Rain Dampens Spirits Of Pune’s Old Folk

Rainy Day
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The pitter-patter of the rain, beating against the windows in a steady rhythmic beat, seems never-ending.

As the overhead clouds, thick and still, hangs heavy in the air and keeps opening up, it seems like night for day.  Any Puneite will know that the monsoons have firmly set in.

The rain will not go away easily either. It may last a day or even four. It is so unlike Mumbai where it pours and pours and then disappears for a few hours.

The rains are awaited eagerly and always welcome, dousing the scorching heat wave and pulling down the barometer to a decent level. But Puneites know that the road ahead is going to be dangerously difficult, literally.

 

Most senior Puneites feel that hardly anything has changed over the years and the oft-repeated tales of woe have been embellished with new variations.

Girish Deshpande, 77, recalls that though the problems have got worse, he did face a lot of problems since his childhood.

“The roads always got flooded. Some of the low-lying areas were always flooded and one had to wade through knee-deep water regularly. The area near the Pune Municipal Corporation was one of the worst ones in Pune,” he says.

“One drop of rain meant no power for hours. This was most frustrating as inverters were unheard of. And one would need tonnes of patience to get through to the MSEB. Even if you did, you would get a standard reply “Kaam chalu ahey!

“Today, the problems have multiplied. There are traffic jams everywhere, arrogant drivers splash you all over, and the potholes put your life in danger.

“I used to love walking in the Pune rain. But today I can’t even think of it because either I will be given a multiple bath or fall into a ditch,” he adds.

Mahesh Jadhav, 67, has already made up his mind for the monsoons.

“I will hibernate at home until the season is over. I love the rains but not the perks which come along with it. It is disgusting to say the least. The civic authorities think big and but do precious little. All the old problems persist.

“Piles of garbage have been rotting in every visible area in the city since months. Nobody is willing to do something about of it. All this garbage will choke up the drainage system and lead to flooding everywhere.

“I am staying at home. I have done this for 20 years or so. I will continue to do so. Rather be safe than sorry.”

Virendra Bhalla, 79, is angry that the power authorities, who instead of being apologetic for the constant cuts, are arrogant to the core.

“I moved to Pune 40 years ago from Mumbai. To my surprise I began to experience powers cuts almost daily which I had never seen in Mumbai.

“Nothing has changed since then. In fact the power department is quick to disconnect your line for late payment these days.  We should fine them instead for late response to complaints,” he adds.

James Bandi, 89, has got everything planned for the monsoons.

“I am a sports lover. The World Cup football will help me while away the time for now. After that there is the Indian cricket team’s tour to England. That will cover a good month and a half. In-between there is Wimbledon tennis and other sports. Am covered until September and then the rains will stop,” he says with a smile.

“And I have two sons to look after me. What are they for if they don’t help their father who brought them up lovingly?”

However, Padmarkar Karve, 66, puts the blame squarely on the civic authorities.

“They do not care for us. The roads are already a death trap and what will happen once the rains get into full swing? They dog us when we don’t pay our taxes. We too have a right to question them and punish them for the shoddy work.

“The problem is Puneites have great patience and will bear anything for a long period. One day their patience will run out.

“Before implementing the plastic ban, they should have focused on these vital aspects too. The plastic ban will only open the doors for more corruption,” he adds.

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