Taking a walk down the MG road in Pune camp area in the morning can be quite invigorating. Especially if you don't have any agenda.
I start from Golibar maidan end. First stop is the newspaper vendor. The elderly Muslim gentleman is such a friendly man; he recognises all his regular customers, even someone like me who go to Pune once in a month, two or even three. All newspapers and magazines are usually available with him; a very well stocked stall. There's something about a neatly organised newspaper stall. It just pulls you in, even if you know you are not that avid reader or may not have the time to read as much as you'd like. You want to read all the newspapers and magazines on display. Of course I can't. Plus, I carry my iPad these days so I prefer reading all newspapers on it. And if I like something that I can't read at that moment, I can always save the link. Most of my weekend reading these days are stories that I come across throughout the week. Or those that I come across in some exceptionally busy mornings. Pune is a different story. I still feel sentimental about stopping by my newspaper stall, pick up an occasional Business Line (only for BLink that's edited by the fabulous Veena Venugopal, about who ad guru Prahlal Kakkar once said "she is as sexy as she reads"), Mumbai Samachar (Asia's oldest newspaper) for Mother India and perhaps a Times of India for its so-what-am-I-supposed-to-do content but liked by Mother India nevertheless.
Next to the paper vendor is one of Pune's biggest fruit and vegetable market. This is the place to go to if you want to buy the freshest fruits and veggies. These days, you can't miss all those mangoes lined up there. Stalls are nearly laid out and items are top quality.
MG road has everything you need. Shoes, clothes, shops, crockeries, furniture, electronics, computers and everything you need and everything you don't. Pundole watchmakers stands tall further down the line. From one shop there years back, they have now grown to about four shops, with a separate watch-repair shop. They are the only shop I know that sells watch cases. The Parsi family is full of expert horologists. The gentleman who runs the repair section comes across as the guy who invented time! Once I asked him if they repair Omega watches. Aghast at me even daring to ask something like that, he immediately pointed towards one of two dozen certificates hung across the wall to one that said "official service centre for Omega". "We definitely do Omega watches, sir", he said, still not overcome with the shock he got from my question. With a soft voice but firm tone, he comes across as every bit knowledgable that he is. Our first and last stop for all our watch repairs.
MG road offers plenty of options for the foodies. A slight detour towards East Street takes you to the delightful Kayani Bakery for the world - famous Shrewsberry biscuits. But I want to try out something new there now. So I bought chocolate biscuits and Khatai. The former were not good, the latter was heavenly. Marz-o-rin is a long-time favourite; better than any of our Starbucks and Cafe Coffee Days of the world. Ice coffee, chicken sandwiches and Black Forest pastry and a table on the first floor verandah is all you need to spend a lovely hour and watch the world go by. Today though, we decided to visit age-old George restaurant further down the line for their chicken biryani.