One long night in Pune
TOIA town that once went to bed early is now up well past midnight, with pubs, cafes eateries staying open, hosting residents of a city that has changed from a pensioners paradise to a young metropolis It is nearing midnight on a Saturday when 30 year old Sheetha Chacko makes her way past a swarm of people swaying to EDM (electronic dance music). The club throbs feverishly as the day business clocks in to its last hour and she wishes for some good old lyrical dance number, realises it won be played and steps out for fresh air only to find the party has spilled over a young group is busy taking selfies while discussing afterparty plans and the road is chocka block with high end cars. Chacko decides to wait for a while before she leaves, as the city is still warming up to the night. At around the same time, not too far from Chacko party, police constables are having a busy night, their phones buzzing with a variety of alerts from a drunk two wheeler rider ramming his bike into a tree to a brawl breaking out outside a pub over a parking issue. A police patrol van moves up and down the city party hotspot at 20kmhour, slowing down the restless, midnight traffic. There are aaa replica designer handbags barricades on another end of the road to check drunk driving. Another alert beeps on the walky talky of the night shift constable. He checks his watch. It is 1am and he knows only too well his night has just begun. At 160km from the country undisputed Maximum City, the once satellite town of Poona has not only shed a few alphabets from its spelling, but also an image that had started to rest uneasily against its name that of a retirement town with mint Fake Louis Vuitton Replica Bags fresh air and ample space. Much has changed in Pune over the last two decades. For starters, the city has lost a lot of its open spaces and fresh air. Its saucer like topo g raphy has changed, with high rises fake louis bag dotting it, and so has its social landscape. Cut to 2015. The city refuses to sleep. From Camp to Koregaon Park, Mundhwa to Aundh, S B Road to Ahmednagar Road and from Vimannagar to Pune railway station pockets of Pune come alive soon after the sun sets. The sundowner was never more in demand, nor was the need for vigilance on Pune roads higher. The beginning and the business The year was 1994. Black Cadillac too came up the same year. If there was apprehension among parents, students many of them from outside Pune awaited eagerly for their first pub experience www.dolabuy.su , one that would in the years to come weave into the social fabric of the state cultural capital. The winds of change were quietly sweeping through the treelined streets of Pune from the 1980s. Pune first DJs Nadeem, Naveen, Yusuf Kapasi and Cawas were already “mixing cassettes” in private parties and makeshift discotheques at Hotel Regency or Aurora Towers. “Rumours had come up at Sagar Plaza followed by Bullocks on Ahmednagar Road, where Northern Frontier is located now. By mid 90s, the club culture was slowly seeping into the city cheap louis vuitton bags from china ,” says DJ Naveen, speaking of the years preceding 10D opening. Party hoppers from that time recall biryani and beer parties at private venues. Suchita Kudale Motwani was among those who stayed out until late at private get togethers. “I remember standing in a line for hours to get into one of the New Year parties. It wasn a glamorous affair and there weren any celebrities either. But we were conscious of what we wore and at times got our dresses tailored for the occasion,” she says. Two decades later, the enthusiasm for enjoying the night life has only gone up. Last week, at a popular 1:1 replica handbags pub in Koregaon Park, credit cards were being liberally swiped for drinks and snacks that made the rounds. People in Burberry shirts, French Connection (FCUK) denims, Hermes belts and Louis Vuitton shuffled in and out of this place. Among them was Akshita, a 23 year old law student from Delhi in a bright blue Zara dress with a matching clutch. “It doesn look nice if I go just like that to party, even if it is twice a week,” she says. Akshita pocket money is a fairly neat sum of Rs 20,000. Young party hoppers like her spend anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 on such evening outs an average per head amount in the case of most students and upwards of Rs 10,000 for groups of salaried professionals. In the multi crore nightlife business of Pune, these are significant numbers that fuel the industry and have catapulted the city into the list of the country better known night spots. “In the initial days of Pune nightlife (1998 99), the city was a tad behind Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata in terms of music or latest trends,” says Frankie D an event manager, who has been also playing as a DJ since 1998. But now, around many people come annually from Mumbai and all over Maharashtra to Pune to party, says Ashley Lobo, an event manager. Features of Pune pleasant weather, laidback vibe, open spaces, the greenery and the mix of its expat and student population that earlier gave it the getaway feel, are now the reasons why the city is a chosen destination for late night outs. And the competition is only becoming stiffer, not just among watering holes but also for coffee shops too on December 31, parties spilled over from pubs and hotels to cafes where people sipped coffee until early morning. Ganesh Shetty, president, Pune Hoteliers Association, says earlier there were around 6,000 restaurants and hotels here, but now there are 12,000 of them, of which 10% are clubs. “We opened in 2008 and there has been a 6 8% growth in revenue, but competition is increasing with each passing month. There are around 15 new clubs in our category,” says Abhijit Chitnis, market director for sales and marketing for J W Marriott Hotels in Pune. With a much wider client base, the challenge now is to draw in the crowds with unique themes and heavy promotions. “We used to go around town promoting an event, carrying large bags of tickets and money. Now everything is on a portal and social media,” says Amjad Khan, 37, owner of Milestone Events. Parties now have themes such as sin envy pride, the black light party or the slightly simpler back to school party. There is much investment in upgrading staff profiles and services such as cab drops for women on ladies nights and women guards. “We now have English speaking and qualified people signing up as bouncers. They earn Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 every month and they are more in demand for events now,” says Sameer Khan of Sharpedge security services, Pune oldest security agency. Restaurateur and owner of Swig and Euriska lounges and Prem