Archive for the ‘Pune’ Category


Cycle Baffle

May 25, 2012

Cycling as a sport never really took off in India. It probably never even landed. The last time someone from India participated in a Cycling event at the Olympics was in 1952. 40 years later, Aamir Khan played the estranged son who won the inter-college cycle race to prove that Jo Jeetha Wohi Sikander. That movie may have sparked some Josh (pun unintended) amongst the Indian public. I, for one used to bike to school pretending I was in a race. “Change the gear Sanju, Change the gear.” I did not have a geared bike then, but you get the point.

In any case, having returned to Pune after a brief hiatus, it saddened me to see that the n number of cycles that once used to infest the roads has now shrunk to a number that is very close to Kareena’s size zero. A lot of the cycle dealers themselves have given up the business and moved to other lucrative opportunities. This leaves the youth of today with very little opportunity to realize the benefits of this wonderful exercise. Being part of the Rapid Urban Boom By Incremental Steps of Harakiri that Pune has witnessed, I too ended up giving away my cycle a few years ago.

However, going by the current fuel hike, I foresee cycling becoming a national phenomenon. Hopefully, someone – in their zest to curb expenses – will discover their strong Armstrongish ability to pedal his or her way to glory. The Pune Pedal Power foundation is making a valiant effort to create awareness by organizing a cycle rally on the 3rd of June 2012. Instantly, I thought of participating. The only hurdle was to get hold of a cycle. How difficult would that be. I searched online to see if anyone rented out cycles. Not too many shops. And the ones that did, were already booked for the day of the Rally. Think Watson, think. Maybe Koregaon Park would be a place where cycles may be found on rent given the fact that the Osho Resort is located there. I took out my motorcycle. (I am sure if Shanky learnt of this, he would not be happy. “All the way you went on your motorcycle? Why? To find a cycle “) Though If SRK had been Shanky’s student, he would probably have replied, “Kuch jeetne ke liye kuch haarna bhi padta hai…”

Having reached KP, I scouted the area but did not find anything close to a cycle shop. Intuitively, I veered onto Lane No 7. Apart from a few newly constructed buildings, there did not seem much to discover there. So I turned around and suddenly noticed a small tea stall on the side of the road. Maybe this guy will know some cycle shop out here I thought. I went up to him and asked him if he knew anyone who rented out cycles. He asked me for how many days I needed one for. I told him that I needed it for only one day. He told me to go and meet Vinod who has a Paan shop with a GoldFlake banner on Lane 4.

I reached Lane 4 only to find a Paan shop sans GoldFlake banner. Maybe his cycle business is so lucrative that he plans to do away with his Paan shop, is what I thought as I got down from my bike. I walked up to the shop and asked for Vinod. There were two people sitting inside the shop. They looked at each other and shook their heads in negation. Maybe this Vinod was Agent Vinod who kept traveling from one Lane to another. Or maybe the Tea guy got confused between Lane 4 and Lane 3. I rode up to Lane 3 but failed to find any Paan shop. Maybe the Tea guy got confused between Lane 4 and Lane 5. I rode up to Lane 5 and there was the GoldFlake Paan shop I was looking for. I quickly went up to the shop and asked for Vinod. The guy sitting at the Paan shop asked which Vinod I was looking for – Vinod the Paanwala or Vinod the Cyclewala. I felt like replying Vinod Khanna but I refrained. I said I was looking to rent a cycle for the day and the Tea-guy on Lane 7 had sent me. I was then referred to Vinod the Cyclewala.

After a lengthy discussion with Agent Vinod, I found that since it was off-season there was not much demand for cycles. So he had packed up all his cycles and would only bring them back to KP during the winter. This was getting frustrating. “Ek cycle ki keemat tum kya jaano Ramesh” was a dialogue I made a mental note of while I rode back home. Maybe SRK could use it in a documentary called Cycle-a-Have Jayate or Chuck De Car. Who knows. After the IPL he might buy all the KKR players a cycle as a gift.

I hope the Cycle Rally turns out to be a huge success and it spurs more people to bike more regularly and increase the population of cycles in Pune. Even Kareena claims she is no longer size zero.

