I wanted my first visit with Dhanya to begin with a visit to the Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple. So, when Dhanya wanted to begin to visit places near Mumbai, I thought it was time to visit Pune. Dad suggested we check in to Vivanta by Taj Blue Diamond in Pune and drive to Pune.
We left Mumbai around 8:30 in the morning in our white Swift car. Driving along the Sion-Panvel highway we reached the Mumbai-Pune Expressway without any issues. The drive on the Expressway was also eventless and we whiled away time listening to the radio. Once we reached closer to Pune, we switched on Google Maps to help us navigate to Vishrantwadi Junction in Pune. The route was reasonably reliable, though it took us through a maze of lanes that we were not familiar with and at times were doubtful whether we had got lost in the maze. However, as we got close to the Junction, signposts appeared helpfully. Pune is developing its own BRTS for which work seems to be progressing. There was drizzle enroute to Pune but it really started pouring when we were waiting for Dhanya’s friend’s husband, Rakesh.
He came in his white Swift and guided us to their house in Dhanori, quite close to the airport. We had vegetarian biriyani and kurma for lunch. This was followed by dessert. Dhanya’s friend is also named Dhanya. Both of them went to college together in their BBA days. They had a lot of catching up to do and so Rakesh and I left them to do the talking.
We left their house and again with great help from Google Maps, found our way to Blue Diamond hotel. We slept a while, soaking in the cushioned beds under the warm blankets, cherishing a moment of togetherness. We then went to the up and coming Koregaon Plaza mall and returned to the room quickly for a night out in a pub.
Dhanya and Rakesh picked us up at the Taj. Both Dhanyas had spent considerable time discussing what to wear. We went to the Independence Brewing Co. For both Dhanyas it was their first pub experience. Everyone enjoyed themselves with drinks and lots of photos taken for keepsake. They dropped us at the Taj again on their way back home. We were both exhausted from the long drive and promptly went to bed to sleep.
Rakesh had mentioned in his conversations on the day before that they were going to Lavasa and asked if we were interested in coming along. We were planning to return to Mumbai that afternoon after checking out at around 12 pm. I considered not going but realised that we had come most of the way to Lavasa and without company might not go to Lavasa on our own. I confirmed that we would be coming after a visit to the Dagdhusheth temple. I said we’d confirm times on the next day.
The next day we awoke at 6:30 am. We got ready and used the Taj’s car to take us to Dagdhusheth temple. I was not sure if there would be any lines and also wasn’t sure if we’d get parking there. We got an easy and early darshan there and made our way back to the hotel by 9 am. We caught the Taj’s sumptuous breakfast spread.
We then headed to Lavasa in our respective Swift cars. The plan was to drive to Lavasa, grab a bite of lunch there and then head back to Mumbai that day afternoon. The drive to Lavasa, though, surprised and it was afternoon by the time we got there. After parking our cars, we walked on the lakeside in the rains. We grabbed a bite of pizza at Smokin’ Joe’s. There Rakesh got news that a landslide on the Mumbai Pune Expressway had led to its closure. The news came out that people had died in the landslide and it was suggested that the old Mumbai-Pune Highway, the NH4 be taken. We drove back to Pune in the hopes that the landslide would be cleared and we could head back to Mumbai that night.
It was 5 pm by the time we reached Wakad junction and both Rakesh and my father in Mumbai suggested we stay the night and attempt to head back to Mumbai only early next morning. Accordingly, we headed back again to Dhanya’s friends house for the night. We had rice and onion sambar that night for dinner. It was midnight by the time we slept that night.
We headed back to Mumbai early that morning. There was no traffic jam and the landslide was cleared from all four lanes of the Expressway. There were light to moderate showers but we reached back home at 9, just in time to head back to another week at work.