I remember doing nothing, and warming my bed most of the time, as a billion beams of light entered through the liberally wide open windows of my room. I remember watching Scorsese, Tarantino, Hitchcock, Spielberg, Tarkovsky, Kurosawa and all the possible TV series I could, back to back, as I sat munching on something spicy and crunchy throughout the passing days in Pune. I remember the countless drinks that entered my head as I sat in there, alone, and happy, and satisfied. I remember the way my room understood me, more than I ever could. I remember the fair skinned woman, her back and the inside of her thighs; I remember touching her as the dress slowly slipped down her arm while lying, careless about the world, on that four legged cushion. I remember the raindrops making that drumming sound on the plastic shade of my window, where I sat and enjoyed all that the nature could throw in at me, from the impromptu monsoons, to the golden orange light of the dying sun. I remember writing endless poems and thinking of pointless stories and screenplays at 3 am in the night. I remember forgetting them when I woke up the other day. I remember the red carpets, the huge stone walls, the dogs and pigeons and the 130 years old British Architecture of my Alma Mater. I remember not going to College, because everyone knows that the Attendance Defaulter’s threats from Fergusson College are mere threats and the excitement in the streets inside and outside campus were more tempting. I remember myself, isolated, in my own world and yet in love with the city and its beauty and ruins. I remember the joblessly enthusiastic crowd I met everyday on the streets of Pune, everybody wanting to have a plan but utterly failing at it, escaping the failure into their music culture, and rum and smoked grass by the end of every other night. Never have I ever seen such a place as Pune is; a land of some staunch, disciplined, and debatably miser Puneri’s and a land of many young (so-called atheist) hearts, only wanting to lead the life of chill; undeclared Rastafarians and Nihilists and Agnostics and Ambitious people who speak of how they want their life to be after 10 years, while they have not yet planned which restaurant are they going to dine at this Saturday Night. Pune is that kind of a chaos where one wants others to think that one is doing something in life and so should they, but ultimately all one is doing is chilling out most of the time, making the whole city a big rave party. Pune has this wild spirit, one everyone wants to tame, one everyone has once in their life wanted to live, one I have had the privilege to live, for about 6 years of my life. So much did I connect to the place that that apartment in Deep Bangla Chowk, next to Maharaja Wines was HOME to me.
It all started back when I was a 15 year old fat boy from small town Nashik, full of jumpy and restless hormones. There was no way I knew the ways of people from a metropolitan. I was shy about talking to girls and making new friends for crying out loud! It was no soon after I had enrolled in Fergusson College of Arts for 11th grade back in 2010, that I realised I cannot carry on with this introverted, thick, bumpkin skin of mine. I used to awe at every little thing that happened in the city to which its residents used to be like “meh…”. The first breakthrough happened when a random girl in the junior college asked me if I wanted to accompany her for a smoke. Things that ran through my mind, “Oh a girl! And she spoke to me!” and “Oh how pretty she is! I think she likes me!” and “A girl and she smokes?! She must be such a rebel!”, believe me, for a guy coming from Nashik, a girl (forget her age) who smokes comes as a BIG surprise. I accompanied her (though smoking is one thing, I never managed to adopt to ever); I think she wanted to talk to me about my views on life (I hardly had any back then) or music at least, but to my bad, I gave her a lecture on how bad smoking tobacco is; she hardly ever spoke to me again. And so the journey started, from being that naive boy to being the mature man I am today (or at least I would like to think of myself as mature). Piece by piece, Pune hammered and broke my shell, exposing me to a lot of independence, and responsibilities towards myself that came along as part and parcel.
Coming to the people I met in Pune. There were two kinds of friends I had. One kind were the forced friends; the roommates and flatmates. I have seen the weirdest and the most despicable and awkward people in my life while I went through a dozen of such forced friendships. Unhygienic, Unclean, Unbathed, Stinking, Naked dudes with twisted ideologies and infamous habits. Only a few out of these forced friendships really proved useful, although being through all that weirdness WAS a life experience! The other kind of friends were the ones I met in my college and Filmmaking endeavours; the times spent with whom I will always cherish. Actually everyone in Pune had become a big part of me, from that grumpy musician uncle next door, to the old florist lady outside the building, to my favourite chātwala to, to the owner of my favourite café, to the best friend everyone thought I was dating and that German girl (and many other girls) I was rapidly infatuated with. Such things happen, you meet people, and then they go, or you do. Some you still stay in contact with, some become just numbers in your contacts list, some only a speckle in your unconscious memory, and some are like those scribbles you do on the last page of your diaries you don’t want anyone to see…
Another thing I learnt in Pune was to have an opinion and more-over respecting other’s opinions. I owe my complete attitude towards life to this city. So many memories and people have happened that if I start mentioning them this article would never end. Leaving Pune was like the sudden death of the child in me. I now stand on a very crucial turn in my life. It’s time to earn now, to move on and give in to the clockwork.
So as I end, I dedicate this article to all the people I met in this lovely city called Pune. I might have hated you, liked you, hanged out with you, stayed with you, attended college with you, worked with you, or even just known you by your name or by your face, Thank you! Thank you for all these brilliant years. And though I have left… a piece of my head will never leave Pune. It still sits at that window overlooking a busy street, sipping from a glass of whiskey, listening to Pink Floyd, and breathing some laid off evening air of Pune city….