Sunday, February 20, 2011




Part 1 – Stay Inside Stay Cool


Stay Inside Stay Cool. That is the best thing to do if you live in Wakad, or for that matter, if you live in anywhere in Pune.

Just stay inside your home, for if you do decide to venture out it is highly possible that you will lose your cool.

To start with there is the crazy Pune traffic, and with most of the roads dug up for the never-ending repair, the chaos is even crazier. That is why I say:
The best way to travel in Pune is to go nowhere!

As far as I am concerned, the best thing about this place is my apartment – it is a “no-neighbours” apartment.

On a lighter note, yes, there are no neighbours at present since most of the owners seem to be long-term investors waiting for appreciation of their property and have kept their flats securely locked in the hope that the value of real estate in Pune will shoot up. Then, there are a few short-term investors who have bought flats to rent them out to young IT Pros and balance their EMIs and one never knows whether they will ever stay in these lovely apartments: exemplifying the adage – Fools Build Houses and Wise Men live in them. Well, I am not a real estate investor. I have bought the house to live in it, so I seem to be one of the exceptional few who is enjoying staying in my own brand new house.

Luckily, this place is not in the middle of a concrete jungle and you do not feel boxed-in by huge buildings surrounding you like in most places in Pune, and in the proliferating townships on the other side of the road in Wakad. Here you have a much better view than your neighbour’s balcony.

There is plenty of natural light, plenty of fresh air, a breathtaking view of the Mula River and its verdant surroundings, and a “feel good” vibe, which fills me with cheer and makes me happy to stay at home. I must say that the architect who designed these apartments in Rohan Tarang has done a real good job. One gets a feeling of roominess, brightness and liveliness here as this is not one of those ubiquitous cramped matchbox design flats, proliferating all over Pune, where one feels claustrophobic and uncomfortable the moment one enters.

I like my home. First impressions are good and as far as the other aspects like quality of construction, amenities, maintenance services and promises kept are concerned, well, it is early days yet and I will tell you in times to come.

Where is Wakad?

If you drive along the road from Aundh to the Rajiv Gandhi InfoTech Park at Hinjewadi in Pune, the moment you notice a large number of hoardings advertising various apartment townships in the concrete jungle, which you can see to your right, you know you are nearing Wakad. Well I am quite fortunate since Rohan Tarang is not in this overcrowded concrete jungle but is the solitary housing complex to the left side of the Aundh-Hinjewadi Road adjoining the Wakad village on the banks of the Mula River.

One of these billboards features a sexy skimpily clad model frolicking in a cool blue swimming pool with an iced cocktail in her hand and has the catchy slogan: Stay Inside Stay Cool. (I wonder whether the gorgeous beauty is really going to spend the rest of her life staying cool sipping cocktails and having fun in the swimming pool of that luxurious township or any of the others in the vicinity most of them bearing fancy enticing names reminding one of exotic destinations). Most of the advertisements for these so-called integrated townships exhort you to stay inside and claim that with all the amenities provided inside it is best to stay inside and there is no need to go outside.

Well I am not going to spend the rest of my life inside the walls of a ghetto immersed in a swimming pool or working out in the gym or brooding inside my house – no Stay Inside Stay Cool or Stay Inside Stay Enthralled for me.

So I am going to go out, walk all over the place, drive around, explore, and tell you all about living in Wakad. By the way, I am quite fortunate that Rohan Tarang is not located inside the overcrowded concrete jungle coming up in Wakad, but is the solitary housing complex towards the southern side of the Aundh-Hinjewadi Road adjoining the serene Wakad village on the banks of the placid Mula River which affords quite a picturesque view from my balcony, especially at sunset. But then, everything has its pros and cons.

Bye for now – Stay Inside Stay Cool and don’t forget to read my ramblings on Living in Wakad right here in this blog of mine.
Part 2 - Eating Out in Wakad
Eating out in Wakad – that’s a real joke. There is nowhere to eat out in Wakad. Yes, you don’t even get a decent Vada Pav or Bhel or Pani Puri or Misal or Dosa or Idli or Utthapam or Chola Bhatura or Pav Bhaji or a pastry or ice cream or a quality hygienic affordable value-for-money meal in Wakad.

Last evening I felt hungry and a craving for a Dosa. Now there is no place you can get a Dosa or a decent affordable value for money food in Wakad. So I had to go all the way to Shivsagar in Aundh to have a dosa.

A few years ago, when I lived near Aundh, I regularly patronised Shivsagar, which used to be a reasonable eatery for vegetarian food and snacks, but sadly now, maybe owing to the monopoly situation as there is no other competition around, it is quite expensive and the quality of food and service has gone down. Maybe it is due to the proliferating IT Pros with loads of money at such a young age who don’t bother too much about the affordability or value-for-money aspects.

For a foodie like me, it’s really sad – you can’t eat out in Wakadfor eating you have to go out of Wakad.

There is my old favourite Sadanand, still going strong, down the Katraj bypass road at the corner of the diversion to Baner. And across the flyover towards Hinjewadi there are a few high falutin places which serve good but expensive food like Café MoMo at the Marriot, Mezzanine and Admiralty and on the road towards Mumbai there is Sayaji, strongly recommended by my son, which I am planning to visit soon, especially for a feast at Barbeque Nation, and I believe there is Ginger nearby too, and I have seen a few “Dhabas” and “Garden Restaurants” dotting the road, and Soul Curry quite a distance away, and the solitary Dominoes Pizza which is the only place which provides home delivery.

