The Battle of the Cities
"Aasmaan Se Tapka, Khajoor Ke Ped Pe Latka"
How else would explain my wonderful vacation, moving from one hothouse called Delhi to another called Hyderabad? To be fair, I never thought I was going to a hill-station or Switzerland. But a cooler Hyderabad would have been so much more fun!
Cities have their own ways of growing on you. Or of not growing, but clawing at you. Either way, you cannot ignore some cities. Hyderabad is one of them. 20 years, and our love-hate match continues.
Day 1 is always the day of the bungle before the war. I emerge from the airport, all optimistic, with brushed up Telugu skills and renewed love for the hometown. Half an hour later, on the top of the long snake-like flyover, enroute to the city, the anger begins to kick in. Conversations with drivers. That's when I realize the war is on. I speak my posh, broken Telugu, and the drivers, their rude, unbroken Telugu. At some point, I try putting up a white flag and shift to Hindi politely. To no avail, because by now, the drivers realize my knack for making stupid mistakes in Telugu and they don't want to give up their entertainment half way through. So they raise their red flags, provoking me to keep dishing out more of naive Telugu. There are rare occasions when I keep shut and act like I don't know what they are talking about, just for some fun espionage. Needless to say, it's boring.
Hyderabad - 1, Me - 0.
By Day 2, I decide to stay holed up inside the little Delhi my sister created in Hyderabad, in other words, her house. But the city has other plans. The Grandmother drags me to meet some relatives. She doesn't quite get why a 23 year old, with no plans to marry for 2 more years, wants to avoid meddlesome aunties. And I offer little or no resistance.
Hyderabad - 2, Me - 0.
Things are great inside my little Delhi. I love being able to spend time with my sister. Screw you, Hyderabad. Here, I can speak Hindi. I can listen to DK Bose and laugh. I can watch Star World. I can eat good North Indian food my sister makes.
Hyderabad - 2. Me - 1.
I visit Char Minar and Golconda. After some 12 years, I think. It was good fun, though, I don't get it, for the life of me, why those roads leading to Char Minar are so crowded on a weekday. And not one person was actually looking at the monument, except me. I even shopped for bangles, and again, I don't know why they stopped selling black metal jewellery. Instead they settle for the bright and shiny stones. I am not complaining, I got 1 pair of beautiful black metal bangles, but according to the shopkeeper's broken Hindi, it was the last in the market. Bite me.
(My rare good photography)
(This one is of the Fort.)
Hyderabad - 2. Me - 2. (Because I got the last bangle.)
In a months time, when I get back to Delhi and get busy with college life, I know I'll look back at this vacation and think about the utter laze with which I spent this one month. The joy of getting up at 10 every morning, watching unlimited tv and movies, shopping, reading, gossiping with my sister and mom. Then I'll miss Hyderabad, with all its hits and misses.
Hyderabad - Infinite. Me - Lousy 2.
I told you. Cities. They have crazy ways of growing on you.