I am in Hyderabad for a short time.A favorite city of mine,rich in culture and heritage ,today it serves as the joint capital of Telengana and Andhra Pradesh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andhra_Pradesh & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telangana). Strange, I don’t seem to find that anything has changed on the surface after the tragic bifurcation.I mean, the Hyderabad I love and also lived in for about a year and a half in the late 90’s, pulses with the same warmth and spontaneity.
Much has been written about the city of Hyderabad. Its a magnet for tourists with its rich history, beautiful monuments,colorful markets and fantastic cuisine. I wonder if I will be able to add anything more to all these glorious accounts by people besotted by the grandeur and old world charm of this magnificent city as I am.
But as I was returning to my hotel after shopping like a maniac and a lovely dinner, I felt this compulsive need to write a few lines.To show you Hyderabad through my eyes 🙂
Well, I went to the Charminar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charminar )area for shopping. Not the Laad Bazaar,but little before that, a crowded street, quaintly named “Aina Galli” that has wholesale pearl dealers..There is this one shop which I patronize which has a great collection and variety of pearl and semi-precious stone jewellery.The owner is a dour looking fellow and prone to barking out staccato orders to his son who helps manage the shop.I suspect he is not much popular with anyone. He is not that courteous to his customers either, favoring them mostly with a glum stare.But surprisingly,he gives me a genuine smile ,orders a sugary tea , all the while chatting and showing me his latest collections 🙂 Well amongst the many jewelry pieces ( earrings, pendants,pearl strings,bangles etc )that I bought, I am specially enamored with the pearl and stone ”jhoomer” that I picked up. The ‘jhoomer’ is a traditional hair jewelry worn by brides and now of course not constrained to only them. It was/is more popular amongst the Muslim women . See what I bought in the pic below 🙂
Read all about the ”jhoomer” here.How it is worn these days .http://jewellery-indiaa.blogspot.in/2009/08/jhoomer-hair-jewellery.html I am just dying now to wear this 🙂
Well, I did trudge down to the ”choodi bazaar’ or ‘bangles market’ to buy an embarrassingly huge number of them 🙂 A Hyderabadi Romeo complete with kohl in his eyes and reeking of ‘itar’ ( perfume) started singing ‘Choodi nahi hai mera dil hail…’. He was completely off key and I had to restrain myself from teaching him the correct tune! I mean c’mon if you are hitting on me ,man, at least do so with some panache 🙂 But to his credit, the guy was pretty sincere in his Romeo-ness, which made me scurry to the safety of my vehicle. En-route ,I hurriedly picked up colorful ‘jootis’ too for which I should have bargained for and haggled pathetically.But couldn’t with Romeo following me 😦 Jeez, Romeo Must Die 🙂
The array of bangles in the shops.Delightful,non ?
On the way back, it was almost evening and the traffic was maddening. We stopped at the Karachi bakery to pick up the famous fruit biscuits. I have been eating them since I was a kid.My Dad would bring them for us while returning from his numerous visits to the SVP National Police Academy for training and conferences.
How can I be in Hyderabad and not put flowers in my hair ? I did that 🙂 That’s my mother’s influence on me . In the 1960’s,she studied in the Indian Institute of Science,Bangalore.And imbibed the beautiful habit of putting flowers in the hair by the South Indian women . This is a mogra ”gajra” that was pinned to my hair. I look a wee bit weird though because I am not wearing a ‘Kanjeevaram” saree, but am in distress jeans and a Che Guevara T shirt 🙂
Oh yes, I have also bought bushels of ”Hot Chips” for which all South Indian cities are famous for. These are fresh chips pf potato, banana, tapioca,jackfruit, bitter gourd,spinach etc.The guy fries them in front of you and adds masala /spices as per your taste. Jeez,they are uber super!And I trip majorly on them! Damn, why the hell is Shakira singing ‘Hips don’t Lie “? Arrgh……
I meet up with some very good friends and we go to a Chinese restaurant that holds a zillion memories for all of us .It was our favorite restaurant in 1996/97/98.The food remains truly wonderful, the ambiance kitschy & dingy ,the music horrible. Nanking, on SD Road.
Its going to be midnight soon. I am back in my hotel. Room service has sent me a very refreshing mojito and a bowl of garlic cheese flavored nuts.As I blog, a brilliant song of a brilliant movie ” Bazaar”, plays on youtube. Those of you who have seen the movie will know the connection with Hyderabad.( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bazaar_%281982_film%29 ). The lines of the song which make me break out in goose bumps is this “Bahut Arzoo Thi Gali Ki Teri So Yaas-e-Lahoo Mein Naha Kar Chale”. Listen to the haunting beauty of Mir Taqi Mir’s words, sung by Lata Mangeshkar set to the music of Khayaam.