After friends and family of course 😉
I have been thinking of writing about this for the past two months and have been writing it for a month now. Three months back, I made a pretty much last minute planned visit to Hyderabad to catch up with friends and family (yes, family). Gujaratis are omnipresent. I have always been fortunate enough to find relatives, friends, friends of relatives or relatives of friends, almost everywhere I have been – Gurgaon, London, Paris, Hyderabad, Texas and so on. Talking about Hyderabad, having someone from family also, probably, played a big role in getting me comfortable in the Nizam city.
It is, arguably, the best city to live in South India. For travelers and foodies (especially the non-veggies), it is definitely a “must visit” city in India. But, even for those looking to settle down in a city with modern lifestyle, wonderful weather, all basic amenities and healthy cost of living – your search ends at Hyderabad. And all this doesn’t come at the cost of professional growth. When I look back at my 33 months in Hyderabad, some things just get stamped on my mind.
For somebody who has lived in extreme climates of Ahmedabad and then, for some period of time in Gurgaon, the Hyderabad weather is just heaven. Moderate winters, good rains and bearably hot summers – there aren’t many places in India with this kind of weather. Take a walk or a bike ride along Jubilee Hills or Durgam Cheruvu Lake during monsoons and you would forget the rest of the world. Summers are not as dry as it is in Delhi, Ahmedabad or as sweaty as it is in Mumbai.
When you’re in Hyderabad, be ready to hear “aa” added to almost every single noun. Bussa (bus), waiteraa (waiter), logaa (people), officaa (office), picturaa (movie), kaamaa (work) and the list goes on…. And lots of “re” too…. “Arey tu kya to bhi samja re mere ku?”, “aise kaise hota re”, “tu jaa re” and the same. Invariably, every statement in Hyderabadi Hindi ends up sounding like a question. Perhaps you would remember the Boman Irani flick “Well Done Abba” and the peculiar Hindi the movie characters spoke. And you haven’t lived life fully if you haven’t watched “The Angrez” 😉
One thing Hyderabad is known for is the classic Paradise Chicken Biryani. For eggies like me, I had to settle down with Egg or a Veg Biryani (which, essentially, is a Pulav :P). It was quite ironic for me that for all the time I spent in Hyderabad, it was only once that I had Paradise Biryani. Over the years, Paradise has been losing out on its vintage as the best Biryani in Hyderabad. On the same lines, Four Seasons Biryani much better than any other place I have had (talking about egg biryani and can safely be extrapolated to Chicken Biryanis as well).
Hyderabadi Chai Process
If you’re in Hyderabad and looking for a road side tea stall, be ready to see something unique. While Hyderabad is famous for Irani chai, the process of normal chai is very peculiar. While normally we have chaiwalas prepare the entire tea in a large vessel, in Hyderabad, you will see a separate vessel for milk and another one for tea (tea leaves and water). When you ask for tea, they will take milk in the glass, put tea and then sugar separately and then they mix with the help of another glass. Haven’t seen this so far in any other city I have visited so far.
With relatives in near Begumpet, I used to travel to their place almost every alternate weekend. From Kondapur, I normally took bus #10H that took me to the destination. After learning about MMTS, I thought to take MMTS for a change. I went to the ticket window at railway station and asked for a ticket, giving him 50 bucks. He asked for a change of Rs.2. Assuming it would be Rs.12 or 22 ticket, I handed him 2 rupees change. To my surprise, the guy gave me back the 50 rupees bank note. Not many people use it but in case your route allows, MMTS is the best modes of transport in the city as it is incredibly cheap and obviously faster than bus or auto.
While house hunting in Hyderabad, almost every second building we saw was “ Residency”. Housing in Hyderabad is one of the best I have seen in the country with well-designed and extremely spacious apartments. Most of them having a separate pooja-room as well, which I think would be across South India. For Mumbaikars, they have balconies 😉 :D. Also, enough parking to accommodate vehicles for the people living in the building. Just that the builders in Hyderabad have some intrinsic proclivity for the word “Residency” while naming their buildings. So, if you are planning to purchase a flat in Hyderabad, expect the word “Residency” in your address.
Hyderabad has one of the best customer service levels across the country – be it traveling, electronics or phone services. This is very important when you are considering settling down in a city. Something which I had been missing a lot ever since I moved to Mumbai, city with one of the most pathetic customer service levels in the country – be it house hunting, RTO processes, cell phone services, electronics stores or bus services. One of the worst customer services experience for me has been with Vijay Sales, Goregaon, for which I almost reached consumer court.
Hyderabad Traffic Police is one of the most advanced traffic police in the country. Besides being highly technologically advanced, the traffic police have a good team to manage traffic in the fast growing city. Advanced signaling system, digitized traffic violation records, handhelds to the on-field staff, easy and people friendly administrative process are some of the key features of Hyderabad Traffic Police. I had the privilege to cover Hyderabad Traffic Police in my first published article (Hyderabad Traffic Police: Endeavor for Better Traffic System to Ensure Greater Public Safety). I can only substantiate this more with my own experience – the ease with which I got my bike transferred from Andhra to Maharashtra.
During my last one year of stay, we moved to Miyapur where we got a great deal on a large 3BHK duplex independent house, just for 10K rent (including maintenance) and the cherry on the top was Talkie Town theatre which was just about a kilometer from the house. In the era of multiplexes, we had this opportunity of experiencing single screen theater. Tickets – just about 50 bucks. Crowd – full tapori chillam chilli types. Not a single show where hero’s AND heroine’s entry hasn’t been greeted with whistles and hooting. It was a theatre where I couldn’t hear a single word during the song “Munni Badnaam”, for obvious reasons. After coming to Mumbai, in the first few months, I couldn’t come to terms with Maya Sarabhai like junta of “Bombay”. Definitely, one thing, that I miss big time ever since I moved from Hyderabad.
Barista, Chocolate Room and F-lounge
If it wasn’t for friends, Hyderabad would have been a nightmare for me. I was blessed with some amazing group of friends who made my stay in Hyderabad – a “primetime” of my life. Barista and Chocolate Room was “the adda” for all those discussions on “everything under the sun”. F-lounge, right opposite Barista, has one of the best ambiances I have seen in any restaurant till date. It was host to some amazing parties we had. Hopefully, they still make the same “out of the world” pasta.
If there is any place in India, I would ideally like to settle down in – it would be Hyderabad. Unfortunately, the geographic distance to Ahmedabad, my home town, compelled me to move to Maximum City – which is now getting me addicted to it.