Friday, January 20, 2012

My home of 10 years...

When I landed in this city 1O years back (jan 18,2002), never did I realize that I would stay or stick to this place so long. There was nothing that I liked about this city, the  hyderabadi cuisine, the odour, the colors,  the language(dakhni hindi), the design,  the Hyderabadi traits like laid back attitude, laziness, unpunctuality, the hard water,  the dry weather, My rented home(though it was a brand new home), the shops, streets, hotels, the little kiosks with kebabs dangling…….. nothing I liked …. Nothing… at all.

Today 1O years later,   subtly and without realizing it consciously the city has made me fall in love with it.

After all this city is known as the city of love and was born out of love.

Hyderabad the 400 year old city is  my home for the past 10 years. A city which is a historians delight and its air,  redolent with history. Built for the love for Bhagmati , the fifth king of Golkonda Mohammad Quli Qutub shah founded and designed  the city and named it after her as Bhagyanagar in 1589.  He had decreed that the new city should be "unparalled in the world and  a replica of heaven itself”  and his words were taken literally  and planned as per the definition of the holy verse of Quran’s paradise. When his  lady love joined the royal palace as his queen she was renamed “Hyder Mahal” and Bhagyanagar was renamed as Hyderabad, now the capital of Andhra Pradesh.

 A city of oriental glory, the old city still is  reminiscent of the great days of the Indo-Muslim culture and the new city- a perfect blend of north and south.

Today, like all other Tier I cities, this city too has emerged as a global IT (Cyberabad)and bio-tech(genome valley) major along with retaining its royal cultural identity(old city hyderabad) and  colonial cantonment identity(Secunderabad, though named after Sikandar Jah was originally called Lashkar meaning army camp).

Now 1O years later, the scent, sight, flavor, sound, language and everything about Hyderabad/Cyberabad/secunderabad has sunk into me and influenced me  so much that, I’ve turned into a true blue Hyderabadi.

This post is not a travel guide but a list of things that I have done/seen or observed in Hyderabad.(my experiences and may differ from person to person)

  • ·         The first thing that would perhaps strike about this city is the language. The dakhni language which reflects their laid backness in its usage. You will find them combining the words  aa raha hai to aara , dekh raha hai to dekra kar raha hai to karra   like in kya karra bhai tu?( kya kar rahe ho bhai tu?or the use of ‘ re’ like in kya re? This even spills into English like in what re? Why re?

             From the beginning, I would advise my children not to use ‘re’ in their speech and today they tell me ‘Amma, you told us not to use ‘re’ and now you are using it. Such is the influence.

          Arrey, yes re bhai, this is hyderabadi language. Hum aisaich hain.( we are like that only)( any body interested in this language,  watch rib-tickling movies like Angrez or Aadab Hyderabad and you would know what I am talking about)

  • ·         If you are a person who is in a hurry to finish things first like me, this city would slow you down. Their attitude towards any thing in life is ‘lite le le’.(Take it lightly)
  • ·         The first time I came into the city, we brought our car by road and as soon as we entered the city near Shamshabad, I found we were the only ones who stopped for signal. The rest never bothered. All lights in the traffic signal are green for Hyderabadis. Similarly, we can overtake from any side. Even if, somebody hits you or you hit somebody. It is ‘ lite le le bhai’( take it light, bro) . While driving, you can simply put the left indicator and turn right.

( since jan1,2012, the laws have become strict though and even cars parked in ‘no parking’ are challaned and the tyres are locked to the road)

  • ·       You walk into a shop in a commercial district and ask the shopkeeper who is sipping chai to show you something and he would say. ‘Ruko madam ji, dikhta nahin kya… chai pee raha hoon’. His chai is his priority not his customer. After all they are in Nizam’s land, you see.
  • ·         If you are an early riser and have woken at 6 and your afternoon is somewhere around 12 and you Walk into any shop at 11 in the morning and ask for your need, and the shopkeeper would simply dismiss you  and  say ‘Abhi kula hoon madam, thoda waqt rukna padega’ . After all his subah is only at 11’O clock.
Yes, you will find the city dead before  11 a.m

  •          Ask for directions to any place and the director would say ‘ idharich hai (here only), Seedha jaana, chow raasta aata, left mudna’. And you will find that seedha raasta  is a   5 kms stretch and chowraasta is much after that.
  •      If the party invite says that it starts at 6.30p.m Even by mistake, don’t land at 7.30p.m. Reach there only at 8.30. That is the time sense we follow and yes, now I too follow the same time zone.  What to do, I follow - When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Jokes aside, but seriously these are some of my above experiences in this royal city.

