The view from my ninth floor balcony is awesome.
Early in the morning, at dawn, I look towards my left, towards the eastern horizon, in the distance, I can behold the breaking of the sun’s upper crest over thick layer of grey-white smog that envelops the city of Pune, and soon the silhouettes of the tall buildings in the concrete jungles of Aundh and Baner become visible.
The air in Pune City may be quite polluted, but here, high up on the south facing terrace of my top floor apartment in Rohan Tarang, in the southern part of Wakad, the air is pure, fresh and so refreshing that I can cleanse my lungs with it, almost like the pristine morning air in the hills of Girinagar, in the foothills of Sinhagad Fort, which lies beyond the range of hills I can see in the distance.
I stand in my open-to-the-skies spacious terrace-like balcony, at the edge, look around in front of me, have a panoramic view. The scene is picturesque and the mood is uplifting. The placid waters Mula River meandering down from the verdant hills in the distance, bisecting its lush green scenic valley, renders an air sublime stillness to the environment.
On this side of the river lies the well laid out, clean and tranquil Wakad village, and at this early morning hour, everyone is in their homes, except Chavrya, the redoubtable white guard dog, who moves around like a sentinel at the entrance of the village. Wafts of pleasing devotional music emanating from the famous and beautiful Mhatoba Temple gently uplift my spirits and enhance the sublime ambience.
On that side of the river, across the valley, there is large tract of greenery, fields and farms, being gradually swallowed up by the expanding concrete jungle spreading out from Baner in the distance. Soon it will be all dust and grime, as the construction work of buildings starts, but then all this is quite far away, and will not disturb the glorious view or equanimity, which I enjoy from my balcony.
Sunset from my terrace is a special event. First the orange sun plays hide and seek with the peaks and troughs of the range of hills far away from where the Mula River emanates and then it suddenly goes below and the sky gets lit up like a painting, first a crimson red, then the interplay of colours starts, both in the sky and on the waters of the Mula River, yellow, gold, silver, grey and then it is dark, and to your right you can see the fast moving lights of the vehicles on the Mumbai – Bangalore Bypass Highway, a distance away right ahead are the floodlights of the Balewadi Stadium and colourful neon signs of the numerous hotels and inns like Holiday Inn, VITS, Orchid and Sadanand Residency, and towards the left, to the east, just a few lights in the high-rise apartments at Baner and Aundh, most of which are empty as they have been bought for investment and not to live in.
Though progressive and in the midst of modernity, with clean well-lit roads and neatly laid out, the beauty of Wakad is that it is a quaint, serene, picturesque village which still retains a delightful old-world charm. On normal days, sleeps early, and the nights are quiet, but tonight is special.
Shri Mhatoba Dev Utsav is being celebrated and the entire Wakad village has been brightly illuminated. Shri Mhatoba Devasthan Temple (Mandir) has been beautifully decorated and brilliantly illuminated and looks superb. In fact, the illumination of the temple dome is truly exquisite. There is a jatra, carnival, music, and people have come from distant places to the Shri Mhatoba Devasthan Mandir in Wakad to have darshan, seek blessings and pray to the God Mhatoba, the village Deity of Wakad and Hinjewadi and participate in the utsav or festival. It is celebration time, the entire place, even the Mula Riverside Park and Garden, is brimming with people, of all ages, dressed at their best, the atmosphere is festive, the place is resonating with positive energy and happy vibes, and from my balcony I enjoy a grandstand view which is truly breathtaking.
Actually the huge windows of all rooms in my spacious and airy house afford a wonderful view, but I love standing in my roomy open terrace balcony, especially at night under the starlight open sky, and enjoying the magnificent view. And as I write this spectacular fireworks illuminate the sky and fill my heart with joy.
PS – I am lucky that I live in South Wakad, towards the river side of the Aundh – Hinjewadi Road. If you live on the other side of the road – well, then that is a different story!