My Realm

Meet me - know me - read my posts and try to figure me! Well I am someone who is always thirsty for adventure, someone who simply hates playing sheep(u know the types - follow the herd!). An enthusiastic trekker, who loves to travel and ever ready for one of those wierd new found sports- luv to make new friends and njoy being my family's pet :)!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Lazy Day... Yaaawnnn

19th April 2006.

The alarm rang at 8:30am, I got up at 10:10am.

While in the bathroom, I noticed this friendly cockroach. The guy was facing the commode, the moment I turned around to wear my stuff, the guy turned around. Then I looked away and looked back at the roach, it came a litle closer (moving along-side the wall) and faced the wall. Then I looked away and again, and like magic the roach was a much closer in the same position, this I repeated twice. The third time I did it- the roach slid under the door and ran away :-). Stupid incident to realate, but thats how crazy I am :-P.

Before leaving, dad and me play on with these new-born pups(they are over 3 weeks old now actually). Real cute creatures these pups, dont understand anaything- even a dogs life! They were just about starting to undestand happiness and the rest- this I understood when I saw Brownie (I named the pups you see, the part brwon face is Brownie and the part black face is Blakie :-D) trying to make a very tough attempt to wag its tail, it shook so slow and this mixed with the big black expressive eyes and with a hint of fear and body too shaking in the process made it seem too innocent. Blackie felt left out so I went to pet him as well, dad sucessfully scared Brownie by petting him heavily(with strong and quick hand moments from head to tail- the pup is barly 1Kg and felt a bulldozer slide over it , naturally ir got scared and tucked under the nearest scooter):-)). Well I had to leave so I left for office.

Office day went the usual boring way, I had bugs to fix -the trainngs never took place, had lunch in time, followed by the talkative post lunch walk. Had a lengthy Mahasabha and sat back on the comp designing my group website. (So basically all day I did nothing much prductive, except helping a few people here and there). The phones kept ringing endlessly, so I tried to get the irritating "tring tring" of my face by geting teh volume down but all in vein, so I simply pulled off the wire -now I was at peace in the afternoon, only to reconnect it in the evening(that is about when I had to start calling people around me):-).

On the way home, my car was parked outside on the side road off the MayFair main gate, I saw this dog -we (Utpal nd me) had named it VxDog: it had been there ever since we had joined, seemed old and always stood obediently at its place and woofed a couple of times at us but keept wagging its tail- sleeping casually on the road near the wall fence peacefully- sleeping on his side legs spread out facing away from the wall and the skin from his jaw drooping out like he is trying to say "eeeyyyuukkk..", behind him was another black mutt not bothered of the world around him, sucessfully camoflorged in the dark shade. Got into my car, dusted the windshield, started the engine and got the lights up. VxDog just got his head up glanced at me (the car rather) - something like in the drunken way "hey man.. yeah ok.. mmhm... bye.. I noticed u" type of talk.

Driving back, I was recovering from this blasted headache of mine(thanks to the paracetamol -disprine- I had consumed). I was driving casually, not wary of anything going on around me. Suprisingly I let all vehicles get past and speed off, then I'd realize all of a sudden I was slow and overtake alll of them again. :-). Driving with my elbow resting on the windown and holding the wheel, the left hand sleeping on the gear. The rearview mirror was always switched up (to avid any highbeams from behind) so were my left(which I never use) and right rear view mirrors(always fcing up/down for the same reason).

Driving on FC road is a pain, since thats one smooth srtetch of road where you cant overtake anyone, and for some reason the car ahead of you always has to be a slowcoach obedient of all traffic rules (though he drives right and turns left at the Archies signal!).

Back home, I walk into the hall which is filled with the blasiting voices off the TV (the fav. Tamil overmelodramatic sarcastic serial is on and garanny and parents are glued to it). Walk straight into my king sized room, fling my stuff on the bed and the study table which is full of all sorts of things cob-webs inclusive!

