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Friday, December 11, 2009

Edition 4: Pune City in 1980s

PL Deshpande had one observation about Pune. Immense Nostalgia, a typical phrase meaning 'things were different in old times' can be heard from Pensioner block, Offices, houses, and as well schools. Even youngsters/toddlers have something defined as 'their own time' as per PL. Thus one can conclude that generation gap widens in pune after every 4-5 years. That's a fact as we are seeing a tremendous change in our social fabric since 90's. IT is one of the drivers here in Pune. I have most of my classmates /friends coming from modest old wadas now living international lifestyle thanks to IT revolution. This is one side of story. On other side, we see a uncontrollable growth with a lot of migration from all over india zeroing on Pune. Pune did have slums esp Dandekar bridge, Janawadi, etc. But now its expanding in fringe areas. Pune still carries old charms like greenery. In fact i can say pune is now better in terms of forestation esp on hillside. I remember that ARAI hill, warje hill were barren when i was in school. now they are green. Threat is from builders and corporators who have construction plan (DP) on hill slopes. Environmentalists have objected rightfully. But city in itself has lost green cover owing to construction. But things have not gone beyond repairs. Climate has changed since 05, heavy and unpredictable rain pattern, very hot summers and non existent winters are the order of the day. Earlier winters used to be severe and we used to enjoy in our school days. it was cold , we used to wear sweaters even in daytime, nights were fun inside blankets. Summer evenings were marked by cool breeze, rains were moderate. Old city had old wadas. wadas were lifestyle.
Hanging around with wada mates at sarasbaug, sambhaji park was in thing. Today it must be CCD, barista. Camp area had old city charm and outing to camp was an event. Chole bhature from mona food, sandwiches from marz etc. Now camp has lost that charm a bit with mushrooming of similar MNC joints all across. Deccan was the most happening place. Kothrud, Aundh, baner were other cities just like what we have PCMC today. Sahakarnagar was the most fashionable address for middle class and Deccan for upper classes. Old city masses migrated from peths to these areas (kothrud, aundh, baner, sinhagad rd) in mid 80s when there was some boom thanks to Rajiv Gandhi liberal window. STD booths were around with quarter charges post 10 pm. Many icecream joints flourished in summer. Mobiles were not there (how did we live then must be question to todays generation). We used to hire VCRs to see movies collectively in wadas. ganpati fest has regained some sense. In our time it was uncontrolled noise pollution etc. But we used to enjoy drama etc at our wada ganapati which many people still do even today in societies. Diwali was much polluted and boisterous those days. Today maybe due to cost or awareness pollution is down a bit (still beyond acceptable limits). We got into outside eating habits in mid 80s thanks to my relatives (esp ones from Mumbai). Till then we were restricted to dosa or max a thali plate with all family together. Alka or Rahul were the most happening movie theaters to see good western movies. Still i remember the hype around guns of navarone, or where eagle dare or absent minded professor etc. Hollywood movies those days were much better (that's my opinion, experts may differ and debate). Hindi movies meant Bacchan. Now we have variety. Drama had only bharat, tilak and balgandharv.
Cont. On Page 15
We preferred bharat as it seemed that a play gets better performances there. Children dramas were rampant in summer vacations. Summer vacations meant learning bicycles (by renting them for 50 ps per night), cricket at sp ground in evening, swimming batch, mangoes and playing cards. Miss those acutely. Trekking took popularity thanks to YH, Yuvashakti.
Pune Mumbai journey meant Trains and not expressway. Road travel meant ST. Deccan Queen had great charm with Omlette toast as high point. Asiad Buses started in mid 80s. Shopping meant laxmi rd especially for clothes. Groceries meant local vani. A lecture/speech was still meaningful evening entertainment.
Going to mandirs with grand parents meant incentive of prasad. Sunday evenings meant TV movies. We had only DD. But quality was much much superior than millions of channels today. Marathi DD was excellent: gajra, even amchi mati (agro show) had very entertaining Gappa goshti, Kilbil, Saptahiki, Chayageet. serials started in mid 80s with yeh jo hai jindagi, humlog, ramayan, kathasagar, vikram vetal and many such varied enjoyable shows. we had many quizes : Quiztime , sports quiz etc. what's the good word as well. Real quality indeed!!!
Experts can add more points for 80s. Next in this round will be 90s and then 00's. Every generation has nostalgia about Pune. And i am sure every town has that. But traditionally P L had some soft corner for Pune as he was bit harsher on Punekars and that too sadashiv peth residents like me which still feel was unjustified. But PL is PL who can say a word. Buck stops there

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