The city just rambles on and on. Kukatpally with its nearby areas is the capital of the Telugus – of the Andhra region. Squarish multi storeyed malls, with lighting a tad too bright sometimes. Cinema halls showing Telugu movies every here and there. Bars by the dozen. Large space between the buildings and the roads. Hindi understood here, but chances of facing a difficulty are not nil. Extremely cultured people, whose bank accounts may be mistakenly judged by the simplicity of their clothing.
Hitec City, the IT hub. Neo – Cosmopolitanism at its best. Ordered, neat and new residential buildings. Finely finished, shining glass office buildings. This could be a city anywhere in India. Polished faces, fake accents and plastic smiles. It is what it is, not what you think it is. Every sqaure inch utilized and accounted for and made productive. Random temples/ parks/ open spaces? Well, don’t you know? We believe in leveraging all available resources to add value.
A much more prodigious younger sibling coming up near Gachibowli.
If Objectivity is the word for Hitec City, then ‘wealth’ it is for Jubilee/ Banjara Hills. ‘Hey, I see lots of public gardens, where are the houses?’, ‘Look closely dude, you’ll find them within these public gardens.’ More cars than number of people per house, professions ranging from real estate to politics to tennis to overrated hottiness. Cost of weddings resembling phone numbers. Cost of (probably) everything resembling phone numbers.
Secunderabad looks like a much, much older version of Hitech City. It gives the feel of an old time metro. The presence of temples of every hue – from Vaishno Devi of Jammu to Ayyappa Swami of Tamil Nadu confirm the joint epithet. ‘Intellect’ is the buzzword here, with the astounding density of highly educated, upper middle class, high positioned people and the amazing tone and vocabulary of the language you come across here. A former cantonment town, the army and huge open military spaces still have a formidable presence and adds to the richness of this ideal-to-raise-a-child place.
By far the largest among these is the Muslim Hyderabad. Somehow, muslim sections of majority of Indian cities look more or less the same. This area encompasses the central part of Hyderabad, and all the major Govt Buildings – ranging from Assembly to Haj House to Police to Museum buildings can be said to fall within it. Although prosperity differs from lane to lane, one common feature is randomness. People for the large part still seem to be living in a pre-modern age. This is a city within a city, or maybe a state within a state, with the language, lifestyle, demographics, cuisine, even politics having no parallels anywhere atleast in the state of Andhra Pradesh outside this mostly sardine can of a city quarter. Change seems to come slowly here.
Nestled within this Pakistan (no offences, only chance rhyme) there exists a Rajasthan. Just cross over into Begum Bazar from Mauzam Jahi Market Chaurasta. Vegetarian restaurants appear out of nowhere. Temples at every what seems like two steps. Lanes are narrow, but cleaner than their neighbouring ones. Penetrate deeper, and you’ll start seeing what are probably the only Hindi Signboards south of MP. Women cover their heads with their sari pallo, but young girls run around in their Jeans. Temples have Hindi markings and Anoop Jalota blares out from the Masjid-style loudspeakers installed outside the temple. There is a BJP office and saffron flags furl from rooftops. …’Namashkar ji, main Pawan Kumar Agrawal…’. ‘Ji main Aniket Sharma.’ ‘Yahaan ke to nahi lagte, kahaan se hain aap Sharma ji?’ ‘Ajmer, Rajasthan.’ ‘Aji main Deedwana se… yahaan kaise aana hua..?’ … ‘Ji Namaste.’
No, this would not be mistaken for Jaipur. This is some small town of Rajasthan. Ajmer? No. Kishangarh… yeah, something like that!
And from what I see, in between these extremes lie the confluences, and in places of both extreme and confluence type, live Telugus of the Telangana region. Probably the very ‘original’ inhabitants of this piece of land now called Hyderabad. Whose culture borrows from all of these extremes. The foundation, upon whose sweat has been built tall this city.
PS: Yes, I overemphasized the Rajasthani area. Can’t help doing that. I’m running a temperature, feeling homesick and haven’t been home for a long time.
PS1: This is Hyderabad – II. Hyderabad – I can be found here .