TRAVELLING IN PUNE
The best way to travel in Pune is to go nowhere. Just sit at home, watch the travel channel on cable TV, travel in your mind’s eye and enjoy yourself vicariously. That is if you are lucky to have electricity, and if there is no power supply due to load shedding or a routine maintenance shutdown you can do even more exciting things like meditation, playing patience, or doing nothing [doing nothing makes time pass slowly and prolongs life]. And if you are a workaholic just stay put at your workplace.
Sorry for digressing – this piece is about traveling in Pune. The roads are dug up, there are diversions, and there is traffic chaos, so think twice before taking out your car, especially during peak hours. A friend of mine started off towards my place near Aundh yesterday morning, got stuck in a massive traffic jam, tried to take a short cut, and got lost in the maze, like in the Bhool-Bhulaiya of Lucknow. I had to drive cross-country across the Range Hills, traversing unknown paths, taking adventurous short cuts, to reach the airport.
If you’re dying for a drive, head for the nearest highway – it’s easier to get to Mumbai from Hinjewadi than to get to Kharadi, Kalyaninagar, Hadapsar, or Wanowrie. And if you are lucky enough to live in the heart of the city or camp, just take out your parasol, put on your walking shoes and walk. Walk, don’t drive, is the motto of the day in Pune. But if you have made the blunder of shifting to the suburbs, it’s best to go nowhere, and languish away.
When I was a small boy [in the 1960’s], we used to cycle all over Pune – but I dare not try it today, lest I land up in a Hospital with my bones broken or worse still in Vaikunth or Kailas crushed to pulp. There is just no place for the poor cyclist in the murderous traffic and what’s left of the roads. And if you have a motorcycle, or scooter, and have the guts to negotiate through the chaotic traffic, best of luck! Otherwise try the PMT bus, or take an auto-rickshaw and tell me all about it!
There are just too many people traveling all over Pune. I don’t know why they don’t build living accommodation for employees in the workplace – that should reduce at least half the traffic traveling to work and back, besides enhancing productivity. Just imagine traveling from, say, your home in Kalyaninagar, Kondhwa or Hadapsar all the way to Hinjewadi and back every day. What a waste to time, fuel, and emotional energy!
I’m fortunate – I just have to walk down to my workplace which is just a stone’s throw away! But I live far far away from the heart of Pune, and though I often pine to go there, I dread traveling to town, and try to follow my dictum – The best way to travel in Pune is to go nowhere!