Original version published on Sportskeeda


Na Tum Jaano Na Hum

January 23, 2011

I happened to watch this Bollywood movie Johnny Gaddaar last night and most of you Bollywood fans may be wondering, “Hello, Tera Kya Hoga Johny release ho gaya aur yeh bhaisahab ab tak Neil Nitin Mukesh (NNM) ke pahele film par atke hue hai.”  But you see, the former movie released at a time when I was still coming to terms with the intricacies of Graduate life and a lot of good movies made their way unnoticed by my erstwhile filmy eyes.

So yesterday as I perused through my portfolio of potentially good movies that I perhaps may like, I decided on watching Johnny Gaddaar, which as per Wiki has been hailed widely as a path breaking film in the Hindi movie industry. The film begins with a dedication towards Vijay Anand and James Hadley Chase and works of both personalities make their presence felt as the movie progresses. But, I feel the movie is also an ode to Big B. The introductory music piece is very Don-ish and the plot keeps referring to Parwana – one of Big B’s pre-Zanjeer movies. Its amazing how Big B’s movies are still a source of inspiration for the Bollywood fraternity. Be it Farhan’s version of Don or the soon-to-be-remade Agneepath. In fact the night after the Philadelphia marathon, we were having dinner at a desi dhabhi-like place close to downtown. And in the sitting area, a tiny TV-VCR was setup showing Big B’s Hera Pheri. I was reminded of Shanky’s famous dialogue, “All the way you came here to do what – sit in a dhabha and watch Big B’s movies’ on VCR.”

All in all, I was highly impressed with Johnny Gaddaar. There are a few flaws and assumptions but the movie moves swiftly from scene to scene and one is sucked into the plot through some wonderful performances by Vinay Pathak, Dharmendra, Zakir Hussain (not the table maestro) and last, but not the least, NNM – playing the protagonist. I was in fact surprised by the veracity of Johnny’s character who has to make impromptu decisions as he makes his way through crime and commotion. It reminded me of the game Mafia that is so popular at most pot-luck parties.

There is one scene that I particularly liked where NNM asks Dharmendra, “Sir, itne paise ghar par rakhkar aapko darr nahi lagta, aapki umar bhi toh… ?” but before he can complete his statement Dharam twists NNM’s hands behind his back making NNM go into spasms of pain. Dharam in his inimitable style says, “It’s not the age, it’s the mileage.

The movie also briefly flashes scenes of the Pune Railway Station and the Pune Airport bringing back some sweet memories of both. For there was a time where my life revolved around transiting between Pune and Hyderabad, be it by plane, train or bus.

The fifth and final ODI is about to begin soon. Will India create history by winning it’s first ODI series in SA? Will the Weather Gods make their presence felt again? Or will SA triumph coming back from a 1-2 deficit? For the sheer love of the purity of sport, I hope nobody knows yet – Na Tum Jaano Na Hum…



November 15, 2010

I can’t believe the weather in State College is what it is. Sunday evening,  mid-November and a half- sleeves T-shirt is all I had on. (I had my Jeans on obviously). Needless to say preparing for the 8K run has become the cry of the hour for the last Coupleofwix. Many must be thinking that I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon Justforkix. But that’s not true. The State College Run-for-India team is dedicated towards its cause, and, as my manager would say, ‘is pushing beyond the boundaries’ of State College. I guess, one of our team-members, who is preparing for the full 26 mile marathon, would have to peregrinate [Barrons et al.] well beyond SC into the neighbouring towns.

Onto other things, Harbhajan scored his third successive fifty* against NZ. With due respects to Bhaji, the undercover agents within the NZ team seem to be Uptonoendoftrix. India tours SA next month. That would be the ultimate litmus ‘Test’ on our already-much-debated-about Test cricket ranking. It would be interesting to see who calls the shots there. (Too many puns na…)

2011 is around the corner and people who are looking to purchase their set of annual calenders do check out this link. The calendars cost 200 rupees each and the money is directed towards an NGO in Pune. Hopeitclix for them.

