Pune Notes

In the middle of our trip, we took an intercity bus (sort of a cross between a Megabus and a Greyhound, I guess) from Mumbai to Pune, where K lived for a few years as a student. It took forever to get out of Mumbai, but once we did, the scenery was breathtaking. There were all these little waterfalls pouring down lush, green mountainsides. Unfortunately, I have not mastered the skill of taking decent photos through the rain-streaked window of a moving bus, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

Taking cellphone video from a moving rickshaw, however, I can do. Pune is much more chill than Mumbai, and there are a lot more young people around. Just imagine the smell of diesel to complete the sensory experience of this next video.

Pune Rickshaw 1

It’s strange that I’ve written two posts about India without mentioning the absolutely insane traffic. This next video gets that across much better, though because it’s in Pune and not Mumbai, it’s not nearly as extreme as it can get. Rather than let the incessant honking stress me out, I thought of it as more casual than hostile, like “Hi! You there! I know you won’t use your indicator or look over your shoulder before changing your trajectory, so meep-meep, FYI, I’m here!”  (Also, I realize it’s unsettling, but people cover their faces because of the pollution, not for modesty or banditry, for the most part.)

Pune Rickshaw 2

Anyway, we visited some family friends, walked around Ferguson College, did a little shopping, saw some tourist sites. I’m so behind on this chronicle that it seems absurd to keep going, but for old time’s sake, here’s me standing beside a giant banyan tree.

Banyan Tree

This was in a park outside a shrine that we visited, which I described in my notebook as follows:

…a basalt cave with straight pillars and swept stone floors. There were a few older women sitting around looking out at the courtyard. There was the smell of incense coming from the shrines, which were smaller, deeper caves that we didn’t enter or photograph.

To be super meta about it, here’s a picture K took of me at the German Bakery, where I probably wrote that last bit.

German Bakery

Whoever designed those mugs was not thinking of the south-paws in our midst, though I guess drinking coffee with your nondominant hand isn’t that big a deal. Our hostess in Mumbai had a set as well, so they are not super uncommon. Anyway, this is what I wrote (later) about the German Bakery:

There was a metal-detector, bag search, and (for K) a pat-down at the door because there was a bomb blast there a few years ago… What makes the security measures especially strange is that it’s a coffeehouse, a small one. We had americanos, served with heart-shaped cookies we didn’t touch because we’ve been overeating so constantly.

It appears that years of technical writing have killed whatever poetry used to inject itself into my notebooks, but the crisp little reminders of moments and moods are fun to collect, and they’re not always quite as dry as these. Also, during those moments and moods, a little scribble break is pretty refreshing regardless of what comes of it, and it’s a break for K as well because it forces me to stop talking for a few minutes.

And this has officially gone off the narrative rails.

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  1. #1 by Susannah on August 13, 2014 - 12:18 pm

    Love this post. Despite your sense of the influence of your technical writing self, you manage to write several turns of phrase that are quite nice. I like the parallel of “modesty or banditry” and the idea of a “scribble break” seems quite delightful. Your rickshaw videos are priceless of course for conveying the atmospheric sense of Pune, combined with your interpretation of everyone’s good-natured meep meeping. I also like the mixture of retrospective/summary and snippets from your real-time travelogue.

  2. #3 by Natalie on September 22, 2014 - 9:03 am

    I’d like to add a “ditto” to everything Susannah said. I loved this post.

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