Monday, January 10, 2005

another Pune constant, and a few annoyances

[January 09, 2005]

You know the big block housing a Dorabjee and Sons shop/mall entrance at the bottom and a Planet M on top. You know where the old Venkys used to be. You know Dastur Meher Road, the road that these two monuments flank. Start walking down Dastur Meher Road all the way until you get to Technical Book Stall. All about you are vestiges of an older Pune. And don't let this worry you a bit. A few footfalls ahead of TBS, to your left, is the old original Dorabjee and Sons, famous for its biryani. Aside from a few interior renovations, the place remains, like Burger King, untouched by most of the "progress" the city has seen. The waiter was very courteous, the chicken biryani was slightly oilier, and the special for the day (patra fish) was overpriced. The no-frills custard, however, made all the amends. Given the rising prices everywhere else in the city, this place might soon feature in a "Cheap Eats" column (another recent favourite, Radhika at the S B Road chowpatti, was recently featured in a local rag). Here's hoping it survives the erosion of progress.

To tail-end a post like this with annoyances seems unfair. Yet, the culprits in question are located in the vicinity. Music World, the more guilty party, should be taken to court for obscene levels of ambient music in the store (somehow, this makes the Café Coffee Day appendage a perfect fit). Planet M suffers from the same problem, but the sound levels are a bit lower. And I can never figure out what the dude/dudette on the pathetic PA system is trying to say -- it's ok to be cool, but that doesn't excuse the complete lack of lucidity. It was also interesting to read an article in the day's rag about how chains like these missed out on customer relations. Unfortunately, I can only see homogeneous vacuous monoliths like these (with unfamiliar, clueless, only-in-it-for-the-money store attendants) surviving the wave of progress. Your friendly neighbourhood music stores (Audio Palace, Empire Music House, Thakkar's Music Bank, Alurkar Music House) will either die fighting for the cause of the sensible customer, or sacrifice their ideals at the altar of commerce.

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