* Bhaji went on to score a century …


Formula One

May 3, 2010

I was reading IndInMan’s blog on ‘Learning’ the other day and I couldn’t help but think that sometimes you just need some wise guy with a philosophical bent of mind to come and tell you the right thing, however much you may not like it.

Bham! In the face. Here is your answer.

And immaturity might come in the way of understanding the true meaning of the words, but sooner or later one understands.

Harsha Bhogale talks about talent and hard-work in this fantastic speech at IIM Ahmedabad where he gives an apt example comparing SRT and Vinod Kambli. Both talented, but today they stand on different pedestals of Indian cricketing history. HB ends the speech with the famous Urdu lines,

Khudi ko kar buland itna, ke har taqdeer sey pehley,
Khuda bande sey poochey, bata teri raza kya hai.

(Raise thyself to such heights, That God Himself may Ask-
What do you wish me to write in your fate ?)

On a lighter note, yesterday I was listening to a recording from Udayan Kanade’s DSP lectures and I was joyfully taken back into that crammed class-room of BMCC. While UK delved into the concepts of convolution and filter kernels, I was enjoying the occasional wise-cracks coming from the class. As the class drew to an end, I recognized a few of the voices discussing the class. These were apna VIT/Vincent’s paltan (P, A of PANGS, WNIB and AT). Sheer nostalgia. Click below for the conversation.


Guy Talk

June 2, 2009

It has been a hectic last couple of months. Semester endings are always a pain, whether one has 3 courses to juggle or just 1 course to tackle. There is always that report that never seems to get completed till the last minute or that exam which is never thought off till the night before. But in the end all’s well that ends well.

Well, after all that hard-work, a good long holiday was the cry of the hour. So off we went on a road trip right down to Miami. Beach, bikini and beer. Can’t ask for more. There is something about the sea that makes those women extremely hot. Need to do more research on that. And learn Spanish too.

Anyways, so yesterday was just one of those days where a guy gang slowly began to make its presence felt at the author’s place. It was a little after 7 pm and during these long summer days, it was just the right time to enjoy a cup of tea and watch the sun slowly dip into the horizon, soon to dawn on the land we thought of so much these days.

It is an oft-debated theory, especially among the fairer sex, that when a group of guys gets together, all they can discuss is girls. But there are occasions when we deviate from the obvious. And yesterday was one such day.

Our talk started off with the General Motors’ bankruptcy filing news and how this would impact other global players in the automotive industry, we touched upon the possibilities of the whereabouts of the missing Air France Airbus A330, then made our way to the dark side of Dubai and slowly meandered towards one of my favourite topics, Pune. (Yours truly being born and brought up in Pune.)

Three out of the other four guys had – at sometime or the other – been associated with Pune for the purpose of education or work. So the topic started with one of my room-mates mentioning how amazing the schooling was in Pune.

Another guy exclaimed,
“Bhai, UG in Pune!!! Kya mazze ke din the woh!!!”

Another guy blurted out,
“The girls at E-Square!”

He then explained how he once went to a multiplex in Hyderabad to watch a movie, and began to wonder whether women had stopped watching movies. I completely sympathized with the dude. For when I was living in Hyderabad, I had had a few debacles at the only multiplex (Prasads) that Hyderabad had then (PVR had yet not started then). I then decided to keep all the mega block buster type movies strictly for my Pune visits. Rang de Basanti was the one movie that I couldn’t wait to get to Pune to watch. So I saw it at Prasads. And then I went to Pune and saw the movie again to get the actual feel of the movie.

After movie halls, the topic moved to some of the wierd names that Pune areas have. Camp, Koregaon Park, Bibewadi, Swargate, Jangali Maharaj Road. There are so many. But the wierdest that we could think of was the chowk called ‘Seven Loves Chowk’ that lies below the fly-over connecting Swargate to Camp. Why would someone name a chowk ‘Seven Loves Chowk’? My guess is that there was a hotel named ‘Seven Loves’ at that chowk. I wonder how the food would be there?

Any other guesses?