Diary of a Weekend Puneite: Is Pune the new Goa?

“Pune is going to become like Goa in December. Now you will know what it’s like!” devilishly laughs my friend Hitesh Dularamani even as he wishes me greetings for the festivities!  Hitesh who moved with his whites, wife and WiFi to Goa a decade ago, actually gets away from his beachy home as tourists and the whole country descends on Goa for Sunburn.  But this year, Sunburn which celebrates a decade is moving out of Vagator Hills and is becoming #SunburnHills. The festival plays out between December 28 and 31, and is moving to Kesanand on the Pune-Ahmedabad Highway with camping sites, and after parties, marketplaces, workshops, flea markets and more. “Which means, I can enjoy Goa in peace and you can deal with traffic and busy restaurants and everything that comes with it,” he chuckled.

Sunburn’s move to Pune only cements the city’s place as the festival and party capital. The first to move was NH7 Weekender which set the tone for new age festival, returns this year on December 2-4. Marking February 2017 is VH1 Supersonic, that actually made a video of why they choose Pune as the festival city pimping Pune’s shrewsbury biscuits and safety alike. Pune’s homegrown legendary classical fest Sawai Gandharva is also on December 8-10 in Narayan Peth.

The husband is already grumbling. He has marked multiple weekends to be under self-imposed house arrest .  Last year, we were  stuck at the signal leading towards the Westin in Koregaon Park for over an hour. To make matters worse, his favourite bar Mix at 36 was crowded with teenyboppers and unfamiliar faces almost making us walk out of the place the minute we walk in. My teasing about the lineup, some of which includes names we know like Papon or Parekh+Singh or even Shankar Mahadevan hasn’t changed his worrylines.

Much like him, I agree. The city’s infrastructure is already bursting at its seams. Are we really ready for these festivals, as much as we enjoy the music ? What used to be a 20-minute drive to cross from one side to the other now takes more than 45 minutes in peak traffic. Add Pune kids who return from the US for holidays in December. And not to miss these groupies and fans, and the Pune we know won’t be the same all the way till February.

Well, you have been warned!

05nov_nidhi_hampiStamping Pune: Can’t help but feel superproud of both Sandip Soparkar who’s dance play Tulsi was the opening act at the Hampi Festival and Pune’s well -known music mentor Suresh Patki who is also performing classical music on the stage at this prestigious three-day festival in Karnataka.


05nov_nidhi_karanjis-to-kashmirKaranjis to J&K: Kudos to a special, silent benefactor from Pune who sent Happy Belly Diwali boxes all the way to Jammu and  Kashmir for the jawans. After tasting those karanjis, I can tell you – I was super-impressed!



Siblings in Spotlight: Talent always finds a way. Sandesh Kulkarni, brother of actor Sonali Kulkarni used to teach us engineering while he found time for plays, theatre and writing. A decade later, he’s found his stage as he wins the Maharashtra State Award for his Marathi novel Montukle Divas! Luckily, unlike family wars that have been erupting, there’s only much love in this talented family with sister Sonali Kulkarni making the announcement on Instagram.




Sparkling Duo: Diwali is about rituals, so while cards with close friends and family are a must, the big one for Diwali, from my girlfriend days to my wife avatar, is Amrita and Ashish Chowdhary’s annual shindig. The duo ensures it’s clearly marked on the city’s social calendars, well in advance. And this bonhomie winds up not until dawn, and it’s amazing that the hosts are up on their feet right till the end,  with a smile, only to welcome you again – year after year!

Nidhi Taparia

Nidhi Taparia

Nidhi Taparia wears many hats -- digital expert, entrepreneur, writer and coffee junkie -- with ease. A weekend Puneite, Nidhi left the city 16 years ago to fall in love with Mumbai – but Pune still is her first crush. The views expressed here are personal. Diary of a Weekend Puneite appears every Saturday.
Nidhi Taparia