Height of idiosyncrasy

Rahul, my friend from non-journalistic circle and a Mumbaikar yesterday asked me the reasons behind Puneites being over quirk as often being described. I did not respond for a bit. Later, I said; “its’ in their DNA”. Piqued over my terse and equally dull response, Rahul then decided not to stretch further.

In a while, after having three pegs of Tequila Casco, Rahul again touched upon the issue. I pretended to be stoical, further making Rahul infuriate.

More sagacious than me on all accounts, Rahul understood my ploy and as equally as he had started the discussion then gave up in between. Till the time I had also finished a pitcher of kingfisher. On an unusual high, I then led the halfway discussion and asked Rahul what made him think that Puneites are quirk. Contrary to what was anticipated, Rahul described me the incident about how and why he was humiliated in Janaseva hotel on Laxmi road. The reason for humiliation was, he had arrived their at 12:30 in the afternoon when hotel gets closed and did ask for three different items, which could not have been finished in a time further delaying the shop closing. The shopowner, Upadhye, bluntly refused to give anything to Rahul who was dying from hunger on fast day.

I could sense Rahul’s plight and hence recalled for him a limerick from P L Deshpande’s 'Khilli'; A book in which a section is dwelt on typical habits of people from Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur. Pu La says: peshwe ani tange gelet pan punyacha puneri pan kahi sutla nahi (The Peshwa’ and buggies no longer exist, yet the old habits of poeple of Pune inculcated during Peshwa regime still continues).

Here the unending and ever-interesting subject of pulling puneites’ for their quirky nature took the centerstage. Appa’s Khee-Ka (Shree or Appa as he is known has named Khichadi and Kakadi as Khee-Ka) at Deccan Gymkhana or Bala’s style of serving wine and snacks at BBC were the begining of our discussion. The name of this Bar near Kalamadi house is actually Swagat, but the section of visitors coming here are mostly from Kothrud, Nav sahyadri, Law college, Prabhat and Bhandarkar road. And this very class of visitors earned it the sobriquet Brahmin Bar Club or BBC. The uniqueness of BBC is, it start serving booze at nine in the morning when all the oldies from above mention areas come here to emit their exhaustion after a stroll from F.C or Rupali. Debates on the work done by Marathi Sahitya Sammelan or potholes taking Pune on new high are regular ones here. The weirdness about the Bar is, Bala, a south Indian owner, is so much punctual that if you ask him finger-chips even before a minute prior to Seven in the evening, he would refuse it saying his Kitchen opens at sharp Seven. For him business comes latter. But for its customer, BBC is home away from home. I have seen boozers bringing here Tiffin full of home made snacks.

Same is true about Appa, who would not hesitate to oust the thirsty boys coming from Kalamadi’s international marathon on first Sunday of Feb. Appa reasons that these boys spoils the character of his canteen, which mostly caters again the same class coming to BBC. The next in this oddity-laden Pune is Upasane’s misal house in Kasba. The dusty benches, noise generating fans, heavy layers from half-burned candles on table and equally uncouthly voice of Upasane, owner of the hotel, are the factors least dampening the spirit of customer, who, I am told, have been visiting here uninterruptedly for years. The hotel ostensibly earn huge money but put slightest for his shop.

Well, the list to catapult peculiarity in Punekars’ is unending, so as the discussion between I and Rahul. But the deadline at ‘24-Carat’ where we were having evening session did not permit us to further go down discussing the unending subject.

P S: I have due regards to Pune and all Punekars and no intention whatsoever to hurt people from this beautiful city. The experiances described above are my own and true in nature.

Routine yet untold

I had vowed of maintaining a tempo by writing at least two posts a week when I started blogging for the first time. The procrastinator within me however did not let my mind and hands work to increase the post count here. However, last week’s developments’ concerning jailed actor Sanjay Dutt and the media coverage on the issue did not allow me to be just meek and follow the reading docile way.

I was winced and equally peeved the way one leading Marathi daily here carried on it’s page-1, the editor’s piece of note disapproving the “hyped news coverage” on Dutt’s conviction and his post incarceration developments. The note credit-lined ‘Editor’ said “The paper does not approve the ongoing hype created by some media on actor Dutt’s conviction and therefore take it’s own story inside on Page 5”.

Through its cleverly worded note, the editor had successfully steered readers on page 5 for Dutt’s story about the bollywood star shifted to Yerwada, the story otherwise would have been easy to miss by readers of Pune who lack no skill to throw tantrums early morning after reading newspapers. A profound attempt was also made, at the same time, to seek pious stand.

Same morning’s conversation with my colleague was hot with the handy issue we had with us to discuss. Abuses were hurled (mostly from my side) in exchange of words like ‘moral and ethics’ (conspicuously from his side). My point was the newspaper is unnecessarily trying to gain high moral ground when it has no business to comment on others’. Interestingly the other English daily owned by same group had similar story on page 1 with no moral note attached to it. “This is just a hypocrite attitude”, I shouted with much of vigor. The reason for me being over vocal was my own story had gone as lead on page 1.

The incident of’course not unique in nature and does not at all has power to trigger bigger debate on morality issue in media. Yet, during the next few hours the issue keeps coming to my mind putting my own views in quandary. The dichotomy within my own thoughts began haunting me. I remember, during the days of my journalism course, I always used to be aggressive when things like morality-immorality became the issues of our discussion in the class.

Being always critical of profiteering approach adopted by certain media I used to vent my ire against them pounding heavy abuses. In the course of time, I became journalist (by profession) nevertheless with more transformed views. “The readers’ choice is paramount and journalist has to provide what readers’ choice is”, the preaching came to rescue my thoughts. Finally after lot of brainstorming I decided to give up this Sisyphean task and opted for a concoction of my thoughts with chorus whenever required. A relief was cited anon. But in the process, I forgot that I too have adopted escapist route thus riding a boat of other hypocrites.

Between you and me only...