I wrote this when I came to this city (Pune) a year back, and instantly fell in love with this city. I was trekking on one of the famous treks in Lonavla, a hill station in Pune, when I took these pictures. But a couple of years in this city and i could see how the unplanned growth is changing all that. Temperature is rising, rain season shortening and the Pune I had fallen in love seems a different place altogether.
I stand at the precipice with my eyes closed and hands stretched wide. The wind, starting far in the north, moving gently at first, then gradually picking up speed while gushing among the trees and making rustling sounds, then see-sawing in the open space, and while crossing the lake picking up cool moisture with it, bringing it along , rising higher and higher, till it gets high enough to cross the cliff and reaching me, stroking my face and pushing my body back, firmly but ever so gently, filling me with contentment and happiness which only a bird might feel when flying high above in the sky.
This is Pune, the land of contrasts. The land of high rises and shopping malls on one side, mountains and forests on the other. Here, the rain falls as regularly as the sun rises at dawn. The time flies in the city center teeming with fancy shops and sprawling complexes, but it stops among the picturesque green hills and valleys. You could hardly drive in the city traffic but then cruise nonstop in the roads of the mountains.
It’s the latter that will take your breath away.
The magic starts weaving as you move away from the main city. The countryside opens up, its expansive land and many mountains and rustic forts, like some distant dreamland, conjured up in the mind of a writer. It all seems so beautiful -the clouds descending down to kiss the hills, the trees feathering up in white mistiness that trees seems to gather in the dawn, the sunlight sending fingers of light through the trees and you driving in these idyllic surroundings, lost and immersed and consumed, drinking with your eyes, the exquisite view as it unfolds like the pages of a book.
To live among these mystic hills and lakes of this place would be akin to be living in a dream. Living here would make you cheerful, lively with a child-like playfulness. If you are too serious, too absorbed in your own self then you would have to drink a glass or two to shake off that rigidness, to be able to feel the air, to become one with the nature and when you do it, when you do get rid off the worldly blather, it is calming and satisfying like getting dissolved into a sea of warm milk -slowly, completely.
. . .