Hyderabadiz 2.0. Ka Adab Arz Hai

Welcome: This blog is about Hyderabad culture, land and people, "with a whole spectrum of experiences of Khatta (sour), Meetha (sweet), Pheeka (unsalted), Teekha (off), Khara (spicy), Kadva (bitter) brim with caring and lots of loving." as phrased by Mike Ghouse, a hyderabadi damad.

hyderabadi dholak ke geet by arjumand nazeer

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Friday, September 28, 2007

The Hyderabadi diaspora!

They're all over the place now. Yes, dear ole Hyderbadiz. Everywhere in the world. Across continents, countries, prairies, deserts, great lakes, green forests, islands. Everywhere. The Hyderabadi diaspora continues to expand just as the city stretches from Shamshabad to Bhongir today. A long way from where it started. But, as we here never tire of reminding the rest of the world and ourselves--once a Hyderabadi, always a Hyderabadi. So, they keep coming back to find old haunts gone, buildings pulled down and turned into malls and multiplexes, homes razed and converted into three-hundred and fifty flats on five hundred yards and being sold at 5000 a sq foot. Well, well, times-they are achanging. And if you're a Hyderabadi young and rearing to go that's what you would do too--flap your wings and get set to fly.....

Thursday, September 27, 2007

countdown of another kind

The alarm bells are going off. The Deccan Chronicle reported today that Microsoft sounded it to the state government to get its act together (translated into plain words) on the security and traffic fronts. This is seen as an example of a rising sense of insecurity and unease in corporate houses on Hyderabad. The report has it that Bangalore is now the preferred destination--not that it's any better, in terms of traffic, but it's probably seen as a safer place these days.
As for us Hyderabadiz, we're back to chewing our nails and scratching our heads. And if you ask someone from the State government--he'll tell you things were never better. Sure. Speak for yourself, mate.
To end on a positive note--the bazaars are crowded, Charminar is all lit up and Haleem is giving everything else a run for its money.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hyderabad breathes easy!

Hyderabad to bid adieu to Ganesh, by T S Sudhir @ NDTV
Yes, the Ganesh immersion passed off peacefully and Hyderabad breathes easy again. Yesterday, people were off the streets, traffic was the thinnest ever in the whole year and the police were busy policing. But give them due credit. Our policemen did a great job--keeping a 'virtual' eye on the massive procession and monitoring it at every point. tv channels covered the procession 'live' late into the night and that was that. Finally, all's well that ends well. The T-20 victory cast its joyous shadow on the procession, according to this morning's newspapers. The processionists had an extra reason to celebrate and a good many of them celebrated the T-20 victory with gusto.
And so, after taking a day off, we get right back into our daily lives : buses, bikes, cars, autos, pan-shops, multiplexes, restaurants, wine-shops and all.....

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hyderabad in the 60s

Back then in the early 60s, there was just one (upmarket) shopping area--Abids. Secunderabad's M.G. Road was a distant cousin, less frequented by Hyderabadiz. The Old City bazaars were very much there, mainly for bangles and pearls.
A dozen double-deckers plied merrily along on a couple of routes. There was hardly any traffic worth the name--buses, bicycles, a few two-wheelers and the odd car or jeep. We didn't know the word 'pollution' existed or what it meant. In contrast, a 5 year-old will enlighten you on the causes and effects of pollution.
Back then, Osmania Hospital took care of Hyderabad's health concerns and Gandhi of Secunderabad. There was Niloufer Hospital (where I was born in the year of grace, 1957) for kids.
It was a small contented, laid-back city, with the remains of its past Nawabi era very much in place--the Bashir Bagh palace was very much there, but was gone soon! The Begumpet Palace 'Aiwaan-e-Begumpet' was intact, as were the other palaces and larger houses. The slums of the city, inevitably, were just getting established and middle-class colonies were sprouting here and there. There was nothing of the real-estate frenzy now driving Hyderabad.
In January and up until the tenth of Feb. you had the All India Industrial Exhibition, as the prime source of entertainment. The rest of the time, the movies took over. One waited with bated breath for Wednesday nights and for Binaca Geetmala on Radio Ceylon. Cinema Posters occupied the place that hoardings do, and NTR's and ANR's fan clubs tried overdo each other--in endless bouts of tit for tat each would plaster the other's idol, just before the release of a new movie with dung-cakes!
Good times they were, when one could drink Gandipet's water and importantly, it was sufficient for the city's needs. This was the time when we forgot to plan for the future and the amnesia continues after nearly half a century! Good luck!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Hyderabad--another nightmare metropolis