Here, in Wakad, there is not even a single decent clean and well-lighted place where you can sit down in comfort with your family to relish a simple snack or meal, like the ubiquitous Udipi restaurants you have all over Pune. There is no street food either, for there are no streets!

I was fortunate to have lived at the best of locations in the heart of the best of the cities – like Churchgate in Mumbai and near CP in New Delhi, which afforded an excellent quality of life, and sometimes I wish we should have chosen a smaller place in the heart of Pune. But then the main reason we came out here to Wakad is for the convenience of my darling wife who works in Hinjewadi just five minutes away. Maybe my wife knew about the food scene out here and wants me to reduce my weight so that’s why she chose Rohan Tarang in Wakad.

On a positive note, my apartment is real good – plenty of light, plenty of air, plenty of room, an excellent view, all of which generate cheerful vibes. The connectivity is good too – it takes less time to reach Navi Mumbai than to reach the other end of Pune. The air is relatively unpolluted and the place is not congested (at least the place where I stay) unlike some other concrete jungles of Pune and, of course, I would any day prefer to stay towards the Mumbai side of Pune than towards the Ahmednagar, Solapur, Saswad, Satara, Sinhagad or Nasik sides of Pune.

It is early days yet and let’s hope things start looking up. The road is being widened, the public transportation may improve, and hopefully in case BRTS comes on the main road, there may be pedestrian pavements and cycle tracks too like on Satara Road which is delight for walkers and cyclists though it narrows down the road for cars and motorcycles, and of course the convenience of travel in BRTS buses.

Here, seeing the speed at which buildings are coming up all over, it looks like they have put the cart before the horse in the expectation that as the burgeoning townships in Wakad start getting occupied and the population multiplies, demand will create supply, and hopefully various amenities will come up – Malls, Multiplexes, Banks, Shopping Centres, Bookstores, Parks and Playgrounds, Joggers Tracks, places to hang out, the various things that enhance the quality of life, and most importantly good affordable value for money restaurants and eateries to enjoy good food.

We never plan, we hope, hope for the best, and sometimes hopes come true! Let’s hope for the best, be optimistic, pray with our hearts that the quality of life will improve, and maybe Wakad may soon become the best place in Pune to live in.

Before I end, let me tell you something you probably may not believe, incredible but true. Just before I relocated, I made a request via internet to BSNL for a landline and broadband connection at my new apartment in Rohan Tarang and promptly got an SMS that their staff would visit my place and give the connection immediately. I waited for a few days and when no one from BSNL turned up, I enquired with BSNL. I was shocked when BSNL informed me that it was not possible to give me landline telephone or broadband internet connection as there was no optical fibre cable in that area. Well, I don’t live in an uninhabited desolate mofussil area in the back of beyond or deep within remote uncharted forests and jungles – I live in a most modern township just a stone’s throw away from the much hyped “state-of-the-art” Infotech Park at Hinjewadi in Pune, which is being flaunted as the IT Capital of India. And, by the way, most of the persons living out here are IT Pros. That’s “Cart before Horse” infrastructure development for you!

So I make do with my cell phone and Reliance USB Netconnect. It may surprise you but the very same BSNL did provide me with landline and broadband in the jungles of Girinagar! Yes, sometimes rural is better than urban!
That’s “Cart before Horse” infrastructure development for you. First build the houses, let the people come in to stay, and then let the the amenities and infrastructure develop in a laissez faire fashion - the result - total chaos and free for all development - There seems to be total neglect of town planning causing overpopulation, over-pollution, unmanageable traffic, collapse of amenities and infrastructure, all of which result in a very poor quality of life. I have seen this happen everywhere in the new suburbs of Pune - like Kondhwa, Baner, Aundh for example, even in the good old localities like Deccan Gymkhana, Prabhat Road, Bhandarkar Road, Koregaon Park etc are on the verge of collapse, especially the traffic chaos due to the sheer density of vehicles and commercial activities. I hope the same thing does not happen in Wakad. At least South Wakad is better off in this respect as it is away from the concrete jungle and is has the well laid out Wakad village and greenery on the banks of the Mula river nearby. So if you are planning to buy a house, at least try to get a good deal in South Wakad as the northern part across the road is already overcrowded, filthy and quite polluted due to the dust and grime and congestion and with zero quality of life.

Hey, I have digressed. We started off with “Eating Out in Wakad” and look where we have reached! Can’t help it – there is nowhere to eat out in Wakad. Like I said: You can’t eat out in Wakad – for eating, you have to go out of Wakad.

I am hungry. So off I go – where to – I will tell you tomorrow. And I’ll also tell you my long walks with my pet dog Sherry, her fun and frolic chasing the birds and the early morning creatures defecating in the fields, the friendly souls I meet every day, the pure air and beautiful view from my balcony of refreshing sunrise, breathtaking sunsets, the alluring lights at nightand much more about living in Wakad.

At present there exists Zero Quality of Life in Wakad. Ket's hope the quality of life improves and amenities come up in Wakad.
Till that happens, if you happen to live in Wakad, the best thing is to STAY INSIDE AND STAY COOL!

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
VIKRAM KARVE educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale, and Bishop's School Pune, is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, a Human Resource Manager and Trainer by occupation, a Teacher by vocation, a Creative Writer by inclination and a Foodie by passion. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. He has written a foodie book Appetite For A Stroll and a book of fiction short stories which is being published soon and is busy writing his first novel and with his teaching and training assignments. Vikram lives in Pune with his family and pet Doberman girl Sherry, with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


Viyoma said...

Nice account of Wakad!!! Tempted to visit this place now (and No i wont stay in, will venture out))

No stay in stay cool, rather move out- stay tuned! :) :)

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