Friday, March 04, 2011
Chilling in Pune
The two most impressive things I found about Pune this time were: the banyan trees and the mosquitoes. The rows of banyans especially in Koregaon Park, with their huge clusters of roots dangling down the sides of the trees are apt to make your jaw drop. The mosquitoes too for that matter. You spray the room, you coat yourself with mosquito repellent and they still come at you in droves, humming and buzzing around your face, nipping you every now and then leaving behind a trail of spots and bumps. Maybe these are the mutant kind, who thrive on Autan, you figure, like a mutant Dracula who loves garlic.
Apart from the mossies though, Pune was fun. Jyotsna and Ravi's spacious apartment is the right place to unwind in, and with the rows of travel books, novels, and other delectable reading material you're all set to chill for a couple of days, nursing your coffee in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening.
My brother Vishnu was visiting the city after several decades while Peg, his wife, was there for the first time. So we circled the cantonement area the first evening, and all around Koregaon park, landing up at some point on Main street for bread and juicy mutton samosas available on a side street for pre-dinner snacks. Vish and I who had often visited Pune in the old days, spent a lot of time reminiscing on the laidback air of Pune at that time and the many changes which have since then, taken place, including some new, very yucky looking bungalows at Koregaon Park.
The next day I decided to work at home and finish off some editing while Jyotsna, Vish and Peg braved the morning heat in the name of some sight- seeing which included the Aga Khan palace and Raja Kelkars museum - which I had visited over twenty years ago when Raja Kelkar himself, overflowing with enthusiasm,had shown us around, elaborating on the history of almost every object he had showcased.
Needless to say like all holidays, the food added at least a couple of needless kilos. Jyotsna, gourmet chef that she is, what with her cooking blog and all, turned out an elaborate meal the first night, with chicken, steamed brocoli with anchovy sauce, roast potatoes and a wonderful low calory cheesecake (is there really such a thing?) which she claimed was made not out of cream but yoghurt. Add to that lunch the next day at Ramakrishna's restaurant and dinner at Malaka Spice the usual chicken satay and fish in green thai gravy, it was a wonder that anyone was able to fall asleep that night. (I didn't quite, but then it was the mossies that kept me awake :(