*Yesterday Once More :Down memory lane: cycling on childhood routes

*Yesterday Once More  : Cycling in and around S.M.Choksey High School: revisiting my school routes.


(* The Carpenters- Yesterday Once More Lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlrWUiK-vNo&list=RDPlrWUiK-vNo)

From Hazy memories….
to clear ones……


I have to return the Lumala cycle back to Nitant as now I have got a folding cycle.

I use the cycle carrier for my farthest distance (Mumbai to Pune in full evening traffic).

This inspires me to cycle in Pune. (after ages ).

 convent street

 My first phase of cycling in Pune was with rented cycles. In that era rental cycle shops were common and we kids used to hire cycle on per hour basis.

Later with Umesh and Paresh I had done cycling with the  sole aim of exploring lanes and by lanes of Pune cantonment and surroundings . There were times when we used to end up on railway tracks or some irrigation canal.

During the childhood the distance were looking much bigger . Roads impressive as there was not much traffic.

So even though we reach Pune very late and sleep by 1.00 in the night , I am up by 5.30 on Saturday morning.

By the time I cycle from market yard area till  “Try Luck” hotel on M.G. Road,  it is almost 7.00 am

Try luck is one of the Irani type of restaurant which is part of Pune heritage.


This area was chosen as a location for a scene in film Gandhi  and I have a faint memory of waiting on one side to see what was  all the commotion about.

Royal bakery is part of my childhood and the Parsi owners have kept every one’s childhood memories  “intact”.

Even today one can easily have a good dose of nostalgia as you stand here in  morning hours and feel the aroma coming out of the bakery. The look, the feel , the atmosphere, the smell everything is  same as if custom made for you.


It is same as old times and part of my child hood memory.

You can still have milk made bread .

God bless Parsis !!


Chandan stores looks impressive but unfortunately has modern aluminum facade.

Moti building looks the same. Aaahr hotel and our old building is getting more old and it seems there is no proper care taking.

Oh all this is part of growing up years.

As I cycle more I realize Pune cant has not changed much ,as it connected to  military area  and too many changes are not allowed. Yes those with good money have managed the system , but by and large cantonment area is preserved more kind of a heritage as compared to municipal areas where changes are rampant with  encroachments that are shocking.

Also main roads  in Pune Cantonments are clean .

Nusserwanji chowk ( later it became Mohammad Rafi chowk :During  Rafi sahab’s  remembrance   day/s only his Hindi film songs were played :it was an  initiative by auto rickshaw stand union ) remains the same


Kohinoor is now more crowded during morning hours.

There is a new Bhopla ( pumpkin ) at the Bhopla chowk.

From this junction one can see two sides of centre street, dead end of main street, Kohinoor hotel T junction ( M.G road ) and restored Baba jan chowk on west street.

Road resurfacing is going on.

I go straight to Babajan chowk and cross the India Ice-cream.


Memories of Deepak Tiwari  and everyone is replayed in fast farward mode as  I move forward towards Shivaji market and enter convent street leading towards S.M.Choksey High School


It’s Saturday morning and not many people are out on convent street. And yes it’s still sweet old Pune where laid back attitude has remained .

Mumbai type of urban pressure is always building on all the towns and cities but Pune kind of city with cantonment kind of area has inherent resistance to the changes which can alter her  characteristics.

I request one elderly gentleman to take one picture with me and cycle in foreground  and my school in back ground.

His hands are not steady and they shake . It’s an  old age or some kind of physical disorder: I do not know. I can easily see that he will not be able to take any photo, but I like his sincere attempts.

He is fully aware of his problem , but bravely offers to take more trials . He keeps clicking and I keep smiling for the photos.


After some time he “gives in” but looks quite happy. I thank him but still have to wait for some one.

Finally I find some one on foot approaching and I get one picture.


I have several rounds around  choksey school , St Vincent school , imambada, shitaldevi mandir road, booti street, sharbat wala chowk , taboot street.

Entry to centre street is from one of the inside lane. I stop for few seconds in front of Umesh Shah’s first house. For a few seconds I allow my memories to take me back to all the scientific experiments we had done during our school days.

I pass by khari pedhi , residence of Priti and Manisha.

I recall Mr Gandevia’s Live Yoga demo where in he took his abdomen muscles deep inside as if it’s a thin wall.

Enter  kolsa gali ( dwyer Lane)

Stop and look up at Haresh/ Paresh’s  house and recall all the Pankaj Udhas Gazals being played on a reasonably great music system of those times .

I stop by Sandeep’s shop  and an impulsive thought comes to my mind  “ I must visit my old  school going route with Sheila and daughters in the evening: and yes we will all walk “

{ later in the evening we all walk down the memory lane as we explain the route to our next generation }

Area around Shivaji market is bit dirty but full of activity.

What seemed a long walk in the child hood now seems to be very short but yes there was not a single fixed route to reach school.

Those were the days where there were very few vehicles on the road ( the days of ambassador, padmini premier and bajaj and vijay scooters ) still we were always experimenting with our routes.

There were continuous lanes and by lanes which were connecting  to the main roads .

There was so much to see. So many different localities to cross.

There were series of bhimpura galis ( lanes )  one can go to paresh’s patigiyawada  ( reminds me of marbles, dahi handi and chor police games )and enter into areas where goats and hens were roaming freely and come out to enter into the  fruits and vegetable markets.

“Oh I must do a walking tour next time, cycling is some how restricting my movement” I here myself talking.

Soon I pass by shops from where we were buying books, craft items, shoes.



The library in the market.

Those where the times when specific things were available in specific shops only. Some items were purely seasonal. Some were always in short supply.

Yes those where the times when India was a closed country , economy was manipulated and  controlled one where in only few could manufacture and produce ( with absolute monopoly )

Funnily we were happy, unlike toady  there were hardly any choices  so whatever one  could grab he or she did not understand the unhappiness which can  also come with a phenomenon called “  having plenty “ and “ of multiple choices”

I have more rounds and complete west street and modikhana areas.

I come back to try luck hotel and order part of nostalgic

“ golden chai ( tea) and broon maska ( thick crust bread )


When I come out ( to cycle back via Salisbury park) I see an old man in a coat.


One more thing which I have noticed which has not changed in Pune camp area is meeting /seeing  these kind of oldies.

Alone ( may be rejected by core family or by circumstances ), lonely, but  surviving in a smaller community areas within “ pune cant” .

My child hood areas are having few typical characteristics

  1. They are small in size
  2. They are congested clusters juxtaposed
  3. Full of Lanes and by lanes
  4. A lot of sitting( not formal ) areas for the locals.
  5. Small melting points like irani restaurants


In these kind of community a lonely “ baba” or “ aunty” can survive based on their neighborhood care takers who will take care of them as it’s a small world for them.



mapconvent street



4 thoughts on “*Yesterday Once More :Down memory lane: cycling on childhood routes

  1. Fabulous, created a great sense of nostalgia which I can say hardly ever erases the past which was part of who we are today. Thank you.


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