccan Road that leads to Fergusson College and the short cut always worked for me, swerving past FTII, Law College Road, Bhandarkar Road till college. It was my favorite road to take and driving at leisure past the line up of trees, meticulously avoiding the crazy traffic and honking for no reason.
Horns Ok! Please! See how thoughtful we ‘converted’ Punekars are. Driving and humming a Hindi song I listened on Radio Mirchi in the morning that stayed with me and felt like the brave ‘chocolate’ Hindi film ka hero, Biswajeet. Issko lagadala toh life jingalala. It made me fall in love with the bike, steered the engine and gained momentum on the way back home, whooshed past SNDT and climbed the Paud Phata flyover with all the might.
It felt like a chase, trailed by the villains honking furiously as if it’s the end of the world. I am sure climbing the mountain would be a better deal and felt like Manjhi the mountain man with the fear that the modest bike may swing downward as if pulled by some invisible force wrecking havoc on my existence.
There were days when the bike was given the breather and left outside the room to take the bus to college. The crush K was something to die for, my til todne wali machine. Supermodel, cool chick and angry Goddess with a smile that kills for that she makes you forget all the chocolates you can munch for life. Once while walking to the bus stop, K stopped her bike in front of me and offered to drop me till the terminus. Aye Shapat! You know that feeling right?
When you order veg pulao and a whole plate of chicken briyani lands on your table. I was the pillion rider. She was in the driving seat. I held her shoulders gently. It suddenly turned me into a Hindi film ka coy heroine and felt like swinging my Pallu in the air, doing a duet, except that I am no girl nor did I have a pallu. When she dropped me, I kicked myself in the ass and at least, I could have pretended to go in the same direction as her to go full swing with our romance on bike.
The second year in college turned me into Muhammad Ali breaking all records and not teeth. Nah! I didn’t kick asses or turn into Big B kicking in the bum dozens teasing a girl. I shifted five houses in that year, meaning college wala 2004 and 2005 year. I wanted to live on Fergusson College Road and it felt like charging girlfriends in the same fashion one discarded Rupa wala banyan during the sweltering heat.
I left the studio apartment in November to land myself in a PG on FC Road which was nestled behind college. Better keep the story for another day for there are loads to tell. It turned out to be quite an eventful year, from falling in love to become a college fest volunteer and fulfilling vows of friendship. It was 2004. I was loving it as if munching on Mc Donald wala burger.