Hyderabad Diaries – Chapter 1

Mammoth billboards. Perfectly curved but illegible script. Bright and vivaciously painted temples. Seemingly infinite number of cyber cafés and Café Coffee Day outlets. Eight rupees a piece apple!

When I first set my foot in Nagesh Kuknoor’s city, I did not see any pearls or biryani or bakery biscuits or bangles or fancy silk. I saw cursive script all over the place. I saw Chiranjivi in Salman Khan’s rightful place. (Endorsing Thumsup, not abusing girlfriends, silly.) I saw Pizza Corner and Shopper’s Stop announcing themselves in the same pretty-looking cursive script. And, I saw movie posters. Lots of them. All over the place.

I, my dear friends, am writing from the city of illegible billboards and posters.

I Arrive

Airborne, I sat next two politician-type men in white safari suits. They were polite men who exchanged pleasantries with me, and then chatted with each other in fluent Telugu but made appropriate noises every now and then. One of them asked me where I worked and mistook and misheard my company’s name to be my post. He thought I was GM of my company! “A GM at such a young age?” he asked and was laughed at by his friend who got my company’s name right. Fun flight, overall.

As we landed, I noticed the first difference between Hyderabad and Delhi. From up there, Delhi is this huge island of lights, criss-crossed by wide roads with lots of moving lights. Hyderabad, on the other hand, is a collection of lots of small islands of lights, separated by huge black patches. Lots of vegetation, I am guessing.

First Look

Huge billboards, illuminated billboards, not-so-smart architecture (this place has apartments/buildings with windows opening towards walls!), brightly painted temples with intrinsic patterns, places with names that I am scared to say out loud because they sound like some real bad words in Hindi. However, everyone I had to interact with on my way from the airport to the workplace could speak proper Hindi and some English. I am happy.

Baby’s Day Out

Lifestyle, Coffee Cream, Prasad Multiplex, Birla Mandir, Lumbini Park, Hussain Sagar Lake, Buddha Statue, Eat Street on my first day off work. Old City is next on cards. Being new to a city makes everything special. I keep discovering little things that are different from Delhi:

– It is cool drinks not cold drinks.
– The auto meter starts from rupees eight.
– At Café Coffee Day, you pay the bill just before leaving and not as soon as you enter.
– You do not necessarily need your own conveyance to experience the nightlife.
– If you switch off the television and the air conditioner, you can hear the leaves of the tree outside your window rustle.

Also Discovering

Watching Telugu channels is more fun when you do it in Andhra Pradesh. Vissa is my favorite at present. I also spend quite some time taking pictures of Telugu movie posters that are all over the place and listening to Telugu music. The fact that I cannot tell anything apart from anything makes the whole thing pleasurable. Is this how I felt before I could speak and read?

Hyderabad likes big, colorful pictures. And, I like it for this.


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