Relish on wonderfull ot chappati sambar and rice mom prepared then decided to continue reading the novel(One Night @ The Call Centre) but dad had other ideas, he wants me to fix the comp for its endless issues. So I fix it -rip the keyboard apart (spoil it in an attempt to repair it) and replace it with the old dusty one (the same I am using right now- Old is old they say - soo true). Then reinstalled the Antivirus and am stuck to this comp till now... its late about 1:30am at night .. still I might flip a few pages before geting to bed :-D.

Nothing to realte in this write-up really, just thought of sharing stuff (right from the moment I played catch-me-if-you can with Mr. Cockroach) so here it is/was whatever...

today is the 20th aint it.. boy I just gave this post a date, was it a tough decission or what!



Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Timid Monster...

This happened a couple of years back, but is an incident to be shared:
21st June 2004

Well it happened today morning, I was going to this SP college post office to collect a Speed Post. So parked my Car near that SP canteen and walked to the PO. There they said that since the pacel was a Speed Post, I had to collect it from City Post. Oh well .. or so I thought .. and made my way to the gate.

On the exit this was the scene, the roads were wet I was wearing a red shirt with a black Jacket over it, the one with the white lining.. yeah, unzipped. And a dark blue jeans and brown shoes!:) Right hand side of the gate ,on the outside , was a parked rickshaw with very little spce between the parked vehicle and the PO fencing. To left -it was empty and leading towards Tilak Smarak Mandir. Now ... welll now.. right in fornt of me was this Calf (Cow's child.. Gaay ka bachada) ,well I guess for its height it was a grown up kid, teenager eh?! Even its horns were not out as yet , they were bearly sprouting .It seemed timid and in a mischievious mood, now how did I sense that?... I donno!

So I start walking out of the gate ,realizing all this .. I slow my pace and stop out side the gate facing this four legged freako! So our eyes meet, and I sense a competition. This was ..a little like those Wild Wild West movies where the cowboys face each other on a duel! (Start the Mechanas gold, Good-Bad-Ugly western music in the background:)). The weather was cold,it had just rained ,and the noise of the trafic took a stride!

Well with all this goin on, and a cautious sence of trauma deep within I decide to take my fist step. So I lift my right foot and advance it ahed... as I did that , the silly calf gave a snort with no noise, u know like when you blow your nose and its all clean and has nothing left to bugle.. it just goes "phuuuussssssss...", as it did this it swayed its bony head in a top down direction.. our eyes were still in contact.. This got me a little amused with a hint of fear. Now what did this .. THING.. see in me - was it my red shirt or ... was it Meee??... I donno .. I never lost a comrade in a KUMBH ka MELA..:). Now I had my right foot ahed ,decided to get the left one ahed too.. So I did that. At this the calf thought it was a bull , it thrust itself a little backwards to get its hind legs down bent and spread out its forelimbs away from each other and again gave a voracious sway of the head ,only this time with the entire spine and a much louder.. SNUUFFFFFFf..f.f.... Now I knew this KID was not to play any games, and if it was in the mood I was not the one who wanted to be his compandre- I was out of size for this freako!

By this time quiet a few people had gathered back on the road, behind the rickshaw, witnessing all this -comical- commotion! Now as the BULL thrust its head down, we lost the eye contact!!! So I backed off just as instataniously and sqeesed my self from behing the rickshaw towards the crowd there. One guy in a black jacket saw me do this ,I gave him a smile .. he showed me his teeth!!! -"Hey buddy get in there and try standing out off guard in front of that TIMID MONSTER!!!" ,now this ran through my head!

As I walked off the alley towads the main road-Tilak Road- I realised the calf seemed pretty proud of having me out of the way, kept giving that swaying action with snorts that got me out! Then it stopped and waited for its next victim! :) I just wanted to wait and see the jacket guy get into that alley, he wanted to get in there- and probabbly to the post office!! hahha.. well alas I was geting late for office and had to dash back to my vehicle!!

