The best way to explore Pune is to return to Europe and come back

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It was (last) Wednesday evening, when I walked more than 15 km’s in the beautiful city of Milan, when I realized how cool Europe is! The objective of my stay in this vibrant city was strictly private; I was there for the DesignWeek (Salone Del Mobile) that takes place every year. After very busy and exhausting weekend with ‘the boys’ in Edinburgh, a yearly ritual where we visit a city from the alphabet, next year we will visit a city that starts with an F, I prepared myself for Milan to celebrate my wife’s birthday, together with 15 friends. Edinburgh was great and Milan was very special. I’m in Pune for a long-term assignment and it was my first trip back to Europe, after we arrived in Pune in November 2016. The first thing that I noticed when I landed in the Netherlands? Everything is very clean and well organized! Another thing: it is very quiet everywhere. No horning, no vendors selling their stuff loudly and no auto rickshaws. My village in the countryside is so quiet that if felt surreal the first days. What’s happening here? I only heard small birds performing some attractive melody’s. Was this the welcome ceremony of my neighborhood? I’m back now, back in Pune. What’s my experience and is it possible to ‘compare’ this city with a European city? I want to start with some observations. Yes, it is more polluted. Yes, it is noisier everywhere. And yes, it is much more dirty on the streets. However, I see some great things in Pune, things you will never see and explore in Europe. The first thing I experienced is the general ‘livelihood’ on the streets. You see street vendors everywhere, selling vegetables, sweets, snacks or stuff you can use in your kitchen. A big part of the economy takes place on or around the streets and that is a big contrast with the very conservative Europe, where every economic activity will take place in or around an official location. Another notable thing in Pune (and elsewhere in India) are it’s colors. There is no European country with that many colors and you will see them everywhere. Some of the European counties, like Belgium, Denmark and in a way, also Germany, are a bit ‘grey’. You will see people dressed in grey clothes, living in grey buildings. You could say that the people also have grey faces. Colors are everywhere and they were a candy for my eyes today! Women dress up in very flashy looking sari’s and they surround themselves with colorful buildings, shops, billboards, temples. To conclude: India is a colorful mess with very inspiring people and I like it!

4 thoughts on “The best way to explore Pune is to return to Europe and come back

  1. Nicely written & so true ! Having lived two completely different works, I can relate to everything you have written. Lots of places in Europe are beautiful however the vibrance you see in in India can only be found in ‘ Incredible India 🙂 ‘ .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice post. I read about your blog on Meg Harry’s article in today’s edition of Pune Mirror. Having myself been an Indian Expatriate in the Middle East (Oman) and Europe (Germany, UK), I’ve pretty much gone through similar experiences as you. I blog about my multicultural experience – see one of my recent posts on culture shocks in Germany at http://gtm360.com/blog/2017/11/24/achtung-culture-shocks-in-germany/. I’m a resident of Pune for 15 years now. Please feel free to reach out to me for any “local” tips!

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