Hyderabad: the 6th Time

Hyderabad: the Sixth Time

An Aerial View
This was my 6th visit to Hyderabad. Indian Roads Congress had its 77th Annual Session scheduled in this capital city of newly carved out state of Telangana. Incidentally, both my first and last travels this year involved this city of Nawabs, pearls, biryani, and bangles. Golconda, Charminar, Salarjang museum, and Birla Planetarium are the other famous names associated with the city of Hyderabad. In January 2016 I attended the 9th World Atheist Conference at Vijayawada, spending one day and night in this city enroute and now in December another 5 nights.

While in Hyderabad I can’t miss staying with my old friend Prabhakar Swamy. We are friends for nearly 4 decades now. He is a religious person staunchly practicing Hindu and I am an atheist. So wonderful a friendship we have nurtured that this issue of faith and non-belief never cast any clouds over it. He prays for me, offers me some ‘prasdam’ and smears a big ‘tilak’ on my forehead. All this is outlandish to an atheist but I don’t object. He always gifts me something to wear. This time also I got one ‘lungi’ from him. Occasionally, I wrap it around.
Churi bazaar – the street of bangles, is a lane facing one side of the famous Charminar where you will find bangles of all types. They also call it Laad bazaar. ‘Laad’ meand pampering. Yes, you pamper your woman with colourful bangles and jewelry, of course, the Nawabi style.
The language was never a problem in Hyderabad. Hindi and Urdu are well spoken and understood. This time I noticed that the locals would start conversation in Hindi/Urdu rather than in English or Telugu. Ahmed, my driver for four days in the city, despite being a Hyderabad guy spoke no Telugu. The Nawabi / Hyderabadi Urdu is a distinct dialect and it sounds so enchanting.

In the past, some localities in old Hyderabad had been in the news for some bad reasons. People often gave in marriage their young girls to old and ‘apparently’ wealthy so called Sheikhs from the Middle East. This is a racket involving human trafficking and exploitation of women as well as pedophilia. How many of us remember a sobbing teenager named Ameena who some three decades back was deplaned at the international airport under suspicions of child trafficking though she was supposed to have been ‘legally’ married as per her religion’s diktats.

Ahmed told me that this practice in that particular area stood curbed to a large extent but traces of the social evil remained. Some unfortunate girls have to pay for the sins of their men folk who do not work and want easy life.

The IRC event was nicely managed by the PWD engineers from the young state of Telangana. The accommodation provided was very good, as was transportation.  And the sumptuousness of Hyderabadi food remains a hallmark. And the cultural shows including the graceful Kuchipudi and the high pitched Perini Tandava dance were the icing on the cake.