Well had I been a little more adventerous, I would have been in a hospital by now with dents all over myself ..haha.. thank god I slept late yesterday night and was in a weary mood, which kept me off such normal undertakings!

Now I am in one piece. I did recite this tale to Utpal in the morning, to which he said, after some laughs, "Yeh sab tere saath hi kyon hota hai yaar!!!??" .. .

"Well patta nahi..." :)

-Vindy (V for Adventure/Accident)


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Raat baki ... baat baki

I was frustrated today(15th Apr) at home, was so pissed off just wanted a reason to leave home. Thats when D called, and I decided to goto his place.

It was about 8:20pm when I reached there through all the hussle bussle of kothrud. So we (D/Anajali/Shilpa/Sujatha/Komal) were all in relishing on a pizza from smoking joes after a walk and some guppa tappa. Finally decided to end the meet at about 10:30pm, we reached the bus stop at around 11 pm since komal was to leave for her gaon. D/Anjali and me drove back home enjoying some amazing naturals ice-create nroute.

At D's gates:
D: Oye chal na yaar upar... kahan ja raha hai
Me: Abe sona nahi hai kya...
D: Nahi re, thee hai... chal thodi deer keliye...

So up I go and sit on one of the chairs and D on the couch, while Anjali did some house work before retiring for the day, we maintained this position all through the ensuing conversation with minimal breaks.

It all started with general office talks, u know the usual crap- I am frustrated with my boss -group politics types. The talk went on and on, slowly took a turn to recaling past memories from ASC days, then sort of recounting what the departed ones are upto no-a-days. The discussion went on and on, it enterd the marriage front: LOve marriages -arranged marriages. D shared some of his experiences of friends from the Saathiya style tie ups, while I accunted my share.

Somewhere at this pont D suggested we have some cold milk (Milk shake types). So he boiled the milk mixed the Mango syrup and cooled it down while I stood beside him with tounge hanging out for the sweet drink.

So the discusion went on, continued where we left, slowly the topic made way for the UK stay. By now my dad had called me reminding the time for 1:30am, I said I would leave in about 1/2 hours time. So the talk went on though the night, D kept changing his position on the couch into yoga postures, then dancing with his neck and all. I must confess there were a fews moments here and there when it could clearly be sensed that we could call it a day/night/morning whatever and wrap up -you know the type, the talk goes on and there is this sudden silence and u keep scratching ur knee or keep wagging ur leg and stretching ur arms clench your teeth and and go " .. eeehh... yaaa. .. aahhhhh". Well no one wanted to stop.

So the discussion went on, UK days - yes UK days, by now the sleep had sort of given way and the milk started playing its part -Giving the mouth enough stamina to wag its tounge and the brain enough monotone to enter drowsyness. But we spoke on, at this point it was like talkling in our sleep. I frankly dont remember all the stuff we spoke at times, but I remember me and him just continally yapping on topics (they were very relevant for that point in time). So we recounted on Viky and his good old company, also the moments we had in UK during our respective stays. Then somehow the discussion went on US and other countries we visited and started this small comparison game (dont remember what we comapred).

I thought I heard a koel cokooo like it does in the wee hours of the morning (then I gave it up for no reason -did not ring any bells). By now Ajali opened and closed the door a number of times and also played disco with her room ights. Was I/D disturbing her :-). We went on....

D related amazing kissas (by now all drowsyness was lost) of his time with his friends in UK. The way they use to corner out this one guy- Pankaj (he had become the unsung hero for the next few minutes -it must have well been an hour). We laughed heartily over them, then came my turn to relate my UK saga the tough and humorous times and the way my sis tied the knot and said yes to the boy the day I was to fly to UK. The talk just never seemed to end.

I tell you if some how the night time could have slowed down, we would have coverd all aspects of our lives- from birth to the current, it was amazing how we recalled so many things. All this while - from preparing the milk shake - I was playing with this little ball with an elastic string that glows when the string is pulled (so u keep revolving the ball with aid of the string and you have this blue light going round and round making a wheel)- I loved that 10 Rupee toy ,swore that I would buy it some day.