It's turning out to be another nightmare metropolis, thanks to its most chaotic roads. Hyderabad is hardly destination tomorrow anymore. It's a get out of there today if you can sort of place.
Added to everything else, the city's under the grip of conjunctivitis right now, making life even more miserable for Hyderabadiz. And it shows no signs of abatement. The 'pink eye' is all over the place.
Equally pervasive is the presence of securitymen everywhere, because of Ramadan. The cops don't want to be caught unawares and intensive security is in place. Now you would expect citizens to be thankful to the police for this elaborate security cover. Yes, many of us cross our hearts and thank them for it. But then there are these habitual cribbers who grumble about too much 'security'. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Public places--parks, museums, malls and multiplexes aren't attracting the crowds they used to, till very recently. Let's only hope that the Ganesh immersion passes off peacefully.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Will Hyderabad ever get past square one?

That's the big question. officialdom, being officaldom will tell you that Hyderabad is the most happening city (without defining 'happening'), that it's ready to take on Singapore and Shanghai--after a peg ot two, an official might even tell you that it's already giving Shanghai a run for its money! A businessman told us an anecdote about a meeting with some officials in which some NRIs, interested in investing in a new project here, had also participated. One NRI asked this official how the traffic mess would ever get resolved, because no plan seems to be in place. He glibly replied that the ring road would soon take care of all the traffic problems and for effect, added that 'self-sufficient' satellite townships were going to come up all around soon. Now isn't that a perfectly 'Alice in Wonderland' situation!

This is much like a play that was staged at a city hotel recently where Shah Jahan calls for tenders to build the Taj, assigns the work to his Chief Engineer, who passes it on contractors with hefty cuts of the pie distributed all over the place. The Taj doesn't get built and Shah Jahan dies after an endless wait. We, Hyderabadis, are a bunch of Shah Jahans who will never see our Taj Mahals (in our case, good roads, accountable governance and a responsive administration), cynical as it may sound. As the great Meer Taqui 'Meer' said nearly 200 years ago:
jab se jahaN hai tab se Kharaabi yahi hai 'meer'
tum dekh kar zamaane ko Hairaan kya rahe
(This world has always been a rotten place ai 'meer'
why are you astonished to see it so?)

see also:

  • Travails for the Taj
    Marathi play ‘Tender taj mahalache’ was a depiction of corruption in society

    Rangadhara theatre stream presented their 94th play in Hyderabad , with a Marathi play titled Tender Taj mahalache, an adaptation of the original Hindi play Tajmahal Ka Tender, written by Ajay Shukla. The show wa s held recently at the Maharashtra mandal auditorium, Ramkote, Hyderabad.

    The play in Marathi was translated by Bhaskar Kulkarni, who also co directed the play along with Prof. Bhaskar Shewalker.

  • 'Prince' from Hyderabad claims Taj

  • Sunday, September 16, 2007

    Hyderabadiz--the best thing about Hyderabad!

    Hindus and Muslims hold a
    prayer meet in blast-hit Hyderabad

    Yes, all credit to the people. In spite of what happened at Mecca Masjid in May and at Gokul Chaat and Lumbini Park a few days ago, the city's cosmopolitan character has remained intact. Never mind cynical sms messages--they're meant to be funny, of course--that tell you to try and stay alive after visiting Mecca Masjid and Lumbini Park, eating at Gokul Chaat and going under or past the Panjagutta flyover. Never mind what the government tells you--if you want to sample some nuggets, here they are (please don't laugh): "Our police is doing the best it can to fight terrorism." Or, "In two years there won't be a homeless person in Andhra Pradesh."
    The citizenry remained composed and mature through these trying times.

    As those who celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi yesterday digest their payasam, udumulu and vada, among other things, on the one side, the ubiquitous bhatti (furnace) in which haleem is stewed is burning as fiercely as ever, all over the city. That's as good an example as any. Pista House announced the other day that it's tied up with Gati to deliver its lip-smacking haleem anywhere in the world in 48 hours. Perhaps, it's worth a try wherever you are--if you aren't a veggie, that is. Doff your hat to the citizens of this city.

