I used to go for my morning walks at 5.30 am. Now I have kept the timing flexible and go out a little later after 6.45. Why did I change the schedules? Cooler weather, though I like it, has been giving me a bit of trouble as I get some issues with my throat. Hence, I thought this could be better timing. And Lo! I enjoy my walks at these times too! Each slot probably has its own charm and cannot be compared. The almost zero traffic, skies just starting to lose the darkness, has its own beauty. In winter, the chill, and darkness create their own zone. But then beautiful rising Sun with the fresh wind also adds to the charm.
Another advantage I see is that one can actually see the expressions on the faces of people walking at that time. I don’t smile at everybody on purpose, but I am lucky to have a smiling demeanour, maybe! I see all the possible combinations of facial expressions in this world. I really want to catch all these expressions on the camera, but it is not a practical thing to do! One couple, maybe in the late fifties, always has the lady giving a bit of sermon to her husband every day. They should make a pact that the sermons should stop at the gate of their home. Maybe they do not get that freedom at home, or perhaps fresh air induces more energy in the sermon! I see a very senior citizen with worry lines on the forehead. I hope that it is his demeanour and not real worries! Young folks, of course, are walking briskly but are in their own world, earbuds and all! Once I spoke to one of them while she was adjusting the earbuds. I jokingly asked her, when there are such lovely sounds of birds chirping, why the earbuds! Her expression either said, look at the stupid guy or what is he talking about!
Karve Nagar has beautiful flowery trees and shady trees! It is the area where I currently live in Pune.
These areas are just amazing with their collection of flora! With the current easy availability of cameras in cell phones, I enjoy taking photos which I am sharing with you. Around 30 years back, this area was comparatively undeveloped. The major bridge in that area, called Rajaram Pul, has come into existence in the last fifteen years. This bridge has changed the traffic pattern of this area from the sleepy area to a bustling area. One thing for sure, during the development of this area, the fauna in this area was reasonably well retained. However, the types have changed. This area had orchards of Guava for miles together and some Mango orchards too. These were private plantations and later on became housing colonies. But while developing the territories, authorities, as well as individuals have tried to keep the area as green as possible, it has also become colourful due to individual trees, especially Bahawas. Somehow, I have not found many of Gulmohars, though they are around. The abundance of trees is easily reflected when we come home in the evening. There is a marked difference in temperature, of at least a couple of degrees Centigrade when we take a turn towards the colonies from the main road. This happens as there are natural welcome arches formed on the streets, by the trees!
Coming back to humans, this area is now reminiscent of Sadashiv Peth and Narayan Peth of olden days. I understand that many people in those areas moved to Karve Nagar area when the wadas in the old Peths (Localities) got developed into new buildings. I can see typical Maharashtrian products available in small joints in this area. For example, Thalipith, Sanja, Shira, Danyache Ladu, and so on. In summer we see many vendors selling Mogra flowers and Gajare, a typical Maharashtrian love! Ladies adorn these Gajaras and will share them with other ladies when they visit them!
This area has developed well, over some time but is not modern in the sense of many skyscrapers, malls. A major lane here and there bustles with Pizza Huts, Star Bucks and Pumas of this world. But preferred joints will still be Wada Pav and Pohe, Cutting chai and Bata! Favourite Ice cream will always be Local Ice cream to Baskin Robbins and the local parlours selling fresh juice. This area also has a beautiful set of bungalows, but it has more of apartment complexes built in the ’80s and ’90s. Though we see a few Mercedes’s and BMW’s, there more Nanos, Alto’s and two Wheelers which are called in local lingo, Gadi! A motorcycle or a scooter or a moped is always referred to as Gadi.
Karve Nagar area reminds me of the Old Pune of the ’60s and ’70s with a slightly modern touch, so naturally, it takes me back to days of my youth! Let us see if there is any other “Old Pune” coming up in “New Pune”! Or maybe that phase, old Pune, may have become History and we will see only NEW, “New Pune” in future!