Anjali was making her 3rd trip out of the room- D started moking her and she retired back to bed after having a sip of water not realising any of his comments :-).

Thats when we looked at the watch it was 4:30 am!!!!

So we smiled at each other in a wird way, we had to stop! D asked me leave in the morning and sleep back, but I decided other wise since now it was morning and knew I would not be disturbing my folks back home.

By then D said probabbly Komal reaced Beed, since Ajanli was talking to her over the phone. Wow we spoke all night through her journey! Amazing....

So I bid my farewelll- now our voices started to crackle. We both knew we could go on yapping- but rest is of importance (and from my standpoint D is a married man and I have been stupid enough to keep him awake all night in never ending talks and gossip!) :-).

So I drove back, I could see many people wide awake. The morning walkers were already on their brisk and lazy stroll. The moon was full and bright and hid behind the reddish clouds most of the times. The newspaper trucks were waiting at all the major distribution centers. At Null Stop there was a huge commotion of paper vendors and the salesman. I loved the sight.

Thats when a thought occured to me, should I drive to Sinhagad and embark on a trek. I always wanted to do it in a full moon- better late than never- but again the fuel was less and also I was a little tired and had'nt slept all night (if not literally). So I drove on back home, thought of purchasing a Times of India- might add a good touch when I reach home. But just drove by...

It was about 5:15am by the time I retired to bed. :-)

Was an amazing night/morning whatever!


Friday, April 14, 2006

Woww great ... books!

Well I dont know if it was my extreme frustration at office or was it my whatever towards reading, on my way back home from office (an extremly frustrating day- that led to headaches) I decided to goto Crosswords to buy a box of 800Mb CD-R's.

Once inside, after a mahem fighting through traffic and struggling to get a parking slot near the Saurabh hall lane, I started wandering about the aisle through the numerous books. But the only ones I really stood by were the bestsellers and the top 10 etc. sections.

I just couldnt barge into a book shop and get a pack of CD-R's , I mean that would be so uncool :p. So I started looking at the books, in no time I was engrossed in most of them- later searching for specfic books etc.

Soon , I spotted this "Train to Pakistan -Khushwant Singh". Wasnt too thck -I like the cover. Also the comments read "... one of the classics of modern Indian Fiction...". Well I registed this book in my mind. Wading through the books, came to the CD's section but all in vein (they had a 10 pack of the CD-R's I wanted, but it was 20/- a piece twice as much you get it in ABC!). so I returned back to the books section.

Going through "Sriram's recommendations" section of books I spotted this "Five Point Someone - Chetan Bhagat". This I spotted last time as well, and read some comments saying that it was a real good read. So I picked it off the Best sellers shelf! The same shelf held two more books "One Night @ The Call Centre -Chetan Bhagat" and "Over A Cup Of Coffee - V.N. Kakar". I did not want to buy too many books now that I would be picking "Train To Pakistan " as well. So I chose the latter , to the fact that I had no clue how Chetan wrote and if I got bored at one of the compilations then having two books from his table would spell disaster (It was better to have the novel I knew about :-) ). "Over A Cup Of Coffee " was a collection of short stories ( middles / musings ) by an author who had fame in all newspapers -so a good choice.

Also picked up Khushwant on the way back and got a bill of 390/-.

I was content on my way back. Back home dad was really happy at my Khushwant choice "... 'I had read this book half way in college days ..." he said, so he took the book and completed over 110 pages in 2-3 hours -boy was I impresed at dad's speed! For me I read the middles, then gave it to my mom -who returned it to me in 10 mins saying she was yawning like crazy the moment she opened the pages :-). For me I continued with Chetan Bhagat(5. someone)!

Now I must say-Boy am I impressed at all 3 books ,having completed Five point someone(a must recommendation from me to readers/non-readers alike) and now simultaneously reading Singh's tale off 1947 and Kakar's little stories -his book is essentially a blog :-) .

