At the railway station, handing over a water bottle, my father asked me, “Why are you going to Pune?”
I wondered what to answer.
“I have not experienced that part of my country. So I am uprooting myself from here and moving to Pune.” — Can I tell him this?
The very fact that I had traded a regular job in Bangalore for a job of few months in a year was in itself shocking. I dint want to add to his agony by giving him a reason that might sound lame and make him uncomfortable.
“Pune is closer to my head office. It will be convenient you see, if I need to get there once in a few months,” I answered—which was in a teeny-weeny way true.
He was not convinced, but spared me from any further questions. This decision to shift was not taken on an impulse. Rather, it had been a strong one gaining momentum every single day in the last one year.
After 15 hours of comfortable train journey, I reached Pune railway station. In the first few hours of reaching the station until checking-in at the homestay, my mind stayed blank. Slowly, when my thought processes were set in motion after a cup of tea, I took a deep breath and reminded myself—“I have four days to find me a place in this city alright.”
Sieving the city for days on stretch, I found a small cozy apartment, 15 km away, in the outskirts. The apartment set right behind a hillock, is surrounded on three sides by palm and neem trees. At an arm’s length are bird nests of shapes that I cannot describe. Mornings and evenings, I have the privilege of a dozen birds’ company.
My second floor apartment overlooks the top of a fruit tree and brings me in close proximity with sunbirds of all types, green bee-eaters (as I am writing this, I see four of them), red vented bulbuls, fantail, grey tits, pigeons, Indian robin, and warblers.
Being far from the city with limited resources, this place quite fits the description of a village. Since there are only a couple of options for any of my requirement, I have become a familiar face in the area. The security guard who always had a grim look on his face, decided to be friendly after I humored him with my broken Hindi.
Women in sari, draped the Maharastrian way, selling vegetables under dim light in the night market, vendors selling chaats on carts that are eternally crowded, loud fruit vendors, roadside tea stalls—these people and places have become my prime attractions.
At 09:00 am, walking to a small tea shop—which has a statue of Shivaji, decked up in fresh flowers—a km away for badam tea has become my daily morning routine. After the first few days, a boy working at the tea shop came to me and asked, “aap bachelor ho?”—a funny way of asking if I am married. That weirdly happened to be the ice breaking conversation! These days he beams with a smile on seeing me and gets me masala dhoodh or badam tea on alternate days without asking. So far, it has been a good few days.
As I am slowly inching towards what I set out to do, I hope you find all the strength, monies, and time to make your dreams come true. I wish you all a happy, and kick-ass new year! 🙂