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    HyderaBAD to worse

    Don't read this morning's newspapers--all of them of them are full of the woes of being a HyderaBADi. Bad traffic, bad planning, bad governance and of course, bad excuses to cover them up.
    Moving on to other things, the month of Ramadan will begin on Friday and for a month all roads leading to Charminar will be buzzing with activity, teeming with shoppers, mosques and shops lit up all over the old city in particular, while movement of traffic on our streets will remain as chaotic as ever, or even get a trifle more crowded at times.
    Saturday's Ganesh Chaturthi is another major festival that is round the corner.
    All that Hyderabadiz now hope is that the two--the ten-day festivities of Ganesh Chaturthi leading up to the 'visarjan' or immersion, and the month of praying and fasting, end peacefully.
    Yes, getting home will still be a problem--the bikes, cars, buses and autos will take forever to move, but c'est la vie, if you're talking about Hyderabad, especially!
    Ramadan mubarak and happy Ganesh Chaturthi to Hyderabadiz.

    Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    GHMC--An Alice in Hyderabad's Wonderland

    Hyderabad is suddenly being seen as the city of disasters by some of our prophets of doom. Yes, there have been tragic bomb blasts at Mecca Masjid on May 18 and at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chaat, three months later. Both the Mecca Masjid blast and the Lumbini Park blast could possibly have been averted with some vigilance, screening and precautionary measures. But, as always, we seem to be growing wise after the event. Public places now are more sensitive to security, which is a good thing.

    The other tragedy that shook us up was the collapse of a section of the flyover near Panjagutta for which there are simply no excuses. The contractor, the consultant, GHMC and all the other government agencies are equally responsible for the death of Ankit Aurora, young techie whose life has been rudely cut short, and that of Ramu, a supporter of a politician, from Armoor. Disaster management is an expression our officials have not heard of. There is no nodal disaster management agency it appears, equipped with gas cutters and other emergency relief equipment. Of course, the officials were there to give sound 'bites' to tv cameras, sounding more like politicians than men on the job responsible for both the disaster and its relief operations. How else can one explain their irresponsibility in blaming 'the unprecended rain' for the flyover collapse? It rained for an hour dammit--I live about a mile away from the blessed flyover: I should know. Of course, a 'wizened' GHMC Commissioner clarified the next day that by 'unprecedented' rain was meant 'the quantum of rain in an hour, a single hour, that is.' Oh really! Give us a break Mr. Sarma! Like millions of other Hyderabadiz I was born in this city and have lived here all my life and have seen enough of 'unprecedented rain'. The GHMC and everybody else told the citizens of Hyderabad that this flyover and others being built along with this elsewhere in the city, were 'quake-proof' and 'terror-proof'. They're telling us now that they aren't even 'shower-proof'! GHMC is the new Alice in Hyderabad's Wonderland. Welcome to 'Greater' Hyderabad!

    Monday, September 10, 2007

    Hyd flyover collapse: 30 feared killed

  • Murder or Suicide?
    After the bombs in Hyderabad, we all might have talked about the fear of terrorist attacks and unsafe home one more time. This was followed by the collapse of an under-construction flyover due to heavy rains. continue reading
    Digging by Water Board led to collapse of scaffolding?
    SAFETY CONCERNS: The spans of the Punjagutta flyover under construction that collapsed on Sunday after heavy rain. continue reading

    Hyderabad Flyover Collapse Slide show

  • Monday, September 3, 2007

    Accountability and governance

    What is perhaps most striking in Hyderabad over the last few years, is the utter apathy of officialdom and the complete absence of accountability. Be it the bomb blasts, day to day civic problems or any form of interaction with the bureaucracy, this indifference, smugness and complacency, is all too obvious. The impact of this on the life of the city is evident--chaos passes for order and one doesn't require the IQ of an Edison or Einstein to see this. From a much sought-after destination and happening city some years ago, Hyderabad is fast losing its pre-eminence. If some semblance of governance is not restored soon, we'll slip back to the anarchic past in fast track.