Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hyderabad heatstroke

I've just returned from a trip to Hyderabad over the weekend, and it was bloody hot there. When I say that I was umbilically attached to mineral water bottles throughout the trip, I am not exaggerating. It is unreasonably hot there, and I cannot for the life of me, imagine how the locals manage to carry on with the weather this bad. People were biking around in temperatures above 45 degrees, buses were packed with mid afternoon commuters, life went on as usual, with nobody even mentioning sunscreen lotion, or air conditioned naps...Suicidal. Theres no other word to describe it.

I spent most of the time in the outskirts of Hyderabad attending a wedding reception, which was good fun, and as usual the wonderful slowed-down pace of life totally rubbed off on me. I never rushed to cross a road, no hectic commuting from point A to points B,C,D, all in the same day, hardly any anxiety (except when I had to fight the urge to check email!), and blessedly both water and electricity were so abundant, that I took them for granted. I must mention the roads there though, they were brilliant. Not a single section was dug up, hardly any potholes, and traffic was at its best behavior. I even commuted standing on the back of a cargo vehicle, a Piaggio ape, which kinda reminded me of the bahubalis in Omkara. Commuting is easy in Hyderabad's interiors, 7-seaters, auto's, buses etc are ridiculously inexpensive and readily take you to your destination in exchange for less than 10 rupees. A stark contrast from the situation in Bombay, where similar distances would cost well over a 100 rupees to cover. Only now I realize the impact of urban cost of living as compared with the semi-urban and rural. If I were offered the kind of work that I am currently doing, with the kind of compensation that I am getting now, I would readily relocate to any of South India's semi-urban or rural areas. No doubt about it. If there are any cons at all, apart from the heat, it'd be the distance from my friends, and the lack of a night life. The day ends at 10:30 pm, and police patrols roam the streets after 11, making any midnight excursion for cutting chai and pav bhaji a dangerous proposition.

We did visit a few places, Ramoji Film City, and the Charminar. The heat made it impossible to even think of any further exertion. The film city is a sprawling 2000 acre establishment with guided bus tours ferrying visitors from point to point. It is beautifully maintained, and the staff there is very professional, leaving no room for complaints. Charminar was a bit of a let-down after Ramoji Film City. The film city really raises the bar for every other tourist hot spot, with its superb locale and beautiful gardens. The place is so huge that it takes visitors an entire day to experience all its sights. My favorite section was the Wild-west area, complete with a mock wild west town, stunt show (desi-Chiranjeevi type stuntmen in leathers), saloon, stables etc. Only tumbleweed was conspicuous by its absence. I even bought a cowboy hat(erm, more like a forest ranger hat), and pretended I was Clint Eastwood sans his trusty steed. My six shooter was actually a bottle of water, which was replaced with fresh chilled ammunition every so often.

We returned early Tuesday morning by the Husain Sagar express, and after a quick shower, I find myself in the office earlier than the earliest birds, dozing and pining for my vaio, which is probably missing me too. Its got vista installed on it, with a lot of bloat ware, all of which I plan on removing...just as soon as I make a recovery disk :)

PS: I didn't get to see Banjara hills, and hence did not keep my lunchtime appointment with Sania Mirza. Hopefully she and Tabu will forgive me for ditching them...it was the heat you see...


Bhavani said...

This post got me thinking about my trip to Hyderabad a few years ago.It was my most restful stay the entire trip.I fell in love with the city, its charming every helpful smiling people , the yummy food haunts and most of all what a joy to be able to travel within the city with such ease.I can't wait to make another trip there on our next visit.

sriku said...

i think hyd rocks...and you probably enjoyed your hyd stint more because of the conspicuous absence of the mami-mafia and ambi-mama's that we all love to hate :)

Bhavani said...

LOL! true .Wouldn't mind another holiday of the same kind.Also staying at the Taj Krishna didn't hurt.Aah, if only day to day life was like that fortnight I got to spend in Hyd.Waiting for the snaps of your trip.