OPINION

Why I Love the Bombay-Pune Highway

July 22, 2007
Deepa Krishnan

It takes me 2 hours and 20 minutes to drive to Pune. In the monsoon, I love every minute of it.
 
I went to Pune last week, to make a little film. We left Mumbai at 2:30 in the afternoon. After the first 30 minutes, we got past Vashi, on to the green belt of the Sahyadri mountains. There was so much lush green colour everywhere that I got drunk on it.

Everywhere on the highway, there were little streams of water gushing, pouring, tumbling. This was one of several streams. If you look carefully, you can see where it starts, at the top of the hill.

The temptation to stop and get drenched; to drink, to play, was irresistible.

There was a price to pay, of course. For the rest of the trip, I sat in an air-conditioned car in a wet salwar. 

Andy wanted to film it. The waterfall looked great on camera, especially because Andy traced it right from top of the mountain, to where it fell at the bottom. The other guy is Ramana, our camera assistant. He's a Bollywood technician. That means he has endless patience.

 

We weren't the only ones interested in the waterfall. A gypsy family stopped their jeep. She wanted to know what we were doing. I wanted to know what they were up to!


'We stopped for water', she said to me. They collected drinking water in a little steel pot. It struck me then, that I too should have tasted it. What a scared fool I was, to stand under the water, but not make that final gesture. (OK, so what was that Shah Rukh Khan movie where the NRI finally drank the water?)

 

She had two gold teeth (first time I've ever seen golden canine teeth). I asked her, 'Sone ka hai?' - is it really gold? And she grinned and said Yes! 

It also struck me that my chunky silver necklace was tribal too...but my wearing it is an urban posturing, whereas her gold necklace was the real McCoy.

I asked her where she was from. A couple of seconds after I asked, I realised it was a silly question to ask a nomadic people. She answered in almost a philosophical way - Hum log idhar Bombay-Poona mein hi rehtey hain. We're people who live right here in Bombay-Poona.

By using two places in her answer, she staked her claim on the highway.

Deepa Krishnan has a consulting practice in banking technology. She owns Mumbai Magic and Delhi Magic, companies that offer insightful, off-beat city tours.
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