|End of an Era:
'OUT OF AFRICA' in Pune forced to close
'Out of Africa' was the name given nearly 20 years ago to a beautiful colonial property on 7 acres of land right at the edge of Koreagoan park in Pune.Developed,renovated and much loved over the years, it had truly become an oasis in Punes rapidly polluted expansion.Gorgeous fertile gardens, mango and chikku orchards and some 21renovated appartments and rooms drew people like a magnet, and for us, the oldest remaining residents,it represented a very special meeting place of friends , a home base in India and the site of some of the best parties in Pune over the years. We got news last May that the Army had given us 15 days to move out, on the grounds that we were illegally living as foreigners on military land(the property is right on the edge of Pune Cantonment ).
About 10 of us were able to rush back to Pune and spend 11 exhausting days, packing, selling and saying goodbye. We have received many mails of support from people who had lived or stayed there over the years,and its true that for some of us, it is the end of an era, as Out of Africa was the last remnant of sannyas communal living in Pune.
We had run it as a kind of cooperative, with resdents able to rent out their rooms when they were away and thereby generate income for the the large monthly expenses. On the last day, we had one large lunch with everybody, where tears ran freely, speeches were made and laughs were had. Perhaps a highlight of what otherwise was quite a traumatic time was the decision to donate a lot of our household stuff (and there was masses of it) to the people living in the slum shanty town which we would drive past every day on the way to the resort. They came by, excited and curious, 10 at a time, and left smiling each with a prepacked bag of useful goodies like pots and pans, sheets carpets and cushions.
It was very touching to finish on such a high note!
Photos can be seen on www.picasaweb.google.com/Dhirenbaba
Dhiren & Nritya
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