My earliest memory of Pune takes me back to 2001, when I had come to the city for an interview in what was to be my college where I would go on to do my post graduation from. I remember telling a friend on email that in certain aspects, Pune looked like a combination of Mumbai and Delhi. I still stand by my statement — It had some Greenery left that reminded me of Delhi. Then, being a distant cousin of Mumbai, some couture automatically rubs off to Pune.

In the hotel room, the first time I rented out a hotel room that is, while flipping channels I came across Sting’s music video of “When we dance”. I experienced bliss. I loved the song so much that the first thing I did the following morning was to buy Sting’s “Best of” album. The following evening, I kept listening to the album in my walkman while I waited for the train to take me back to Indore.

Back in Indore, I was one of the lucky few in the final semester of BCA, who knew where they’d be leaving for, after graduation was done with. My PG course, though not as good as I would have liked it to be, had given me an assurance, an easiness that spared me those sleepless nights which my other friends were going through (Of course, I have had my share of those before as I had hit a roadblock that could have turned out to be a catastrophe for my career, but that’s another story). So the career blues notwithstanding, I spent the rest of my 3 months in the city studying Numerical Analysis and Java, while, of course, listening to Sting.

Pune, at least the part I was living in, reflected a laid back lifestyle. Prabhat Road, as I later found out, had been a host to Narayana Murthy and Sudha Murthy. It was on these roads, they say, that romance blossomed. Roads, I know, are one of the best places for letting romance grow (Hopelessly romantic, you’d say). Anyway, my college was on Law College Road, the road nearest to Prabhat Road and the same road on which FTII is located. Spotting khadi kurta clad aspiring actors was not that difficult and to bump into Amol Palekar was also not a rare thing to happen.

After the college hours, I used to wander around Deccan and often found myself going to Alka talkies. One of the few halls in the city that, at that time (and for a long time before that too) encouraged Hollywood by showcasing only Hollywood movies, was almost the same distance from my house as was the college. Not only did I love to watch the pretty Nicole Kidman in the musical “Moulin Rouge” — I was equally horrified as Anthony Hopkins revealed cannibalism to me with “Hannibal”. But the freedom that Alka talkies gave me, and I hope still is giving to many like me, was invaluable –The freedom to watch a flick when you want to, to watch it for Rs.30 and to watch it without advance booking. The freedom to watch a movie at just the moment you feel like, without having to think twice about anything.

Today I am out of college, on my own but can I afford that same freedom?

Oh and by the way, I still listen to Sting.

One thought on “Pune

  1. mmm.. turns out, one of my clsoe frnds’ ancestral house was also near alka talkies. he showed me old B&W snaps of it the otehr day – looks very much in the wilderness! :)

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