Random Thoughts

Pune: Down Memory Lane

September 12, 2006. I turned 50. After traversing the length and breadth of the country for almost all my life I'm back in my hometown Pune. I am overcome by nostalgia, for the Pune I once lived in no longer exists.

Then, in the early sixties, when I was a small boy, Pune was called Poona, and I used to live in my grandfather's house on Parvati Chowk on Tilak Road opposite Madiwale Colony in Sadashiv Peth. A hugely bearded man prepared the best bhel in town (Kalpana Bhel) just below our house; today the bearded man is no more, the stall is there, but the old tasty bhel is missing ' today it's just run of the mill stuff. And there was Santosh Bhavan opposite for Misal, thali and yummy snacks.

In the evenings we ran to Talyatla Ganpati, to pray, and Peshwe Park zoo, to see the animals, play on the swings and slides in the park, or ride the toy train Phulrani. Now there is a beautiful Saras Baug surrounding theTalyatla Ganpati Temple and the zoo has gone to Katraj.

If you wanted to have Non-Veg, there were Asara, Jeevan, Poonam, Good Luck and Lucky in the city, otherwise you had to go to Camp. Asara has closed down, Jeevan has become Grahak Peth departmental store, Poonam a pure veg place, Lucky demolished; only Good Luck at Deccan is going strong. There was Poona Coffee House at Deccan, and Irani joints like Ideal, Regal and Volga, for tea, coffee, bun maska, omlette, kheema pav and samosas. In Camp there was the famous Naaz serving delectable mutton samosas and the Coffee House on Moledina Road serving delicious breakfast.

Naaz hasbeen replaced by Barista, and it's other avatar, the Maha Naaz, a veg place, is also going to close down. Most of the Irani joints and the Camp Coffee House have been transformed into Udipi eateries serving Dosa and the like, and Poona Coffee House, which underwent an up-market transformation, may also close down as per a report in Sakal. Yes, Sakal, my favorite Marathi newspaper, is still going strong, but the Poona Herald (called Herald now) has The Times of India and the Indian Express to reckon with.

In camp Dorabjee & Sons is still there for scrumptious Biryani and Parsi food, but the inimitable Kamling on East Street, where I first tasted Chinese, has disappeared and in its place stands a veg thali place which I must visit.

Bhanuvilas, where I saw Marathi films, New Empire, which screened Hollywood stuff, and Hindvijayat Deccan have vanished, and the old world West End with its unique chairs and soda fountain has been replaced by a modern hall minus the soda fountain and the relaxed ambience. Now there are Multiplexes.

I can go on and on in this vein, but that will make me melancholic. Solet's look at the positive side ' Ganu Shinde, Kawre are still there for pure ice cream and mastani, but Bua has gone. Ramnath and its fiery Misal still stimulate, and so do most of the Amrututulyas like Ambikaand New Ambika and Badshahi Boarding is still unchanged. In camp there is George, Kayani, Kwality, Marzorin, Mona Food and Budhanis. And all the sweet shops like Chitale, Kaka Halwai, Karachi and Bhavnagri are flourishing from strength to strength. And many new places have come up. And all the bookstores like Manneys, International, Popular and the ones at Appa Balwant Chowk are getting better and better, and there is Crossword too.

And of course, 'Yours' truly' is still going strong at 50. So I'm going to celebrate my half century - Happy Birthday to me!  


More by :  Vikram Karve

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Views: 3312      Comments: 5

Comment Thank you Vikram. It was really down memory lane that you travelled. Nostalgic memories of the Poona we knew. I still remember the shops down the whole of Laxmi Road till Sadashiv Peth. The misal we used to get at LIC's ground floor from Aaji. The masala doodh and karvass at a joint I cannot remember the name on Laxmi Road. Some places do change so much and this is one of those. Also remember the Naaz at the corner of Main street where they had a juke box in those days 55-60. Bun muska was the best. Still is at Cafe Yezdan opposite Kayanis. And of course the Kayanis on East street where still the sponge cake, shrewsbury biscuits and hazel nut gets over at 4 if you dont go on time. Saras Baug itself has changed... Hardly any parks for the Pune people now. With Bund garden completely changed... Very few scenic places in Camp. Of course the military area has not changed much on East Street. We can go on and on...Cycling to Wadias was the best...down Council hall and serene Camp..Gone ....

Marina Lobo
19-Mar-2014 07:21 AM

Comment Thanks AH - I am glad the post evoked nostalgia

Vikram Karve
15-Feb-2014 05:17 AM

Comment right vikram i remeber eyery thing about poona i used to be in poona in 1966 till 1977 studing in wadia i live in uk now but still visit poona my home in bund garden

abbas hathiari
08-Feb-2014 14:03 PM

Comment Dear Santos,
Thanks for your comment. I am glad this article evoked nostalgia in you.
All the Best

Vikram Karve
26-Nov-2012 03:46 AM

Comment Vikram Karve,
Have you forgotten karve road..cofee house..Alankar cinema where we went first day first show..bunking classes....from that WADIA COLLEGE..

Yes and race course.....And the arti bells at 730 p m every sunday the mullnamaz from the mosque dome..

AND SO MANY NICE REMEMBERENCE........but time changes every thing..
YOU and ME also...
We cannot forget that maasis house....Mamas house and MOTHER and Father waiting for the son to reach back..
and that lonavla chikki...
that icecream kulfi place in front of Railway station.....
So on so on so on.....Just Smile and make the most out what we still have....

I was born in POONA AT 78 M G ROAD
and in 1955....studied at st miras school and later at wadia college....

21-Nov-2012 16:52 PM

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