#CityMatters: Trust Us To Get This Monumentally Wrong!

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There is, in Pune’s theatres these days, a movie called “A Quiet Place”. Critics the world over have acclaimed the movie, saying it breaks new barriers in terms of how it treats the concept of a horror movie.

Meh. Whatever. Here’s some useful trivia about your favourite columnist: he can’t stand horror movies. The music, the suspense, the gore and the screaming are all too much for a man with as refined sensibilities as my maker has afforded me, and I refuse to watch even a single movie from this particular genre.*

But what’s different about this particular movie, apparently, is the fact that it conveys it’s horror through a minimalistic use of sound, as indeed the title itself suggests. But pshaw and pfft to all that, I say.

Why, just a couple of weeks ago, a newspaper managed to fill me with horror with the use of no sound whatsoever.

The article in question, and this brings us to our topic for the day, was about the Pune University Flyover, otherwise known to most Punekars as The Most Idiotic Thing Ever Built (With The Possible Exception of the BRTS).

It has succeeded, since its inauguration in 2007, in generating traffic jams of monolithic proportions, and little else besides. It is unconscionably narrow, frustratingly short, and – let’s just be brutally honest here – utterly pointless.

But what filled me, and possibly everybody else who read that article, with horror was what the government had decided to do about it. They would, said the geniuses put in charge, tear down the damn thing. Now, dear reader, you might be a little confused about why tearing down something that is monumentally stupid should seem like such a horrific idea. Well, sirs and madams, I have my reasons, and they are three in number.

One, the damn thing took the better part of a decade to build. The Pune Municipal Corporation idolizes, and indeed models itself on the slower moving members of the glacier community, but even by their soporific standards this was a project shambolically delayed. I can’t imagine the amount of time they will take to pull it down.

Second, they plan to to start the tearing down festivities in June. You know, the month in which schools and colleges reopen, and the monsoon announces itself. Precisely the month in which you want to tear down a flyover.

And third, and this is what made me want to go and watch the Exorcist instead – they intend to replace the old flyover with THREE new ones.

Not one, not two, but three. Allow me to quote from the article:

“…a vehicular flyover, a separate flyover for high capacity mass transit route (HCMTR) and Hinjewadi-Shivajinagar Metro corridor. Two flyovers will streamline the vehicular movement on university road and Senapati Bapat road towards Aundh, Baner and Pashan”

Once I’d convinced my eyes to take up abode once again in their sockets, I tried to read the paragraph again. A vehicular flyover is an understandable concept, as is a flyover on which the metro will ply. Leave aside the questions of how they will be built and how long it will take – one must be grateful about the fact that the terms are at least in English.

But please help me understand what a high capacity mass transit route (HCMTR) is – I do not have the faintest idea. What worries me even more is that I’m convinced that the PMC is equally clueless.

And so, dear reader, rather than going to E-Square to watch the horror movie, I’d much rather stop at the flyover and stare at it instead. It, and what is about to happen to it, is the greatest horror story ever told.



#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.


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