3 weeks in Pune, still flat hunting

Trying – yes pretty trying – to find a flat in Pune after that bomb blast in the German bakery. It is proving quite tough as everyone suspicious of foreigners.  After my first flat fell through, I am perhaps onto something. Tonight I meet the Chairman of the Five Star Housing Co-operative, after the owner has said 99% I can rent the flat. The broker already has a copy of my passport and visa, a letter and brochure from the NGO, a list of my previous experience and now I go for the meeting in person. Wish me luck!

I have ended up staying in Vincent’s flat while flat hunting.  He was the previous volunteer with my NGO and lived in the old city which is packed, hot and noisy. Tiny alleyways and windy roads mean it is an intense Indian experience!  The street noise is constant -bells from street vendors, drivers  honking at anything in front of them, dog, pedestrian, car, goat, rickshaw.

Opposite the flat there is a pile of gravel.  It is in front of a building site, where they work until 10 pm.   The men bang, crash and hammer but thankfully there is no machinery.  At night, one of the cows from the dairy in the street round the corner, likes to come and lie on the gravel, her face against the corrugated iron of the building site.  There are lots of local dogs wandering around. One has a limp and when he walks his tail wags all the time, as his body moves from side to side. He has just inspected the cow and its bedroom of choice.  The cow stays seated for a few hours after dark, surrounded by a riotous mix of rickshaws, honking motorbikes and scooters and kids playing cricket. As it gets quieter, or relatively so, the cow lies down completely to sleep -a big black shape sprawled across the pile of gravel under the streetlight.  When I get up and look out in the mornings, she is gone.

The man with the shop opposite that sells Ayurvedic medicine, is very kind. He drew me a map today of where to buy groceries..  There are no obvious food shops or fruit and vegetable shops. The nearest streets have diamonds, gold chains and shoes but no food. The man who sits all day in a tiny wooden hut outside the flat sells a variety of things, mainly snacks and sachets of shampoo and he has a phone which serves the local community who need to make calls.  He also sells eggs surprisingly. I bought 3, he carefully wrapped them in a cornet of newspaper and I tried not to crush them carrying them along with the other things I had managed to track down. Some lentils to make dal,  yoghurt, water, biscuits and some rather dry oranges.


2 Responses to “3 weeks in Pune, still flat hunting”

  1. Adrienne Says:

    Great to hear of your progress, Alison. It may not feel like progress, but it reads that way from here (where we have been all brought to a halt by the eruption of an Icelandic Volcano). It has been interesting here, and no bad thing to be reminded that the forces of nature are not to be dictated to – especially by economic/capitalist desires.

    Wishing you a nice, peaceful ,flat. Maybe you already have found ‘the one’. Meanwhile it sounds as though that cow has perfected the art of Zen (even if she is of Hindu origin!).



  2. Greg Says:

    Really enjoyed reading latest post, Alison… sounds fascinating. Year of Living Dangerously meets a Marquez story. How’s that for a pitch? I hope you’re enjoying and pleased you did this. Having missed the great European / British volcano disaster and very dull election debates that show nothing here changes… guess what, nothing here changes. So enjoy the magic………….g

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