Inputs from someone who has been a Punekar since 2004, yeah I stayed in Aundh too for initial few years
I came to Pune from Delhi (joined Infosys) on 27th June 2004. It was definitely a place to fall in love with, the best USP being the 12 month weather. The first thing anything would do in Pune would be to get a two wheeler (at that time, based on my salary that was the only thing I could afford, on loan :-) )
As the time passed, I learnt few things:
What has changed in the last 18 years?
- You need to be careful about the main Pune city driving due to one ways and few no entry zones.
- You need to be more careful about the people crossing the Red signal (most of the Punekars do that with pride) and coming from the opposite side (this has become the birth right for most of them).
- Watching a 20 bucks movie (front seat) at 09:00 am in the morning and then heading to FC road for Chaitanya's Parathas was always a treat over weekends.
- There were always 'places to visit' for trekking, boating, and adventure activities in ALL the directions from Pune (Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmednagar, Solapur).
- ALL kind of restaurants in every directions.
- Monsoons were the most beautiful.
- Mahabaleshwar as well as Konkan beaches (Starting from Alibaugh all the way down to Goa) could be visited anytime during the 12 months.
- Local traffic cops target Bikers almost 10 times more than the 4 wheelers.
- Construction Construction everywhere (Hinjewadi was still only an IT park with employees staying in Aundh).
- No one cared about your speed limit either in the city or on the highway.
- There was no public infrastructure, no proper roads, no proper public system.
- City Center was always crowded (The Peth area).
- There were locals who were goons and as a north Indian, you were considered as an outsider (I have had few instances in the last 18 years from where this feeling is coming).
- 5 Major townships have been established in Pune (3 only in Hinjewadi and 2 in the East Pune).
- The number of vehicles in Pune have almost equalled or crossed the number of people in Pune.
- The inflation seems to have averaged on higher side more than the national average itself. (School Fees, Gas prices, Property prices, Rentals, Tolls, Services everything has gone out of proportion).
- The weather cycle has been extended by almost a month. (Monsoons ended October end this year, it used to end in September mid).
- More and More eateries everywhere.
- Ola, Uber, Swiggy, Dunzo, Blinkit are ruling the city and people are happy paying for the services.
- More and More coworking spaces have come up, a concept that did not exist say 10 years back.
Apart from some of the above developments, everything else is still same as mentioned in the first list in this reply.
So Welcome to Pune, my suggestion is to blend in with the local culture as soon as possible (Learning Marathi is not mandatory as most of the people speak and understand Hindi, English) however knowledge of the local language would always keep you some or the other edge. I never practised speaking the language as there never was any need created for me for the same but I think I should have done that.
EVERY service as well as the product is available in Pune as long as you are willing to shell out money.
Just don't expect the quality from the local municipal body if you visit the PMC areas (Pune Municipal Corporation) however considering you would be staying in Aundh, you would be part of the PCMC (that anyway is on a different league and my suggestion to anyone relocating to Pune is to find a place in PCMC rather than PMC in case your work location is in PCMC).
Most Importantly: Be aware of where you park, there are designated parking spots (either free or paid) based on the Odd/Even dates and my suggestion is to not get carried away by those who are breaking the rules by parking anywhere they can. This also goes for those jumping the red signal.
You can however easily ignore someone honking at you on the red signal (to encourage you to cross it since they want to do the same) because they will do it once and twice and then will be silent after that :-).
So Enjoy the weather and all the food that you can find including the local one. Enjoy Konkan (Take the very inside route along the beaches to cover its entirety) and Forts (You will find many of them around). Keep some annual budget for traffic challans and learn to drive carefully (You need to not only save yourself but also the bikers, the autos and everyone who would seem to be VIPs getting late for wherever they are going).
Remember, its your community practises and attitude towards the one that you blend in or build that will make your experience at any place supreme rather than the geography or geopolitics or anything else because that thing would always remain common for everyone around you.
BTW, Police here is just a call away and they are helpful (at least would listen to you irrespective of wherever you are coming from and will show their eagerness to take action if required). So never feel feared to call them if required (God Forbids).
Have a safe stay in Pune and all the best! Happy to help for any of your queries for anything related to Pune and adjoining places.