restaurant in the city, Sandy Singh traces Pune identity change to the influx of expats and the rise of BPO and IT firms.”These people were largely instrumental in opening up of restaurants high quality designer replica handbags wholesale with world cuisines, lounges and clubs in the international formats. Over the last 10 years, the population of young working professionals and students has gone up tremendously,” he says. Also, citizens are now bettertravelled and well networked and demand more. Keeping the midnight vigil Head constable Vishal Borde has completed 22 years in the police force, but he says the last decade has been the most eventful. Their hectic night schedules are best reflected replica louis vuitton bags in statistics. If in 2007 there were 25 cases of drunk driving, last year there were over 4,000 such cases indicating both rampant violations and stricter enforcement. The number of accidents caused by rash and drunk driving went up from a manageable 59 in 2011 to a chaotic 420 in 2014. And then it time to head out again for early morning patrolling,” says a constable, his eyes swollen for lack of sleep. And each night throws up at least one episode that they would discuss at the police chowkey for days on end. The latest: “The other night, I was almost run over by a drunk girl in an SUV who almost broke the barricades we had put up.” Another beat constable shares the drill after each accident: “We pick up the inebriated drivers, many of whom usually suffer seri ous injuries, and rush them to the hospital. Then begins our work of calling up family members or local guardians.” Pune has traditionally enjoyed the safe posting tag and once posted here, police officials have almost always tried their best to stay back. But long days and longer, eventful nights are now almost routine and more constables and officials are put on the night shift. Rajendra Sonawane, additional director general of police (retired) who has served in multiple capacities says, “Rarely would anything happen after 10pm until the mid Most people slept by 11pm. But now, the number of calls have increased manifold and cases are being reported from all over the city from the fringe areas of Chandni Chowk to old favourites like Koregaon Park, Kalyaninagar, Vimannagar and even Chandannagar and Mundhwa. Weekends are especially bad, when more people are out having replica louis vuitton handbags a good time.” There is much activity on roads too with office cabs cheap louis vuitton bags from china and radio taxis swishing past each other, restaurants, street food stalls, bars and night clubs staying open, and dhabas strategically tucked away attracting quite a patronage. These days, more men and machinery pressed into service now for the night shift. “In 1995, there was one patrol vehicle between two police stations for the night shift. Now, each police station deploys three vehicles, including two bikes and one police jeep, at night,” Borde says. OUT, GOOD NIGHT A s a young college student in the 1980s, Chandrika Sohi never violated the deadline set for her 6 pm. When she started working, she was given an hour concession. She would be home latest by 7.30 pm and her day would end by 10 pm. Sohi has similar restrictions for her 19 year old daughter, just that the deadline is extended by six hours. On special occasions, her daughter stays out until 2am. “We never went out. My daughter does, but I am okay with it as times have changed,” Sohi says. The youth could be the face and fuel of Pune vibrant nightlife, but driving the trend is the broader change in the way the society perceives this once alien culture of staying out until late to simply unwind. “Earlier, the regulars at the few clubs were senior working professionals. Now, fresh college graduates have many avenues to earn money and are more spendthrift,” says event manager Frankie D Also, a larger young population stepping out to work, and that too until late hours has only made their staying out not so difficult for their parents to understand. “I have seen 20 somethings spending Rs 10,000 on a single party night. Fresher parties, which were a simple affair earlier, are now held in big replica designer handbags clubs.” Some say Pune is only moving with the times, others attribute it to higher disposable incomes. Vidyut Bhagwat, a sociologist, says, “In the last decade or so the income of the upper middle and upper classes has gone up considerably. Most of this excess income has gone to the services and entertainment sector. As a result, the nightlife, of the city has flourished. Lifestyles have undergone a complete transformation.” If there are concerns, parents are handling them well. In distant Delhi, law student Akshita mother habitually picks up her phone past midnight to check WhatsApp, finds a message from her Perfect Quality Louis Vuitton Replica daughter that she is out with her batchmates in Pune. She checks the pictures Akshita has sent replica louis vuitton from her party, zooms into her bright blue Zara outfit. She decides against making a call, types good night and calls it a day. Music magnet F rom making do with a good music system to keep the party alive to getting DJs to mix cassettes (“The toughest part was to cue the track at the right time from the cassettes,” says DJ Nadeem, who is 40 now) Pune has come a long way. It started hosting and warming up to international music from the late 1990s and international hip hop artistes started coming to Pune from 2003, recalls Manish Lanjekar, who was general manager of 10 Downing Street in the late The city proximity to Mumbai, the presence of a large manufacturing hub here and employees of international brands such as Volkswagen, Mercedes, Audi and BMW making Pune their home, put the city on the visit list of bands. “Even for artistes, the rates are not very low and not very high just ok,” says Ashley Lobo, who manages events at Oak Lounge. Pune soon became home to national and international music extravaganzas such as the Bacardi Blast, the NH7 Weekender, SuperSonic and Sunburn festivals. Tej Brar, from Only Much Louder (OML) that does the NH7 weekender, says Pune was chosen as the first NH7 destination six years ago for its large student population from across the country.”And these were the people who would soon be working professionals, settling back here. Mumbai was anyway saturated.” DJ Yusuf Kapasi, who has been playing since 1993 in Pune Discount Replica Louis Vuitton Bags , says major national and world music festivals including Tomorrowland, Burning man and Boom have been a major influence on the music tastes of partygoers now. “EDM is now a big favourite unlike yesteryear crowd that likes to dance to the lyrics.”
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