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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

Poona Expressway Town

Delhi is jaded, Mumbai hyperventilating. So head for Pune, the place that's arrived.

Poona Expressway Town
Poona Expressway Town
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
On a wind-swept weekend night, in an ear-deafening crescendo of guitars and drums, the Beast is back—and Pune's not getting worked up about it. "Are you f***ing doing well? Are you rocking tonight?" howls Paul 'The Beast' Di Anno of heavy-metal act Iron Maiden to a headbanging throng of Pune-ites on the grounds of the Corinthian, the city's new hilltop club. "Yeah, yeah, yeah!!!" the delirious youngsters scream back at the ghoulish rocker. It's a dusty, dirty night—Di Anno's jokes are as profane as they can get, the music's nasty metal, but Pune doesn't mind this monster's ball one bit. There's no moral police hovering around to nix this gig—like they do in more fashionable Mumbai, 170 km away. Same night, some distance away in Koregaon Park, it's a much more genteel setting at the opening of an Iranian cafe where guests gorge on lamb kebabs, smoke hookahs and swing easily to a portly crooner belting out jazz standards. "Tell you what," says Bijoy Guha, a corporate chief executive, sipping his red wine. "Pune is the rare city that lives and lets live. It's a syncretic, cool, happening city today."

If you're tired of the spin on Bangalore and Hyderabad as India's jiving boomtowns, head west, take the smooth Mumbai-Pune expressway, and get your kicks in Pune. So how did Pune get her groove from a dowdy, salubrious, pensioners' heaven and a boring heavy engineering haven? You find that the invasion of geeks and foreign students, the cutting-edge technologies honed in its thought shops, a thriving cultural life and a cosmopolitan lifestyle have turned the sedate Maharashtrian city into India's newest boomtown. Pune, according to research firm Indicus Analyticus, is already one of India's top ten "city markets" where affluence levels are much higher than urban centres with similar populations—some four million live in this 240 sq km town ringed by the...
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