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Hyderabad Blues!

"Give me a proper landmark!", the driver of the Pune-Hyderabad Neeta Volvo shouted at me. I was at a loss of words. Trust me, you should always recap in these cases.

Yesterday I had to go to Hyderabad on kind of an official trip. I boarded the Volvo from the familiar Aundh Parihar Chowk, and was quite nestled in my blanket when the conductor shouted, "Illy-Pilly". It was 6.30 am. I looked out of the bus and could see huge cut-outs of movie-stars, sporting just as huge moustaches, outside theatres. I couldn't help but smile. I had reached Hyderabad.

I looked at the address given to me. It read "Raj Bhawan Road, Somajiguda". Taking the outermost area in the address, I asked the conductor about where I should alight for Somajiguda. He gave me a blank expression. Thinking that may be I had pronounced it wrongly, I proceeded for the next line in the address - Raj Bhawan Road. "Give me a proper landmark!", the driver of the Pune-Hyderabad Neeta Volvo shouted at me. What better landmark than the Governor's House man!, I thought. Then Google Maps, that I had glanced over before travelling, came to the rescue. "Necklace Road", I blurted out. "OK", the conductor said, "Its near Illy-Pilly. Get down there". "But how would I come to know?", I asked a foolish question. "I will announce the name". How was I supposed to tell him that all those Illy-Pilly names sounded the same to me!

The gentleman behind my seat helped me out and guided me and finally I alighted at a place called Punjikutta, with a back-pack as luggage. Just as in any other city to which you are new, the auto-driver charged me Rs. 50 for a 2-minutes walking distance. But I didn't mind it as for the first time in my life I had heard a person speaking in Hyderabadi tandana accent, popularised my Bollywood.

During breakfast at a road-side restaurant, I found out that Upma is common in both Pune and Hyderabad, but not Poha. It seemed interesting at that point of time. May be I was light-headed.

My work got over at around 2.30 pm and I had a was dying of hunger. Being in the city of Nawabs, I had to try out the Hyderabadi Biryani. Washing it down with a gulp of Pepsi, it tasted like manna. My bus to Pune was at 6.30 so I still had around 3 hours left to explore Hyderabad. I bravely took an auto again and asked him to take me to any famous place. The auto-driver started telling me about Central, IMax, etc. He seemed surprised when I told him that I am not interested in these. He then took me to the Birla Mandir.

The Birla Mandir is beautiful. Its huge and one thing that left me pleasantly surprised is that it has gods of each and every religion. Built atop a hill, its very peaceful and you will want to just sit at its top and scan the landscape of Hyderabad. May be that's why they don't allow phones and cameras in there. The scenery always looks better from your own eyes than through camera lens. However I still took some photos from where it was permitted.


Birla Mandir Entrance


Krishna statue outside Birla Mandir

My next stop was Lumbni Park. Its a park surrounding the Hussain Sagar Lake. Its a misnomer to call it a lake because it smells like sewage. There is a Guatam Buddha statue in the middle of the lake, but I couldn't go there as the boat services are once in 45 minutes and I didn't have the courage to keep inhaling that stinking smell. So again I strained my phone camera lens and took some photos.



Buddha Statue in the middle

My time was nearly up now and I had to go to Lakdi Ka Pul to board my bus. I was pretty excited to see a wooden bridge but was saddened to know that it again was a misnomer. The original wooden bridge existed 150 years back. Its all concrete now.

I was happy when the travel agent informed me that the bus was an hour late. I went around roaming with my back-pack on my shoulders. It seemed strangely liberating to just wander around aimlessly without a hint of tension in your mind. May be the absence of a goal helps you relax. Also the fact that the prettiest girl in Hyderabad driving around in a Maruti Swift asked me the directions to Lakdi Ka Pul, helped.

Finally on my way back, when I looked out of the huge window of the Volvo into the black sky with the moon winking at me from behind the huge canopy of trees on either side of the road, I was glad to be going back to Pune - the city I love the most.

I winked back.

Comments

  1. It is a wonderful article. The way you have presented the places, people and the accent of Hyderabad, it makes me feel that I was also there with you. Hats off to you writing skills :)

    ReplyDelete

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