I’d have called it a flyover, but..

Presenting an all new take on Amchi Pune with Ashish Kulkarni who is known to weave his wisdom with inimitable wit, making you want to celebrate life again and again. 

He will write for Pune365 every Thursday.

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The Pune Metro got the nod from the powers that be a while ago.

There are those among you who will have felt a frisson of excitement upon reading those words, anticipating, no doubt, those happy days when you can climb into sleek, modern, air conditioned trains that hum efficiently along the length and breadth of our fair metropolis. I envy you your youthful optimism.

And there are, doubtless, those among you who were around when the Pune Municipal Corporation decided to solve the congestion around the University roundabout by building a flyover there. Or when they decided to build that structure near Sancheti Hospital. I’d have called it a flyover, but my vocabulary clears it’s throat rather forcefully every time I think of doing so.

Call those of us who belong to the latter category cynics if you must, but we’ve had our hopes dashed once too often for us to do anything but shrink in horror at the prospect of having huge monolithic pillars sprout up all over Pune’s arterial roads. There will be trains that run atop those pillars eventually, we grant you that, but it is our sad duty to inform you that we’re talking geological time frames here, not human ones.

Take the aforementioned Sancheti structure, for example. It is difficult to be sure now, when so many years have passed, but I think construction began when Delhi was trying its hardest to screw up the Commonwealth Games. And here we are today: those Games came and went, we won a Cricket World Cup and lost the next one, have had a change in government at the centre and work on the structure continues until today. And given the way it’s been designed, said work will continue well into the future, I promise you that.

Hardened veterans will start queuing up at this point to talk about the flyovers at Hinjewadi, Hadapsar and other noteworthy battlefields that have sprung up all over Pune, but the theme remains unified. Our dear old PMC is very many things, but efficiency is most assuredly not on the list.

And don’t even get me started on the aesthetics of the whole thing. I happened to be in Bangalore when they started work on their own Journey of a Trillion Years, and just the thought of what MG Road has been turned into makes me want to turn to drink. Which makes the location of Brigade Road a rather convenient one, but I digress. The point is, a beautiful tree lined avenue with lovely sidewalks has been turned into a concretized monstrosity. And if there is an endangered species in Pune today, it is beautiful tree lined avenues. The outlook, in short, is bleak.

Which is why, when they announced the Metro, us experienced Puneris listed trepidation as our primary emotion. Yes, I’d rather live in a city that has a functioning Metro, and yes Pune’s size, population and economy necessitates a Metro. Agreed. I just think it’s sad that my great-grand-daughter’s kids will be the first ones from our family to take a ride in it.

On the other hand, I can pretty much guarantee that those little tikes will know trees the way our generation knows the dodo. So excuse me while I go for a walk along those currently pillar-less tree-lined avenues, while the opportunity still presents itself.

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

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