So, now I feel good at my self: 2 reasons
1. I took a holiday yesterday (13th April), and went by reading books and lazing and playing with the new born pups in our parking lot and completing Chetan's virgin novel and continuing today to read the rest of the books.
2. I am back to reading (concentrative reading) as against The un-concentrative type playing ping pong between general thouhgts and traying to read! I feel like myself some 14 yrs back in school when I use to read the Hard Boys and others with emmense glee!


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Rang de... ohhh not again!!!!

Yesss! As I said in my previous articles, I loved this movie. I dont care why some hated it or why others became critics for the same.

For me a movie, is a movie. Live in the celluloid for the time its shown- smile cry get angry whatever for the time its supposed to prevail. I hate to be a movie critic (definately if the movie is a big bogus, then yeah I would land center stage and voice my guts out to the world!).

On 9th April, as I was surfing the channels, I saw this news channel say that the RDB DVD would be out on 11th April. I was all smiles. This was a must have movie for me right from the time I had seen it for the first time. Now I could not wait for 11th to come though it was just a couple of days away. It felt like my little self -waiting for the next twinkle comic that would come out on stalls the next day!!! Felt real good to be loking forward to something :) :-P.

Well so it was 11th today, promised my mom would show her the movie on DVD -since I would be buying the same. Back in office, work hi-jacked my brains and I was all nuts over work for the rest of it. Well as I was assigning a date to my work area, I (re)realised today was 11th! So I started browsing websites to get all sorts of information on the DVD (dunno why, since it was not going to help in any case- all I kew was that the DVD was for sale on many website for quiet some time now for ~499/-).

Well so evening came, wraped up work, closed my shop. After some TP with my collegues, I drove down to the Deccan Crosswords to buy my own fresh copy. It was there under the Bestseller DVD (hmm.. how can it be the best seller- it was released just today!? International standars. maybe).

Back home watched RDB with mom dad grandma. It was fun to see all of them engrossed in the movie right from beginning to end. Grandma slept off mid way though. Dad loved and went in splits at all of the comical shots and dialogs. Suprisingly mom too stayed awake till 12:30am to watch the movie -glued to her seat and the TV . Once the movie got over she rushed to bed saying that she had to getup at 5am :-).

Well I continued watching the extras provided in the DVD, saw all the sections- deleted scenes, trailors, songs, directors commentry, english soundtrack, localised track etc etc. Dad came out now and then and watch some deleted scenes with me. Was fun.

I was glued to my seat as well right from start to finish - 3 reasons for this:
1. I loved the movie :-)
2. I loved the DVD :-)
3. I loved to watch my parents enjoy the movie :-)

Well for all those who are wondering, this DVD is not for sharing- go grab your own copy! I would not be making any copies of this, or be lending it to anyone at this point in time :-).


Viva La Truck da driver!

Yesterday (11th April) on my way to office, it was the usual traffic- but somewhat less on account of 'Id' and 'Mahavir Jayanti'. So I drove past deccan past Apte road past Simla office past the Sangam bridge, I was on BP road.

I used to like this road since it was remade and now has road dividers. But the road dividers now are so troublesome that to get to ofice I have to drive past MayFair towers 1 km and U turn another kilometer just to get in.

So now you understand my plight, fruitless to drive those 2 kms. What makes it worse are the trucks busses and slow driving L-board cars! Everytime 2 fat vehicles of the same speed try to overtake each other -thus leaving no room for other faster tailenders.

On this day, I was driving behind a truck. I was cursing myself for doing so. More-so-even when I noticed a PMT bus was leaving its bus stop and would be driving (competing) along side (left) the truck, which I could have eaily overtaken- had it not been for the bus!

The truck drivers somehow seem to have more brains than local bus drivers. They tend to give way for tailending speeding vehicles with not much hassles.

