Can Someone Give Me A Concrete Reason For This Stupidity?

City Roads
Image used for representation only

I live in the greatest city in the world, and if you are from Pune, so do you.

And I’m broad minded enough to acknowledge that opinions about this may differ, but the neighborhood I stay in is one of the best in Pune. Not, just so we’re clear, being broad minded about the city bit – that is incontrovertibly Pune – but about the area within Pune bit. You may think your neighborhood is the best, and I may be prepared to give you a listen in that case. Heaven everywhere is heaven, after all, so we’re only splitting hairs.

But about two months ago, there was trouble in the suburb of paradise we call home. They dug up half the road.

Now, any Punekar worth the name will know immediately what this means. And they will, whether they like it or not, given an involuntary shudder, for a chill will have passed down their spine. A road that is half dug up lengthwise means one thing, and one thing only: concretisation.

I know not why they do this – as does nobody else except perhaps purveyors of concrete in this fine city.

The Pune Municipal Corporation, in its splendid munificence, digs up roads, one half at a time. It then proceeds to concretize that half. This being complete, it then digs up the other half, and as it were, repeats. At the end of said exercise, we are left with a concretised road.

There are two problems with this.

One, the road that has since been concretised was perfectly fine in the first place. This is true, whether you like it not, for most of the roads on which Operation Concrete has been deployed. Not “somewhat” fine, not “mostly” fine – just fine! They didn’t need any concretising – none whatsoever. And don’t just take my opinion for it – ask any citizen of our fair metropolis – the dang roads were just fine the way they were.

Two, were a particularly lethargic snail to mate with a particularly soporific glacier, their offspring would be magnitudes faster than the pace at which this concretizing takes place. The road I speak of cannot possibly be more than two hundred metres in length, and I am being generous in my estimates.

In China, they get done with a stretch as small as this between breakfast and lunch. In our case, winter has all but come and gone, but the work still continues.

And three(I know I said there are two problems, but I’ve hit a rich vein of form, and dare not stop) – as I was saying, three – call me biased if you like, but a concretised stretch just feels that much more oppressive in the summer.

So, if you’ve been following me all this while, they take what was a perfectly good stretch of road, concretise it at a pace that would earn the approval of geological processes, and end up building an oven out of the neighborhood in the process.

Why then, you and other perfectly reasonable folk might ask, do this at all?

You will be glad to know that I have asked the PMC this very question, and expect to get an answer anon*. As soon as I do, I’ll let you know.


*Ancient word that means soon in English, and eternity in the PMC.


Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni