Mumbai: “Dude, let’s hit up Irish House, Hoppi and one of the Socials…and then we can finish up at XO or Liv! This night’s gonna be crazy, man!”
Pune: “Break out the Bakarwadis and Basundi baby, cuz it’s gonna get nuts here! Then we’ll go hang at Z bridge, and everyone’s back home by 11 yeehaw!!”
Fundamentally different styles of letting loose, I admit. But both reflect the preferred lifestyles of the respective cities. Mumbai, where the compulsive 9-7 working class is always looking for a chance to let its hair down and party the weekend away in a daze of intoxicants and hangovers; and Pune, where the kids staying with their parents have to sneak off to Koregaon Park for a drink of anything stronger than Katraj Dairy Buttermilk. (For the benefit of family members reading this, I’ve never had anything stronger than Katraj Dairy Buttermilk. Strong stuff, that. Knocks your socks off. True story.)
Mumbai being party central is hardly news to anyone. As a general pointer, any city that has places serving breakfast at 11 at night is sure to have a good nightlife (Because the urge to have Belgian Waffles at 11 only strikes the drunk). And Mumbai soundly caters to all possible whims of the drunken soul: whether by providing a location for peddling drunken philosophy (read: Marine Drive at 12:30 a.m. Also refer: “Tu mera bhai hai!”), or by satisfying cravings of Bheja Fry at 1:30 a.m. I mean, seriously, who the hell has ever gone to Bade Miya sober?!?
Pune, on the other hand, is more restrained. It’s not like there aren’t places to accommodate you, if what you want is to get sloshed with friends. But it does that in the sensible Puneri way, by segregating those places away from the body of the city, so that you don’t disturb the slumber of the entirely inhospitable citizens via a drunken rendition of “Ishq tera tadpaave” (or whatever the hell you happen to be singing that night). Following which, if you have the benefit of staying away from your parents, you can go and get steaming hot poha at Nal-Stop (because there are newspaper offices there, not because they care about your munchies), or the ever-reliable Come-Sum at the station.
It wasn’t too long ago that 11 p.m. was the absolute deadline for those wanting to do something on a weekend in Pune. But with the massive inflow of students and IT professionals over the years, Pune has had to accommodate their habits and partying ways, and you can tell that it doesn’t come naturally to the city. Indulging in alcohol is still frowned upon (unless you’re in a Symbiosis affiliated institute, in which case people will be glad you only do alcohol). Mumbai is way more relaxed about the whole party culture, and in fact gives far more options in terms of places and ahem…intoxicants.
So better places to go to, better stuff to indulge in, and a more liberal point of view about it all… I’m afraid this round must go to Mumbai too.
P.S. – Typing this out on a Saturday night, so you can imagine what has influenced my verdict.
P.P.S. – Pune people, worry not. After all, we believe in Shivaji’s tactics of guerilla warfare. Let Mumbai win the battle; we’ll win the war!