Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cyberabadu, I am comingu

Jusht I hawe gaan for the Pearl city losht week. The dusty streets outside the airport that my taxi was crawling through made me wonder if anything had changed about it at all. I looked out of the window and saw the same dry rocky Hyderabadi landscapes, the same tumbledown buildings and the same people named NTRBSKV Maruthi Krishna Prasad that I remembered from my last trip many years ago.

I asked the taxi driver where the new face was Hyderabad was, and he very politely told me to shut up and wait. The crawling traffic was because of a flyover that would completely bypass most of Begumpet. As soon as we crossed the construction zone, my jaw dropped as I saw a huge field of petunias in the middle of a monstrous traffic island. Before I could react to it, we sailed down beautiful broad tree-lined roads with similar gargantuan traffic islands all the way. The sides had manicured lawns with buxom concrete maidens perpetually emptying their pots into gurgling ponds. Several multiplexes, restaurants and gorgeous roads later, I reached Banjara Hills, where my friends asked me anxiously if the traffic in Hyderabad was too stressful. I answered them with a half-awestruck, half-jealousy-crazed gurgle.

The 25 km trip from the center of town to Hi-tech city the next day was on similarly desi-ghee'ed roads. I dont think a teleporter could have gotten me across faster.The road dividers went completely crazy after a point, and housed dense artifically cultivated woods and japanese gardens. Huge flyover projects all along the way vied with each other for modernity. In fact one of them was going to be so modern that if you uttered the magic words "Jamakku thaa, Kasakku rro" into a mike at the top, robotic arms would swiftly pluck you off the flyover and place you on a vast mobile lawn where you could dance telugu duets with other commuters on your way to work.

And where do these splendid roads lead? Not really anywhere in particular. High Tech City (Cyberabad) at the end of the beautiful road turned out to be about 1/10th the size of e-city. Here is a shining example of a city that has geared up its infrastructure and is now rubbing its hands in glee waiting for business to pour in.

I was whisked off to the lake's edge by my lovely friends one evening for fun times and food. A huuuuuge food court on one side run by B.B.H.S.K. Rajasekhar Reddy and friends stretched out as far as eye could see, with tables all along the lake's edge. Spic and span, span and spic. Uff what a lovely. The pesarattu was ghastly but the view more than compensated! In the centre of the lake, a rather pointless looking Budhdha glowed yellowly at us while traffic buzzed about cheerfully on Necklace Road on the other side. Jushttu too beautiful I say. Chandrababu, pls come to Bengalooru. I'll even let you rename Cox Town V.V.S.B.S.U.M. Shastry Nagar if you wantu.

Hyderabadis have names 3 times longer than Bangaloreans and a third of their attitude. It's half as crowded and twice as efficient. Rents are low and the people laid back and courteous. Even auto drivers apologize for hours in charming Deccani Urdu about not having 1 rupee change. Commuting is a cinch, and the biriyani is, well, oily. The weather is slightly sad, the nightlife isn't spectacular and the Hyderabadi crowd is perhaps a little more mainstream-Indian than Bangalore's. But aside from that, why on earth isn't everybody moving to Hyderabad? Jusht I yam not undershtanding only.


RustyNeurons said...

ROFL!! Ummm.. I am tempted to shift base now.. I have become slightly 'un'fond of our bengalooru now, thanks to ghastly traffic, expenses, housing/water issues and general 'population'. And as far as I am concerned, two years of stay in chennai has prepared me to brave any kind of weather!

Sriram said...

Am Glad,U now know why Hyderabadi's crib so much when they initially move here.

It really is not a great city or any anything, but it is well managed. No power cuts, Clean roads, courteous people...end of it all...the "BIG VILLAGE" charm.

But for getting around, BLR isnt bad either, the weather here is GREAT, the food...actually very healthily cooked, less spice more veggies is something I LOVE!

The people are very laid back and chilled out, yeah this sometimes gets to my nerves. They are actually too feakkin laid back at times to even complain when things are bad.

Over all, Given a choice, In India, I would choose between either of these cities to live in.


P.S. May be u should post a pic or 2 too

Bikerdude said...

I found your "big village" comment interesting Sriram. I've always noticed that cities that have been around for centuries - like Hyderabad and Delhi for example, are invarably refered to as big villages. Whereas the only cities that people will agree to call towns are colonial capitals like Bombay, Calcutta, Chennai and perhaps Bangalore.

Strange how a completely Indian city is always called a village. Perhaps there really is no clearly defined boundary between a village and a city in an Indian context.

Will work on the pics. if you can point me to a pic of those beautiful petunias at the Imax (Prasad's) theatre circle, Id be really grateful.

Meenakshi said...

Your description of Hyderabad reminded me of some North American cities and their suburbs - identical and well-maintained (Not NYC). Tell me, we are all cribbing about changes in B'lore but in some way is it able to retain some of its past more easily? A bit like European cities - your colonial past remark is on the same lines.

Bikerdude said...

Well Hyd isnt exactly neat and organized or anything. It's just that these beautiful roads have been gouged out of the urban sprawl quite ruthlessly. The rest of Hyderabad is basically just the same.

Im not sure if Bangalore is any better or worse at keeping its past alive. But I definitely believe that Bangalore's old world savoir-faire is what makes the city even remotely liveable in, even today.

mike said...

Well, Hyd did have a lot of rocky non-agricultural space around to expand into...

... and Bengaluru will get desi-gheed once metro, inner ring road, peripheral ring road, JNNURM sponsored drain redesign, BMIC, 15 flyovers and all are done.. Just have to be patient..

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