Where I live, things have a tendency to come alive at the slightest mention of any festivity. Pune is home to a huge number of diverse cultures and the city and its people make it a point to celebrate each one of them in the liveliest manner possible where the city will have some symbolism of the culture being celebrated. If a time traveller ever landed in the city, they’d know exactly what time of the year it is, merely by looking at the street shops or popping into a food joint and checking what’s on the special menu card as cultural celebrations are deemed incomplete without including the specific meals related to the occasion.
For instance, if you walked into Pune during Halloween, almost every cafe and bakery will have a shelf dedicated to pumpkin shaped boxes of sweets and every street will be lined with stalls selling zombie masks and light-up pumpkin toys, despite Halloween being a rather nascent culture around here and not known to many. However, for the folks who celebrate it, the city’s got you covered.
Talking of festivities, here’s a small reminder….
It’s the most beautiful time of the year once again! And without further ado, here’s what Pune city has to offer to deck the halls in preparation for Santa’s arrival.
This is a Christmas market in a place called East Street. Pune has a concept of roadside stalls all year round and during Christmas, this one small lane will be packed along its length with shops selling all kinds of Christmas merchandise. Even full size trees.
Fun fact: Pune is known as the multitasking city. Here’s why….
Now these stalls occupy nearly half the street but in Pune, we do not believe in stopping daily commute. Cars around here have a magical ability to squeeze themselves into any road, however narrow it is and come out without a scratch. Also, in Pune, we consider the entire lithosphere to be a free parking spot, Christmas market or not, so at this time of the year, this tiny lane on East Street serves as a Christmas market, parking spot, evening walkers cum pedestrian shoppers plaza and a normal route for commute. Does this hinder the shoppers? Nope, this is daily life. This gala is best experienced by foot and this very attribute of the city to multitask is what makes it an exciting place to experience.
This is one of the stalls in the Christmas Market. You’ll find everything one needs for Christmas, right here. One of the most beautiful parts of shopping in the city is the organised nature of the stalls. With all the multitasking involved, one might think that shopping here is chaotic but it is totally the opposite. Each stall will have at least three salespeople on standby and the moment a customer asks for help, they will provide it in no time. Street shops provide the right balance between helping customers and allowing them to have a look by themselves and natives of the city are rather accustomed to waiting if they see all the salespeople occupied. This year, despite the Covid situation, the Christmas stalls ran very smoothly which was very commendable. Some of the things in these stalls are handmade which adds a great deal of variety to the already vibrant collection.
No occasion in the city is complete without streamers. You’ll find a stall like this everywhere you go during Christmas or any other festival. Also, there is no dearth of colour combinations. If you want a yellow Christmas wreath, just ask and you’ll have it. We live life in technicolour:)
Star lanterns are favourites in the city and you’ll find every stall selling these right from the festival of Diwali up to New Year’s Eve. These boost the aesthetics like mad and every picture one gets of these will be postcard worthy.
This is me getting creative with Portrait mode. I like to call this, ‘Through the rabbit hole.’
Taking pictures of the market is a task everyone should try at least once. Taking photographs is a tilt in the multitasking balance of the city and often, one needs to take ten photos in a dash and one of them will be without photobombs. Gotta admit, Pune ain’ the best place for phone storage.
This glass ball is from the above Christmas stall. It’s made out of a light bulb and the pattern is hand-painted. Here, it’s a brilliant filter for my wee little Christmas tree at the back.
These are two other trinkets I got from the market. The first one’s a white and red wreath against the back of my tree and the second one is a banner. I like how Santa has a puppy in his sack. He’s called Santa Paws:)
This is another street decked up for Christmas. Balloons with LEDs are the new craze in the city and during festivals, there’ll be a vendor selling these balloons at every nook and cranny of the city. Santa caps and masks are the other popular items as in Pune, most malls, schools and even some housing complexes will have a visit by Santa complete with all the kids getting sweets. I make it a point to meet at least one Santa every Christmas and get a sweet. I even wrote one of them a letter once, stating that I’d been a good girl. The lengths one can go for chocolate.
What? I had been good. Always have.
This was another Christmas Flea held at a cafe called ‘Art Beats Cafe’ in Pune. The market was called ‘Jingle Bells Christmas Bazaar’ and hosted a number of events such as a round of ‘Housie’ and a fashion show. The cafe is a lovely little place in a lane shaded by trees and the whole flea market really brings in the festive feel. The stalls are run by people in small businesses and all the proceeds from the stalls here go for charity. I feel it is a lovely way of bringing out the true meaning of Christmas.
This is the plum cake stall at the flea. Each of the cake hampers are decorated with tiny Christmas tree ornaments which makes them very pretty. I like the gingerbread houses used as a decoration, gives me the actual ‘Santa Claus’ vibes.
Cake-sicles!!!! If there is one thing that fascinates me, it is cakes on a stick. I mean, how brilliant is that?! You’ve got a lollipop and a cake all in one and it’s so convenient to travel with while eating. These are the very things that restore my faith in human beings and their ability to come up with brilliant ideas. Whoever invented cake-sicles deserves a Nobel.
These cake-sicles came with a tag printed with a Christmas symbol like a bell or a tree and a wish below that. #spreading joy
This stall sold handmade goods. The Christmas tree ornaments are painted by kids and have some really good designs which are simple and pretty. The people running these stalls were very sweet. They let me photograph their stalls despite the crowds and their enthusiasm was very refreshing, complete with greetings and a lot of gratitude. It’s amazing how a simple ‘thank you’ or a ‘Merry Christmas’ can cause such a huge impact.
This is my haul from the Christmas Flea. The two pillows are handmade and those snowmen decorating my cakes are from the street market. This is the first time I got a hot chocolate bomb from the flea market. I am excited to try it cause before this, I’ve only made hot chocolate with milk and molten dark chocolate. The cake-sicle will be happily devoured tomorrow. It’s the season to be jolly.
At the end, here’s a picture of my Christmas tree.
And that is a wrap!
Until next time,
Happy Christmas in advance:)