Otherwise this is like any one of those global  cities where you find anything to everything in the branded malls,  Global cuisine in almost all hotels but still if you want to experience the hyderabadi culture, then

Drive around the Signature monument Charminar, you will find Sarojini Naidu’s Poem Bazaars of Hyderabad come alive. The beautiful lanes selling bangles, colorful traditional dresses, the mojris, jhootis, attars, pearls,kundan sets, the ari, zardozi embroidered sets. Especially during Ramzan, the colors that the bazaars display would be beyond the pallete of any artist.  This place retains the essence of  the real Hyderabad, the rest of the city has slowly morphed with times.

I  write about Hyderabad and can cuisine be far behind? Being a vegetarian, I find it difficult to eat at many traditional eateries the city is famous for. For non-vegetarians though, this place is a heaven. Hyderabadi cuisine is cooked with  ‘fursat’(slowly)  and with Mohabbat(love) with rich ingredients befitting a king. The speciality lies in its slow cooking called ‘Dum’ cooking. The signature dish of course is Haleem which is unique to Hyderabad, seconded by the Dum Pukht biryani and its combo Mirch ka salan. Other than these are Irani chai, Irani samosa, Osmania biscuit, Dil Pasand, Dil kush, Fruit biscuits  and the signature desserts Qubani ka meeta( apricot pudding), Double ka meeta( Bread pudding), Dil –e-Firdaus(kaddu kheer) and much more. For vegetarians, try veg biryani at Taj Belsons or Taj tristar(udupi hotels).

 During the month of Ramadan, community kitchens  define the city streets where people gather to cook on huge handis on either side of the roads and haleems are sold in little cups to break their fast. These sights do warm up your heart.( Being a vegetarian, I hate the aroma)

 For a book lover, Abids and King koti are the place to be. It is a haven for second hand books at dirt cheap rates. Books on all topics under the sun from gardening, cooking, sewing to robotics, management and automation, you name it and they have it.

Beach? Our version of Beach is the banks of Hussain sagar  The centre of which adorns a little Island with a huge Budhha . Especially in the evenings with the beautifully lit statue,  the floating hotel Bhagmati, sitting on the necklace road  with the illuminated park hotel behind and feeling the breeze is a costless luxury.(of course, the dampener are the mosquitoes).

If you are a first time visitor heading to Hyderabad for some sightseeing experience, AP tourism covers most of the places but still someplaces have been overlooked like the
unique experience at Lumbini park. Here you can catch,  The history of Hyderabad at the Laserium. The story of Hyderabad to Cyberabad is screened with laser beams on a Water curtain which springs from a fountain. Don’t miss this experience in an open air amphi. The laser beams look lovely under the ink blue sky.

The sound and light show at the emporium of diamonds, Golkonda. You will travel back to the times when Koh-i-noor and Hope were mined. An experience you should’nt miss with the baritone voice of Amitabh Bacchan. (narrator)

Sudha car museum where you will find cars in unique designs (working models) like Double decker, tweety, brinjal, Phallus(lingam), Computer  and many more all designed by a single man called Sudhakar.

Yogi Bear Putt putt park, all play things like swings, see saw are designed with tyres and it has a small golf link for kids to play. Beautifully designed by homemaker Yogita, inspired by a children park in sweden.

and  much, much more define Hyderabad for me today, though 10 years back Brand Hyderabad was IT hit, today it is T-hit( got the drift?).  

Now I am a True Blue Hyderabadi from a hard core Bangalorean, Infact, now my home town Bangalore where I lived all my life looks new to me.

