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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Edition 6: Pune city in 2000s

In came the famous expressway thanks to vision of Balasaheb Thakray. That changed Pune by having utmost linkage with sister city and all in things from Mumbai found place in Pune. Pubs and parties in pune had people driving from Mumbai coming in. Many new pubs and clubs started in Pune. Nightlife with happening college crowd is what drove people to Pune.
Old pune found this bit neo culture and wannabes there tried to match the peers. Hinjewadi was fully operational and all majors were there in Pune. Dotcom had created varying notions about pune and various portals came in landscape. Chatting was in. Reliance and BSNL ventured into mass market for mobility bending and twisting rules. BJP finally came into power with stable support. Vision of golden quadrilateral improved other roads as well connecting Pune to cities like Nasik, Kolhapur, Nagar, solapur. Lot of migration happened from interior maharashtra to Pune for education and IT jobs as well.
Then came the dotcom bust with many techies impacted. But again by 03-04 things returned to normal. This paved way for glories of 05-06-07 which was a bull run in Indian market. Real estate went unreal in these years and property values doubled trebled from 01 rates. Interest rates went down in these years resulting in Housing boom. Drought like situation in 02-03 turned into floods in 04-05-06. Rains started changing patterns. Water supply of pune was dependent on dams and rains. But due to increase in population these systems are inadequate. Now you see tankers plying in societies in fringe areas. As we enter last year of 00's world is amidst recession and many here have suffered. Industrial belt is place for the fittest. Banking is tainted; finance and markets are bad words.
Pune started with load shedding in 05 and i suffered a lot. Many entrepreneurs suffered. Till now situation has not changed. This has added another dynamics in Pune life. Pune had only one private FM channel throughout these years but since last few years there is a competition.
Multiplexes first started in 01, now we have 5-6 such multiplexes which are other hangouts. Still Tapris are mushrooming especially for out of home student/professionals. Theme parks have not done that well here. Tourism has increased to places close by and its a foul if you are in Pune especially on long weekends. Farmhouses have risen. Foreign population has increased.
A new positive trend has emerged on social front with committed volunteers for environment, civic groups. It's fashionable now. But still rampant is sycophancy involved in flex board. Every demographic group is now militant about its pride and honor and tolerance of dissent has reduced. Old Pune was much more progressive and tolerant. But now we have a paradox; accepting each new trend, technology we have fallen back on horoscopes, super-stitions. Maybe life has become tougher and human mind is very weak. And family institutions are falling resulting in support and communication systems being on downside.
People spend more time online than with family. Connectivity increased in Pune. We got VOIP, chats, videos connecting to members of families overseas. A reverse migration from US started in mid 00s with many professionals coming back (after taking oath of US citizenship) to get best of both worlds (very typical to NRI mind set). Many international luxury brands, malls, started filling the scene. Cars came in.
Law and order started becoming issue with rampant burglaries, murders. This was an indicator of rising divide between haves and has not's especially the migrants from other parts. Traffic now is pathetic though there are some up laudable initiatives launched. Real estate with recession in late 00s has got a very minor correction. But change has been enormous and all inclusive. Name a field and you have it.
Board exam are mere formalities with multiple CETs making their way. Many new branded schools came up with people preferring ICSE/CBSE over State board. Admissions for pre-primaries are major stress factors for parents. Hospital situation got worse with no much added capacity. Though new hospitals came in but still there is under capacity. Health insurance became more popular. But noble profession became more unethical and money minded.
Gyms and health routines like walk, etc became in thing. Holidaying abroad became more feasible than domestic tours.
On ganesh festival side, more awareness and regulations have setin. more festivals are socially concsious. But new things have arised like dahihandi, navratra toran, dandiya, year end etc. These are DJ nights with processions /celebrations.
Pune has now involved in terror activities with some evidences linking have been established. With all defense establishments and central govt bodies, it has considerable threat.
But Pune has still retained old charm in those localities, manageable commuting distances, reasonable weather, lot of avenues for professional as well extra curricular activities.
But will Pune sustain this growth? What's in the store post 2010 as we head into next decade? Need some good governance, active citizenship, beyond politics forums to make that happen. But always you have a hope? World lives on hope. Hope this recent crisis is taken care of as we head into next decade.

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