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.

Today I …

  • Sat at my desk trying to look all busy because I couldn’t stand getting more work
  • Worked for a while on a presentation which I myself know very well is downright horrible, hence proving that I am not in a state to work today.
  • Have a horrible head ache for no real reason and it just seems to get worse.
  • Tried posting a picture on LJ and failed for the 100th time.
  • Got bugged with LJ and so created an account with word press which is oh-so-cool-and-user friendly-and-full-of-features.
  • Contemplated shifting to the new blog for good and then didn’t.
  • Fought with Mom because she refused to hear and react enthusiastically enough to the good things that were said about my project yesterday.
  • Called her again myself because I needed someone to know anyways.
  • Walked to and from the water cooler 5 times just to be reminded that there is no water in it.
  • Sent an ‘I am having a bad day’ SMS to The Dude and then an ‘I am really bugged with you’ SMS when he refused to reply.
  • Switched off the phone to show him that I was indeed angry and would not receive his calls.
  • Switched it on twice to see if he has sent a message and saw he hadn’t.
  • Sent the presentation anyways and got it back as expected to work on it again.
  • Got a mail from the Dude (finally!) saying how busy had been and how he was just about to call.
  • Tried being bugged and acting pricey and lasted all of 5 minutes.
  • Was called to an urgent meeting which ended up being a half hour get together since the boss got busy elsewhere.
  • Wrote an immensely mundane post about my immensely mundane day and felt happy about having something to post.And now that I am done, I am waiting for it to be 9, so that I can go home.

So what did you do today?

And it was called Yellow

So,  I am here to write about our song. Yes, we too have a song, and like I-Love-Lucy said, we too are that kind of people. 

The Dude and I unfortunately do not have the same taste in music. He is very firang when it comes to this, and I have come to know that it is not just for the purpose of looking smart, he actually does know a lot. Oh come on! How does one explain humming along every damn track that plays on VHI! I on the other hand, am very much desi. Lots of Bollywood, Indi-Pop for me and angrezi music knowledge is extremely limited, mainly to recommended tracks which I might get pretty much addicted to. But ask me to identify a song by a band, whose other song I love, zilch. I would never be able to do it. And, I don’t understand Pink Floyd. There, you get the idea now.

So, it was a pretty difficult concept to have a song, especially because we might be rarely listening to and enjoying the same music. Anyways, the Dude thought it was a good idea to educate me a bit more about how nice English music could be and over one of our very many chats on the office messenger, sent me the lyrics of the song Yellow by Cold Play saying it was one of the most beautiful songs. And my instant reaction was ‘Ok, now those are weird lyrics! The guy is just calling everything yellow!’ And the dude was equally disappointed because he thought it was an extremely romantic number (more so because it was a prospective song from him to me kinds). All he replied however was a ‘L ’ and asked me to listen to it, I might like it after all. 

I never downloaded it for a long time, and believed firmly that I would never ever grow fond of a song which called the stars, and everything yellow. Finally the Dude was back, and we resumed our long drives, and he had long ago given up on asking me to try and listen to the song. Some random cd was playing in the car, and it happened to have yellow on it. When we reached the song, for some reason (has to be the weather or something) I mentioned how beautiful the song was. Surprisingly, and very conveniently I missed the word yellow and heard the rest of the song, for the first time, and loved it. Though that was a very ‘I told you so’ moment for the dude, it was humbly accepted.

Anyways, every time it played, good things seemed to happen. When the Dude again left for another of his trips abroad, and I was as usual cribby, somehow the song would appear on VH1 (which would be playing only because I was surfing channels) and things would be fine. And magically this would play on most cds randomly chosen for long drives (ok, honestly I think this is because the song is on most of the mixed Cds). The song also made a special appearance on our wedding card. And was the first on the cd to be played during the reception (but which didn’t because we didn’t have an input jack to connect to a laptop or an mp3 player, so we had Himesh Reshamiya as our wedding theme, and now we are deviating). So the song has by now firmly lodged itself in the Music ∩ us space.

I came along , I wrote a song for you, oh what a thing to do
And it was called Yellow..

Yep, that be our song J  

To The Dude…

 Disclaimer: The following post is a fairly long ramble with a considerable amount of mush embedded content. Individuals allergic to any such material may kindly refrain from reading the same.              

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So, you turn an year older today. And though I know that you are not all that thrilled about that, it is a reason to celebrate. Hello, it’s your birthday. And I didn’t get you a gift after all. And you know that it’s not that I forgot to get you something. It’s because I simply cannot decide what to get you, and you are no help either. And no, suggesting that I buy you RPL shares, o simply hand over cash is not help. Thanks. So the gift is due. Let me know when you can think of something. Appropriate.

Coming back to the point, it is your birthday today, and I would rather let you know that you are in fact the kind of person who makes you actually think of phrases like ‘Oh man, things couldn’t get better than this!’. Seriously, I mean it; I wouldn’t put my credibility at stake by declaring something I was not sure about so publicly, would I? So coming to the reasons now, well there are many. I am not a very easy person to be with, and I did warn you about that before. I am moody, hyper panicky, cribby, short tempered, too emotional at times, which all adds up to, well, pretty irritating (at times, mind it). But you actually succeeded in managing that, and pretty well I must say. I am not saying you made it all disappear (oh that would need super human powers, and after all, that’s me), but you make it impossible to be that way for more than a few minutes. And all that, just by being the way you are! Now that is something big, isn’t it? Huh? More than that, I am the happiest I have ever been right now. The closest happy I can remember being is probably when I was 3 and didn’t have to care about school, or work, or anything, and was being pampered by my family. See. That’s big.

So today, all I can say is that, for being the way you are and for many other things (like when you become my snooze button for however long I want every morning before gym, and when you made me the ‘bulls-eye’ on the stove when there was a power cut and I was all bugged, and when you bought the good day biscuits because I couldn’t have any the day before, and for watching Indian Idol and supporting Amit Paul, and , ok I will stop now, it’s kinda endless, the list you know), you obviously deserve the best in life. And I am sure you will get it too (See, it already started with the Fed cutting interest rates!). Happy Birthday!