                                  Falaknuma palace reminds of the glory of old Hyderabad

                             The park hotel on the banks of Hussain sagar, A glimpse of  New Hyderabad 

Image courtesy: google


  1. i visited hyderabad about 15 years back , I had liked the city then too, had some very exciting and levely moments there. and now with all the development and all i bet it looks all the more beautiful ..
    the hotel in the last picture was probably noit there , but i seen other places :)

    thank you for sharing about ur HOME :)


  2. I have visited Hyderabad, and really enjoyed every bit of it. Had the famous Biriyani, their Faluda-buttermilk, their irani Chai and Samosas, bought their bangles near Charminar, saw all the beaches, went to the beautiful Araku Valley. Bought pearls sets, kondapalli toys, in short had a great time. I even blogged about it.
    Reading your blog brought back pleasant memories.
    I also hated Calcutta when we first moved there during my college days, but within 1 year, I fell in love with that place, and the love for that city is still very strong, though the few times I visited it, it had changed a lot, but still I feel it is the best city to live.

  3. I haven't really been that lucky to visit Hyderabad, but your post was a joyous and picturesque tour to the *city of Love* on its own!
    I have heard a lot about the Hyderabadi cuisine and would love to try it soon!
    Hey city of love, I too wanna experience your dove, so here I come! :D

  4. I always wanted to be in the city of Hyderabad but unfortunately not able to go there till now.....apart from all those good things of the city i love the ascent in which they speak hindi/urdu......:)

  5. Lovely originl portrait of Hyderabad. Yes - cities do that don't they - they creep on you. At first you don't like them. All too soon, you don't want to leave.

  6. I have never stayed in Hyd for more than a week , but have always been impressed with the city. It is definitely more planned than Bangalore and has an old world charm to it.

  7. @ bikram - the last photo is a recent development :)

    @ rama- yes every city has its own charms and harms. we learn to live with it over a period of time.

    @ Akriti- welcome here on behalf of the city of love :)

    @ ifran - yes the dakhni urdu spoken here is a mix of urdu, hindi,telugu and marati:)

  8. @ ramesh - yes, yes, i don't want to leave now :)

    @ Bhargavi - bangalore too was very well planned and had good infrastructure (courtesy -the BDA) also was one of the reason why IT companies moved in but the developments were so rapid and people moved in so fast that today everything is out of place.

  9. aahaaa...hyderbad pakkam pogaamayae antha oora theru theruva paatha epect varuthu intha post padikarapo :)

  10. nice one yar..omg..visited hyderabad as far away in 1985...thought tirupati is nearby and took a bus only to realise it is far far away...good piece dost..wishes

  11. Stylish presentation. I have not visited Hyderabad after the advent of Park Hotel although I have walked the whole length of the tank bund road (now probably neclace road).

  12. asha dear friend..thankuuu

  13. I've never visited Hyderabad but after reading this post, I really want to. I will take a printout of your well written, warm toned article as reference. I regard it as more genuine and informative than any other content. You've written with such love and honesty. Keep writing, please.

  14. @ gils - :)

    @ r. ramesh - yes tirupati is closer to chennai, bangalore than hyd.

    @P.N- Welcome here sir and thank you. The tank bund road is a straight road connecting sec'bad and hyd. the road opposite to this is a curved road which when lit in the night looks like a necklace and so necklace road. Both are on either side of H. Sagar.

    @Swapna - Touched by your comment, thank you.

  15. It has been a long time since I visited H'bd. My BIL 's house is ther. I want to visit it to for my pilgrimage.

  16. It is the other way round with me Asha :)

    I am a pakka Hyderabadi (born and raised in Hyd), settled in Bangalore for 6+ years now. Now I have become a hard-core Bangalorean :D

  17. amazing post on hyderabad. I used to start (morning walks) and end my day (sipping tea late evenings) in hussain sagar lake. I actually did'nt like the place when i was studying there. Later on when i started working there, i did'nt feel like moving out of hyderabad.(Bangalore always remains as my first priority then hyderabad) eventhough i m a tamilian, i seriously did'nt prefer chennai.

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