One of the very few downsides to my job is that I have to travel quite a bit. It’s only within the city, praised be the lord, and I usually get to zip around on a two wheeler, for which I issue heartfelt thanks at every clogged up signal in the city. But still, there you have it. I rack up many kilometres a week.
And so, during the course of my automated perambulations of the city, I have a lot of time on my hands. Some of it is spent on listening to music, some of it is spent in day-dreaming (an occupation that I would happily make my own on a full-time basis), and an increasingly large amount is spent in wondering about the ancestry of our city planners.
There is, in addition to all this, a not inconsiderable proportion that is spent in a judicious mixture of mirth and bemusement, however, and the source of this mixture is what I wish to write about it in today’s post.
No matter which far-flung outpost of Pune you choose to visit, your eyes will be treated to a never ending parade of hoardings exhorting you to book an apartment before it is too late. They never quite explain why it will be too late, of course, but that is beside the point. The point is the magnificently kooky names and descriptions that these hoardings manage to come up with.
“Experience Bali!” asserts one hoarding, located close to that charming little outpost of Bali, the cool, verdant and outstandingly pretty suburb of Wakad. Another invites me to experience the Spanish way of living (with all modern amenities, they rush to assure me, leading me to wonder if Spaniards haven’t heard of hot water fixtures just yet) at haciendas in Kharadi.
Some have obviously been smoking the very best of the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh. There is one that coaxes me to live amidst a forest trail in Hinjewadi. Forest trails exist in Hinjewadi, for those of you lucky enough to not have visited Hinjewadi just yet, in much the same way that common sense is present in BCCI meetings. Another tells me that life as a Boston Brahmin is possible by purchasing an apartment… on Prabhat Road.
And the description provides for but half of my bemusement (to say nothing of mirth). There is, if there is any truth at all to these hoardings, a Rainforest in Pune, along with an Empire, a Sun City, a Hill Shire, and, I kid you not, Spires from Oxford. And we haven’t even warmed up yet. I have been invited to buy apartments in Mount and Glory (tee hee hee!), for example, while if I so wish, I can also initiate my real estate empire by buying a flat in an Enigma. At least they’re being honest about the real estate scenario in India, this particular bunch .
There are Jazz Cities, Western Hills, Gold Coasts, Life Republics in Pune, and I’ve probably forgotten more of these than I’ll encounter in the days to come. All of them display a remarkable sense of urgency, assuring me that I have nothing but a life of regret to look forward to if I don’t rush to their booking office at this very instance and give them at least one of my kidneys in order to call a couple of square feet my own.
So far, I’ve bravely resisted temptation, and stayed immune to the charms of these sirens of the road. You never know, however. If on one of these days you see me, box of pedhas in hand, it’ll probably be because I’ve decided to take up abode in a Cartref Castle in Chakan.*
*That’s the Welsh word for home. No such project exists at the time of writing, but I assure you, it’s only a matter of time.