Pune, known as the ‘Oxford of the East’ and as the cultural hub of Marathi literature, film, music and arts; is also known for its Puneri paatya (typical Pune signboards), crazy nightlife, cosmopolitan heart and like the infamous Hotel California – you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave!
Check out these hilarious and lethal Puneri paatya! While most of them are in Marathi, the local language, there are a few killer ones in English, too.
The rapid development of the city as an urban paradise has led to flocks of students and professionals relocate to Pune in search of a better life. Thanks to projects like Lavasa City and Amanora Park Town and the commencement of the high-budget Pune Metro Project, Pune is thriving like never before.
There’s something for everyone in this warm, friendly city – whether you are one of those people who likes to hang at home with a few friends, likes live music or wants to party till the wee hours of the morning. And all this, while getting a great education along the way!
1. O Mavshi, O Mama and O Kaka!
It’s all about family in Pune. No matter where in the city you live, there will always be a mavshi (translates to mother’s sister) that you buy your groceries, vegetables or tea from. Mavshis can be really nice and let you keep a tab at their shop until your month’s pocket money comes in.
Depending on how lucky you are, your local mama (mother’s brother) or traffic cop will turn a blind eye on occasion when you skip a signal, unintentionally, of course! Word of advice though – don’t even attempt it with the mamis (literally mama’s wife; here lady traffic cop)!
Oh, and let’s not forget the kakas (father’s brother) who will ferry you around in autos. A word of warning though, until you make ‘friends’ with them by becoming a regular customer, be prepared to haggle with them for any trip that is not on their regular route/close to their favourite chai stall.
2. Me gaavaat jaatoy
“Me gaavat jaatoy” is a phrase you’ll often hear in Pune. It means ‘I’m going to the village’. Whilst it would be fair to assume that the speaker of those words is going to their native place, in Pune it means they are going to the heart of the old city. That’s where you will find the different peths named after each day of the week. In case you were wondering, they were named after the weekly markets held in each particular case. They sell everything – from textbooks to electrical equipment – at incredibly cheap prices. Can’t find something you need? Pune has a peth for that!
3. Breakfast la misal pav
Let’s get to the important stuff – food! Pune is famous for its misal pav. This spicy, hot concoction is best enjoyed with pav. Misal pav will become a part of your regular vocabulary once you move here.
Vada pavs are probably the best quick fix to quell those hunger pangs on a budget. When you don’t know what to eat, vada pav is your best friend. Your vada pav mavshi or kaka will quickly become one of your closest allies and will occasionally reward you with a couple of free vada pavs if you look particularly hungry and broke. Be prepared to defend the quality of their lehsun chutney against your friend’s vada pav supplier to your last breath.
4. SPDP at Vaishali!
Every Puneite knows what SPDP is. So we’re here to make sure you sound knowledgeable from the get go! SPDP stands for Shev Potato Dahi Puri. This tangy, crunchy preparation is best had at Vaishali, a popular South Indian restaurant on Fergusson College Road. So if someone asks you if you want to grab an SPDP, just smile knowingly and say, “Sure, I’ll see you at Vaishali”.
Pune is famous for the ashram established by the infamous Rajneesh aka Osho and the gardens in the lane parallel to the ashram. People, from all over the world, flock here to study his teachings and take leisurely strolls in the gardens. And if you’re lucky enough, you might even chance upon a black rose. Yes, you read it right – a BLACK rose! However, when a Puneite mentions they are going to buy some Oshos, it has nothing to do with the ashram. What they mean is they are going to buy some ridiculously comfortable and trendy slippers that are found in the vicinity of the ashram.
6. Chalo KP!
While the term KP (Kitchen Patrol) might bring shudders to any one from the armed forces with visions of hours spent peeling potatoes or scrubbing dishes, it brings a smile to the faces of anyone living in Pune. KP here stands for Koregaon Park, an upmarket area of Pune that plays host to a number of really good restaurants, hip bars and nightclubs. The Osho ashram entioned above resides in this area.
Dying for some live music or want to hear one of the hippest DJs on the circuit? The KP is definitely the place for you! Ladies, it is a great shopping hub, too. Just saying.
7. Sutte dya
Another term you are guaranteed to hear after spending any time in Pune is “sutte dya” which means “please give me change” or just “give me change or go home”. Pune has never recovered from the scandalous change shortage in the nineties. Tendering exact change will win you many smiles and eternal gratefulness… until you go back to the same shop with a 2000 rupee note and want to spend only Rs. 109.
8. Udya sakali tekdi?
How about a trek to the top of the hill tomorrow morning? Tekdi means hill. For a lot of Pune people, it stands for Vetal Tekdi, a hill in the city centre that is popular with old and young alike. It can also mean the hill near your house. So make sure you know which tekdi you’re planning to meet your friends on to see that beautiful Sunday sunrise.
Note: For those of you who love to trek, there are also a number of forts on the outskirts of Pune that make for great weekend hikes.
9. Let’s go to Goa!
Sure this article is about Pune, but the phrase “let’s go to Goa” is on every student’s lips like a comforting mantra. Goa is easily accessible from Pune, with overnight sleeper buses or a 7-8 hour drive. So whether you’re looking for a road trip or a quick weekend getaway with friends, Pune has the perfect answer for you!
Pune with its many quirks and peculiarities is a warm friendly place with great weather and great food that has something for everyone. As a cultural hub, it has a number of acclaimed colleges in various fields.
At Seamedu School of Pro-Expressionism, we welcome students from all over India (and the world) with open arms – in true Puneri style! Check out our comprehensive and wide-ranging course offerings and contact us to know how you can enroll in these programs.
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