About a city

I have had my new document in Google docs opened for the last half hour, where I wanted to start writing my last post for the year, preferably a 2009 round-up like everyone else. And I realised that that would take a while, so in that time, I opened Facebook, started ignoring all the random requests that had accumulated ion the page. And while doing that, this new request pops up. Asking ‘ Which part of Hyderabad are you?’ sent in by The Dude. And I being jobless (not really, it’s just that I have vowed that I will not work today), went through the whole quiz. And this is what I got.
DI took the What Hyderabad area are you from? quiz and the result is Banjara-Jubilee-Hi-Tech City
You exemplify the cosmo crowd. You are almost certainly an outsider in Hyderabad (an expat probably?). While you are up to date with the latest trends in fashion, music or anything ‘hep’, you remain disconnected with the heritage of your own city. Step out and sample Hyderabad! It has so much more to offer than pubs, lounge bars or hookah joints!

Now frankly, I was okay with the result. Not that these results can be taken seriously. But ofcourse, a quiz which decided that I am not from Hyderabad because there was some place from the Old city they mentioned which I hadn’t been to doesn’t really count, does it?

Point being, come May, I would have in all, lived here for 8 years. And that is big, because it is quickly reaching the length of my longest stay ever in any city, which would be the 9 years I spent in Meerut, my hometown, as I like to call it. And not all of it has been great. And thankfully I don’t have to make cliched statements like ‘I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this city’ , because I haven’t. It was utter hatred from the beginning. The first time I had to live here was completely out of no choice, and I was hesitant to even try and start liking the place. And in the 3 years spent here, my personal life went so haywire in so may different and completely unrelated ways, that the somewhat rebellious teenager in me very conveniently blamed the city for the way things were. And while leaving the place, the only thought was to never return again.
And two amazing years later, when all that was left of Hyderabad was a very faded memory of the way things had been, I get this mail in my inbox saying that I have been posted to Hyderabad. And it took a while to accept and digest the fact, ofcourse with a vague consoling voice in the back of the head which said it wasn’t forever anyway. But this time, things were different. My first step into independent life was in this city, and it couldn’t have been more comfortable. With a good work place, a good group of friends, I actually had the time to sit back and observe how very different the city seemed now. It was friendly, and very welcoming, and we seemed to get along like nobodys business. And for once, I actually liked the place, and sometimes even referred to it as home. But in the back of my head, the voice still remained, and it told me not to get too settled, because we were moving out of here for sure.
And then, The Dude happened. A Hyderabadi to the core, the only glimpses of the Marathi manoos you get to see in him are when he converses in his broken marathi with the MIL. Biryani, Irani Chai, Hallu chalao, how-dare-they-not-declare-Golconda-Fort-as-a-World-heritage-centre, this guy is all about Hyderabad. And with him, I started liking the city. Not at once, because that would be totally unfair to Hyderabad, but gradually. It was like we started afresh, the city and I. And for once I decided to keep all other things aside and see what it had to offer. And in some time, blame it on the stars in my eyes scenario, I couldn’t understand what had me fault the place to begin with. And very slowly, as I removed all things personal from my list of ‘Why-I-don’t-like-Hyderabad’, I don’t have anything left.
So I know I like it. But how much I like it I realised with these extremely sickening political wars going on around. Because when I knew they wanted to split this state into two, the otherwise totally non-political me, was not happy. And when they went ahead and decided to do it anyway, and then proceeded to fight over Hyderabad, it made me very angry. For my city. It was like no one bothered about what would happen to its development. A division on the basis of language they say. What language,seriously? This is the city where one can easily survive without knowing a word of the local language. One of the things that makes it special, you never feel like an outsider. And when The Dude suggested we would move from here if things don’t get better, I couldn’t think of one damn place I wanted to move to! It was like I had the whole country laid out in front of me, and not one city managed to meet all the pre-requisites I had in mind for a place I could call home. And when that happens, when you don’t think things could even be the same elsewhere, leave alone get better, you know you’re in a tough spot.
So, even though Facebook calls me an expat, and says I am disconnected with it’s heritage, I know I love this city.Though I would never intentionally switch my pure UP Hindi for the Hyderabadi slang. Or prefer the Biryani from Paradise over my Subway Sandwiches. Or ever even consider watching ‘The Angrez‘. Because that’s not what makes this city what it is. Because there is so much more to it, that takes a while for one to absorb and understand. So much more that you need to experience to actually realise it, and by the time you do, you become a part of it.
Like I finally have.

