Stories by the doors and windows of Pune Camp
Doors and windows of Pune cantonment are a clue to its cosmopolitan culture.
New immigrant trader groups came to Pune in early 19 th century to cater to the British military when they set up Pune cantonment or Camp as it is now commonly called. As a result a more cosmopolitan culture developed here.
The tiles embedded in the wall above the doors and windows point to a catholic home.
The iron grill door in front of the wooden door is a later addition. An added protection to the ground floor home that opens onto the road. It also helps beat the heat as the inner doors can be then left open to catch some breeze.
The vaccination dates marked on the walls by government agencies also point to a home that has children.
The little church propped up in the window leaves no doubt as to which ethnic group the homeowners belong to.
This is a Zoroastrian home. One can identify it by the yellow Asho Farohar ( half man half bird symbol) welded onto the iron grill door. The floral stencil prints stamped in white lime powder in front of the gate is another feature of a Parsi/ Irani home.
The haphazard parking problem in this area has them use the “No Parking” sign repeatedly as a deterrent.
QUIRKS OF PUNE CAMP
The quirkiness of these camp residents is quite evident with “No parking in front of door “ painted all over their door, Two white arrows point to the door just in case someone did not get what door the signs were talking about.
The standee repeats the warning in front of the door dispensing with “of” and announces “No parking in front door” just so that the words would fit on it.
Chung Fa is still one of my favourite Pune Camp eateries, it’s unique roof style is a reminder of the small Chinese population that was an integral part of the cosmopolitan fabric of Pune Camp approx 20 years ago. Originally a Chinese family owned business, its owner had come from southern China in the early 19 th century when the British set up the Cantonment in Pune.
In the early years the family resided on the same premises as the business. They initially started a shoe shop and and then the business evolved into a Chinese restaurant. This place changed hands when the Chinese owners migrated to Canada.