My Facebook timeline over the last one month is filled with my Pune peeps travelling for their summer break outside and within the country. And as I travel, I am beginning to look at my own hometown with new eyes and more questions. Because nothing else opens your eyes like travel does! And the husband gets itchy feet every few weeks looking longingly at every airplane flying in the sky!
As our host and dear friend in NYC, Raj Bhimani walked us around his neighbour hood blocks, he showcased the history and beauty of Upper West in Broadway with much detail and enthusiasm. “This building was built in 1909 and had space for carriages… And look at the intricate carvings in the doorway!” The pride in his voice was palpable as he showcased the 440 building on Riverside Drive. A pride of being a part of the history of the city and also living in it – even though he’s Indian and didn’t grow up in New York.
I wondered, if I could showcase Model Colony in so much detail – a part of Pune I have lived in for 26 years and the answer was a resounding no! It shocked me that beyond the usual Chitranjan Vatika and Hare Rama Hare Krishna Mandir… I didn’t know much about the blocks around my city.
And unlike the 28,000 acres of park area that’s earmarked for Pune, we can only still count just 11 parks worth talking about. And unlike a Park commissioner who took on the role… even though it technically it doesn’t have any power and converted it into the most powerful and important designation in the government in New York after the Mayor! In our city, we earmark construction and water works as the important departments with the PWD Department being the most sought after post in the PMC.
The way NYC preserves their art and culture makes me think of why do we have just the Aga Khan Palace and the Raja Dinkar Museum to showcase our history. And more importantly, how many of us have even been there? Or when will a corporate giant put time and money aside to showcase art, paintings and our culture with the platform it deserves rather than put it on the walls of their homes?
Or the fact that the bus system and the subway in New York makes life easy for the older, senior citizens and the disabled but we in Pune don’t even respect the citizens that make way for half the population of the city. As a stakeholder of Pune city and its future, I wonder when we will have answers to these questions! I hope you will too!
My other picks for the week Super proud of my friends Sameer Dua whose book “Declaring Breakdowns” makes it to the bestseller list and into reprint and Rajeev Kher, who’s work on portable sanitation and waste management makes him a part of the PM’s delegation to Nairobi.
Must try: Savya Rasa, a South Indian restaurant is my favourite to take friends from out of town. A hidden gem at Koregaon Park, I can’t wait to try their new menu that draws from cuisines such as the Kongunadu, Chettinad, Malabar Moplah, Syrian Christian and Mangaluru!
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