This Is Pune


Out and about in Pune, to do things and see places.

My mother can’t go out at all but she knew Pune very well when she was a young woman doing her secretarial training here in the 1940s. She would tell us about what a charming part of town the area close to where we live was once upon a time, with banyan tree lined streets and sleepy lanes, and bungalows set back in large grounds. She herself stayed in the YWCA and only saw this place a few times. Where we live now was long deserted farmland which slowly became urbanized. Pune is a larger place in 2014 with growth in all directions. We go to a lot of different places and of course everyone has seen malls, stores etc so no photos of those from me.

The fresh looking tomatoes, onions and coriander are from pictures my daughter took of a street food stall, long ago, when we went out together one evening.

In those days Main Street, which used to be one of Pune’s stylish shopping centres, was turned on Saturday evenings into a walking plaza. It was fun for people who could buy snacks and even get free wi-fi for their computers and the best thing was that there was no traffic. But eventually the shop keepers complained that their businesses were affected on these evenings and ultimately these unique events were put an end to.

Here are pictures of my favourite local snack. It is called bhel puri. Made from puffed rice, mixed with green chutney and tamarind chutney and with all these fresh ingredients (seen in the main picture) stirred in, it is DELICIOUS.


This is the bhel puri stall and


this is the stall chef getting the ingredients stirred vigorously together. Most people use stainless steel utensils for such preparations as they are tough and clean and don’t let chemicals into the food which can happen when sour ingredients such as lime and tamarind are used.


These are other garnishes that go on top and make it more flavourful.


Here is another expert making a different kind of popular snack. Probably aloo parathas, if I’m not mistaken.


This is water provided for anyone who wants it. It is a custom to do this in many parts of the country and quite a common sight (though maybe less now, in the more ‘stylish’ localities). Well there’s more to the walking plaza but so much of it for now.

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I spotted this mural painted on the side of a railway crossing’s little cabin. It is close by here. This Hindu god’s representation like this is a rare sight. I had never seen anything like this before. Now a little shrine covers the space where the dogs are so they are out of sight.


This is the Aga Khan palace in Pune where Gandhiji was kept under house arrest by the British during one period of his agitation against colonial rule.


The prisoners lived very simply. Mahatma Gandhi was also lodged at a different time in Pune’s famous Yerawada jail, it’s most famous occupant. For his satyagraha and non-violent and civil-disobedience movements against the colonials he spent great amounts of time incarcerated. Just a reminder in case I give the impression that he lounged around in luxury. These were the bare furnishings – the desk is meant to be used while sitting on the floor.


Kasturba, his wife, and some close aides also shared the house arrest with him.


School kids starting young to learn about the history of their country. They were such a joyful little bunch with good natured teachers looking after them.


The city is surrounded by low hills. This view is from the farmhouse of some friends.


Closer to home is this tree where the crows gather. They are most interesting.

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And last but not least, this beautiful moth who got inside in December 2012 when we were a houseful, my kids and grandkids and Mummy and us all in this house. We switched off the lights and put the balcony light on and soon he was outside where he belonged.

That’s a smallish glimpse of Pune. I hope you enjoy it.




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