So now the bus started giving enough competion to the truck to overtake from the left and make its way ahead. The "broad" section of that patch of road was enough just for 2 such fat vehicles. The speed was ~30. The bus was almost geting head-on with the truck, and that too speeding at low gear giving that irritating loud noise even through my car windows were closed! I was frusturated cursing myself!

Thats when it struck me the truck wanted to go on the left side of the road as well, then the road patch widened and this truck started going left thus inching closer to the bus- leaving the bus no choice but to keep geting pushed to the left. That gave me enough- rather more than enough road to go ahead and that too without having to blare the horn or break any rules!

Thats when I realised the truck driver possibly got irritated on the bus junkie and possibly in the process gave a soft corner for the little blue car behind moving from the left to the righ trear view mirror.

I was more than happy when my 'U' turn arrived, I turned around vaguely noted the truck number and gave a smile hoping the driver received my appreciation. The truck and bus sped ahead at the same speeds neck to neck- that was till I could sight 'em in my rear view mirror.

A small incident- but that gave me my right start for the day- A nice content hearty smile on my face!


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

MahaSabha - The place to vent it out

Desclaimer: This is a write up out of common frustrations of a general s/w engineer.

Having worked here for over 2 years has definately got me through all shades of this group, for which I stood by right from the initial setup phase (Seting up machines, Labs, requirenments, recruitements and obviously my role software development -more of porting :-( ).

It was a momentous ride from a 3 member startup of just developers to a high of about 15 people in this group. The one thing that stood out in this group were the people and the talent we got. No not the work talent (sure every member was full of his/her own capabilities and unique in that too) :) - I am talking about anything apart from work talent :)). So basically it was a cohesive group.

Having parties, going on trips, meeting deadlines, fighting to get work down from the US counterparts for our new team. It was a struggle. Unfortunately the struggle for work led to the dark phase of this group, which unfortunately still looms thick over the group.

Amongst old timers I am the only one left- I have come to be called as the Bhisma-Pita-Maha of the group :-). Definatley the one who stayed with this group from all time and has taken all the blows (I dunno how many more are yet to come). Now I dunno when my time would come when I lay on the bed of arrows, sip the last drop and bid adieu.

Its unfortunate that this group, though so closely knit, is in such a demotivated sorry state. What makes it so bad is for the fact that people are good at what they do and do have a charisma for good work. The other thing I feel bad for are the new recruits that have come to this group ( its bad to see people being taken into a demotivated environment- where most of the work related talks are negative). Everyone is aspiring for better work here, looking forth for better increments, looking forth for a better sense of importance- but its sad that non of these have ever been showered on the group as a whole.

There were very bad pinching stages in the group where none of the members got good increments -all were told they were already on the higher side of things. When ever it looked like good work was coming in, something would go wrong and it left. The group was always kicked from one parent-group to another (in software companny terms from one vertical to another)- thus adding more to the dissatisfaction.

To hit it bad even the manager recently quit the group, and a co-worker was unfortunately asked to let go.

Now-a-days, we all sit on the terrace everyday during evening-snacks in the little quaint hut sitout, enjoying the setting sun and vent our frustrations out. Everyone has something to talk about, may it be good old times or the current black cloud. We sit there sometimes 10 mins and for hours together on other ocations. Its just one of the ways we vent our frustrations out.

This place where all the aspecs of these frustrations are vented out has come to be coined in the group as "MahaSabha"! May you skip other meetings or not, may you have snaks lunch or not- One never misses to sit it out at the MahaSabha.

MahaSabha is a metaphor which gives every member in our group to vent his bad breath, talk of all carefree things, decide on any upcoming trips parties or whatever. Anything that needs to be spoken out or vent with no stoppers - MahaSabha is the spot for us :-).

Siting in the evening sun , enjoying the warm brisk breeze, with a cup of hot tea and evening snaks and all this talking with your buddies who seem to share the same wavelength for all sorts of discussions that would pop up. This the perfect setting for any good, bad or casual talk!