12 thoughts on “About a city

  1. Anonymous

    I am a Hyderabadi who has never lived in the city! Have been brought up in Delhi..And all my life I’ve been facing all those miserable questions – “So you are a Madrasi?” “Whats with the initials before your name?” “Is your name K.S. or Preeti?” “Do you eat Dosa Everyday?” and so many more! You would think amidst all that, I would start hating Delhi, but I love Delhi with all my heart and more..When I come to Hyderabad, I almost never connect with the city, like I am an alien who lost her way on earth! I thought I would be as disconnected as possible from all this debate about Telengana..Your post suddenly reminded me of all the good times I have had in Hyd and all the good times yet to come, when my parents shift there eventually! Maybe, it’s not that bad a city afterall!
    Cheers to Cities that grow on you slowly!
    PS: My mum n dad would be so elated if they read this comment of mine! It’s almost like after 15 years of debating, I finally gave up arguing that Delhi’s better than Hyderabad!

  2. Hey! 🙂 Long time yes?
    I am glad it reminds of the good things! I agree, when we have been at some place for a while it totally grows upon you, and you tend to love with all of its faults! In fact, I have forever defended the north in general against the south, and vice versa, because I am somehow connected to both! Also, it has helped me to never generalise any place or people, because it so depends on the situation and time!
    Yep, cheers to these cities!

  3. Anonymous

    (a) Hi! 🙂 Yep, long time..Thanks to Google Reader, I got to know you are still blogging! 🙂
    (b)A small litle secret confession here: I defend Hyderabad and South Indians like C.R.A.Z.Y. when I am outside my house. It’s only when I am at home that I talk like a Delhite..! Chah..Should be ashamed of myself..:P
    (c)My Dad’s side has lived in Hyd for a good 50 years..(!!!) He says the Irani Chai and Osmania Biscuits are things you’ll never ever get to have anywhere else..You might want to try that before the times change for worse!
    Oh and (d)M slightly free today at work. My manager’s in a good mood today, our team got applauded for some work..So yeah, it’s blog and comment time! 🙂

  4. Haha! Loved the bullet points 😉
    Anyway, I am guilty of the same thing, I mean point (b), so I guess that’s an issue with people brought up away from the place they belong to!
    I love Osmania Biscuits!! Love em Love em! Irani chai is something I have hardly tasted! 😀
    Have fun blogging! I am kinda infrequent, but will try to make it better next year!

  5. Anonymous

    Wow..i love this post..i have always been in love with hyd..even though i was born at chennai,i was completely brought up at hyd..i dont think there can be a better place on earth!!
    i went to chennai for a short term job assignment and planned to come back but i ended up getting married and settled down at chennai..am dreading when i will have to go back to chennai after the maternity leave..
    even i am so disturbed by this Telangana issue..

  6. Thanks Sri! I really meant all that I wrote though.
    Agreed, it’s a beautiful place! I only wish you start liking the place you are now at as much too! And yes, read about Oviya. Lovely name, and hope she is doing great 🙂

  7. Anonymous

    Hi…wonderful post as usual. I read your blog regularly and just admire your style of writing. Sometimes i get inspired to write as well and make feeble attempts at adding a post or two to my blog. Wanna know how do get people to read my posts and leave comments without which its like writing in oblivion. look forward to your comments.

  8. Thanks! I am a very wrong person to ask for any ideas about increasing readership! Cos I doubt many people read my page, except those who I have grown to know over time:) But trust me, writing for yourself is fun in itself, and no, these pages would never get lost in oblivion!

  9. Anonymous

    city of hyderabad
    Gr8 blog gal! could not agree with you more on the way i feel about the city right now….though mumbai will always be close to my heart , i have realized over time that hyd is one of my fav places in india …though i could not c more than 20 min of Angrez or tasted the most delicious ‘hyderabadi biryani’ or stayed again in hyderabad after our college years…yet everytime i visit there..it feels like home in hyd too…..
    it recertifies that t first impressions are certainly not the correct ones!

  10. Re: city of hyderabad
    Heyy! There you are, welcome :D!
    I know, we were so full of hate for the place when we were here remember? But when I look back, we also had so much fun! All those movies, and cold coffees, and window shopping at lifestyle, and scooty rides for the air show! It was never that bad, we just couldn’t get out from the ‘this is not my city’ mindset! Come to Hyd for sometime, been so long!

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