Pune is a unique city and those coming from outside fall in love with it immediately. Its rich heritage, wonderful culture, and historical significance are captivating.
Add to that a rather relaxed lifestyle and it is a sort of heaven on earth, particularly for those coming from nearby Mumbai.
As the city grows on you, one also discovers that Pune has some peculiar characteristics which need to be understood, particularly the psyche of the regular Punekar.
With due apologies to the Wonderful Punekars, here are some things which you must know:
Pune Standard Time must be understood if you wish to live here. Be patient. Five minutes could mean half-an-hour to 45 minutes. In the case of delivery boys, technicians, and salesmen, coming in one hour, may mean anything between two hours to seven hours or the next two days.
Any plans for shopping save at the malls, must be avoided in the afternoon. Greeks and Punekars need their siesta. This applies to shopkeepers and those running businesses.
Shopkeepers believe that there is no point hurrying in the morning. So opening time is often pushed to 11 or 11.30am. Lunch is at 1pm, followed by a nap which lasts anything between two to three hours. Shop opens at 5 to 5.30pm, until hunger pangs grow again at 8pm.
Ask for directions at your peril. Check that you have enough petrol before you dare to ask. The usual answer you will get is “saral zawa (go straight)”. If you are still confused, details such as “pude zawun right gya (go straight and turn right).
Better to ask a policeman and get the whole works, or else you may end up travelling in the opposite direction.
Be patient again. Pune follows a simple belief that what is behind me, next to me or in front me doesn’t matter. So be prepared for a bike zooming past you from the left, a tempo coming onto your lane without warning, water tankers speeding like Ferraris or a SUV with fancy number plates stopping bang in the middle of the road.
Signals are meant to be broken, triple seats are a regular feature. A free-for-all ensues at all times.
This is a popular occupation among all. Honk when the signal is red, honk when cars are backing out, or there is somebody blocking the path. In other words, just keep honking for just about anything. If they do it, you do it. Make music.
Insist on the meter or hire a cab. These guys still think they are living in 1980. Watch the meter for possible hanky-panky stuff. These guys are Einsteins in disguise.
The yellow and black ones hardly exist. Be ready to be fleeced if you take one.
You are allowed to laugh.
You don’t have to buy smokes. You can get it free everywhere.
Be a nature’s child. Else you stand exposed to diseases ranging from AIDS to rare ones.
Here, there and everywhere. Some of the odours emanating from them will help you to slim down as you may lose your appetite for a few days.
But do remember that such peculiarities exist in several cities of the world. Once you get used to these little demons, Pune is among the best places to live in.
#All views expressed in this article are those of the author and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.