You could say its one of the anger/frustration management tools for the group. Or just another sit out (at even times) to meditate or just let the coming time pass by.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Casual Sunday....(2nd April '06)

Had to njoy on the sunday. Was a lazy day, and I had to do something. So on I call Nilu and Andya ... Nilu said he could not- Andya said he could, so off we drove to Kanifnath late at about 6 in the evening. Despite many denials, I was determined to reach the hill by 7, and so I did!

Andya was literally rocking and swaying an cursing me at every turn and overtake on the kuccha roads at over 80km/hr! Well on at Kanifnath, we reached post sunset. Up there, we had some good time pass siting on the bench with the cool breeze blowing about. We related many of of our current happening and also recollected many old college day memories!

Thats about when Andya remembered the SMS he had received from Pritam- Pritam was geting married on 1st April! At first we thought it was April fools, but then the mesage was so formal and everyone he had sent it to was invited for dinner post the engagement, which by now we had already missed, was too good to be fake!

I was furious why he had not sms'ed me, we decided to call him on the way back when the mobile gets some network coverage. Had some misal tea and played with the cats and dogs near the little shops atop the hill before heading back. Once in the ghat, we stopped at a place in the dark and scanned the Pune (Kondwa-Mundwa-Camp area-parts of Hadapsar) city lit skyline in a distance. I was an awsome view- the distance city skape the clear star lit sky above and the moonlit ghat road behind us. Here we called Pritam and cursed him heavily for not SMSing me and leting us know about this incident so casually. APRIL FOOOL!!!! thats what the bugger said!!! "feels really good when someone curses you from the heart... one comes to know how much one is affable to the other!" ... Whatever

Spoke for sometime to Pritam then we drove down to Kalyan Bhel, bough some bhel. Finally I departed home before dropping Andya at his house at about 9pm!

It was just another day... :-)


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Pune City... Cultural Yet Congested

Staying in a cultural green city like Pune, and moreover being born and brought up here is a true boon. Being brought-up from a green laid back peace-loving smiling face city to a transformed concrete rush-hour and rule-less civic full of outlaws was a true experience to witness. And I was amongst those few so called original punekars to experience this evolution.

Well this write is not about how the transformation took place, its more about the congestion and fight for space in all aspects.

Back then, roads would be pretty much empty -and the Jungli Maharaj road being the best and a "German engineering" developed road that was the best of its times (and mind you still is). Then, the streets would be full of 2 wheels, to find a 4 wheel (engine powered and not hand carts) on road was a luxury- all eyes would follow the vehicle (Ambasadors ,Premiere Padmanis were most of the lot who dominated the lot, with Marutis just making a revolutionary step on the concrete carpet). Crossing roads was a luxury and signals on the city streets and major junctions (Alaka talkies junction - Balgandarva junction etc.) were more of nothing but just a mere formality for proving the fact that signals were a way for the future to effectively and efficiently maintain traffic congestion (if that ever occurred- early eighties chuckle in the background- ). City back then -for me atleast- was just Navipeth/Deccan surroundings and all the other peths. Khadki, Senapati Bapat Road, Kothrud, Aundh, Baner, University, Camp(to some extent), Vanavari, Hadapsar were all nothing but outskirts (some of these names were not even known to true Punekars of the little quaint humble city). Getting into a traffic jam meant being stuck at a bottle neck road and full of irate 2 wheel drivers, cyclists, buses and a little few trucks and just a couple of cars(if any).

Now-haan -now. Pune has expanded to Hinjawadi Kalyani-Nagar Bavdhan etc. No longer is Aundh /Baner an unknown or a distant dream for many(and all for that matter) - as it now calls itself as the heart (or atleast the replaced heart) of the city. Peths- Raviwar/Rasta/Bhavani etc- have come to be called as the congested pit of the city. Spotting a 4 wheeler on the road is no more a luxury, rather a liability on the sorry condition of the tarred (rip-tarred, pebble/rock filled, ditch aloom, cob-webbed with thick coaxial cable tentacles ) roads. City Signals are still nothing but a showpiece of magical transformation of peppermint lights (red, orange and green) -Those who like the color red wait and stare at it and those who don't just wade off. The white lines on the roads, which signify order are simply used as a concrete floor painting for many, or as a teaser to dare riddle drive the threaded white line. Crossing a road at a signal is nothing but a danger to the unwary pedestrian, since it is he who would be at the receiving end for crossing the road at a signal that supposedly dominated by engine wheels.

Night driving is nothing more that a curse for any Punekar (may he follow or not follow the traffic rules). The day -outlaw- rules no more change for the night, rather they mutate(or should I say add on) to a more daring circus. Edison invented the light bulb(that actually glowed) and got the noble prize for the same and came to be called as the father of light (or whatever), Punekars harnessed his light and invented the dark-mayhem and got the monopoly award for the same and which has come to be spoken by many "If u can drive in the city roads of Pune -u can bloody well survive on any damn road in the universe!". High-beams were invented to make a long dark stretch of road appear more bright for the vehicle to warn of any upcoming obstacle, well who says we don't know. Driving on the congested roads at night is like witnessing a laser beam battle- vehicles driving on any side of the road full on high beam on a well lit road, and both cursing each other to turn it down!.

I thank the inventor for the rear view mirror invention in a car(that has an anti-glare feature), you see its tough to see what's ahead on the road when a beam glares directly onto your eye- more so even if its through your rear view mirror glaring a high beam from the vehicle -mostly buses,trucks - behind you! Don't be surprised if you see me playing some stupid game with my left hand handeling the gear (-down to the left below-) and the mirror (-up to the left above-) while trying to concentrate and drive on the dark road ,letting my right hand play its own game of high-low beam with the right toggle while managing to steer at the same time. So much so with my feet as well, the right leg keeps dancing between the clutch and brake while the left foot tries to maintain some speed and decelerate at most other times!. No wonder you would find many -*NEW* - Punekars getting tired and worn off after even a *short* drive!

Well so much said about the misfortunes of driving in Pune roads and traffic (and mainly highlighting just a couple of the countless instances), Pune still has managed to stage the odds, by now becoming one of the top IT city in country (was also ranked first on one occasion in terms of IT exports) even with such a poor infrastructure of roads.

Sure many true Punekars say that he city is adulterated with many different *unwanted* cultures and similar changes and also in terms of pollution its being ranked as one of the most polluted city's is the world!, still one would stand by the fact that its always better to settle down in Pune rather than any other city, since its a mingle of cultures and a city of knowledge :-).

Well no one trusts the traffic-cops anymore, or so say many "hamesha kone mein chuppe hote hain - jab bhi koi signal toda to pakda usko aur jeb katta... kabhi signal pe khada hokar chalata nahi usko" (Always hidden a corner -whenever anyone breaks a signal he is caught and is fined- never stands at a signal to work it out). Well as a welcoming change to this situation what I see is- atleast now- the city's traffic cops give you a chalan (receipt / cheque) for whatever you are fined ! :-)

City roads are bad and trenches are deep on many roads, but at the same time they are our tomorrows link to the distant, expanding city of Pune's, corners of Pune district.(One day -may be one day - and I don't know when that day would come when Pune would be a cultural city still full of the right infrastructure and the most modern of technologies and civic rules and rule abiding citizens). Sure Pune is a must have place to anyone- Its proximity to historical forts for all adventure travelers, the perfectly suited climate and most importantly for its wonderful citizens. Its a wonderful place to be in!

I have been to other disciplined city's around the world in the U.S, U.K., Singapore, France etc. But I never dared to drive on their disciplined roads. Reasons:
A. Well its too boring to cruise on a straight road with no challenges (You know dodging a pot hole, cows, buffaloes, dogs etc. has its own charm).
B. Its too boring to get from Point A to Point B with no adrenalin rush at any point in time!
C. Its too difficult to follow all the rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-))

Pune.. Oh just my dear dear Pune... :-)