The city reminded me of Karachi, except that Hyderabad has a lot of temples and fewer power interruptions.
Since this was my second visit, I realized that the place looks familiar and that I already knew my way home – but only after arriving at Medhipatnam, which is a mere 30 minutes drive from where our home is. “Not bad,” I thought proudly.
I looked at Masood. Poor guy. The taxi was a small car and we were four adults with 3 large suitcases. Masood still managed to give me smile, despite one of the suitcases already sitting on his lap.
It drizzled when we arrived. The city didn’t change much in a year’s time, except that there’s a huge supermarket/department store right across our home now, and several clothing stores and a couple of big bakeries have opened nearby. Oh, and the chocolate factory at the corner of the street has closed down. I was, instead, greeted by a huge “Hot Chips” sign board, which also announced: “We also sell minaral water”.
I found it a huge relief to not see any metal cranes at all. It was refreshing to not see huge glass buildings being constructed. It felt wonderful to look at the trees with their bright green leaves. I smiled when I saw old buildings and structures. I was greeted by chirping birds each morning, when the breeze is pleasantly cool. And the city smelled of ripe, sweet mangoes.
Our home becomes the hub during the summer break: imagine 15 of us, including four very active kids, living under a roof! My Mom-in-law and I had to cook 30 rotis in the morning for breakfast! I’m in-charge for making and serving tea – twice a day. The house is constantly abuzz with youngsters laughing, kids quarreling and aunties shouting at them. Masood brought Play Station games, and the kids fought more over who gets to play first. We would all sleep at 2 am, wake up for Faj’r at 5 am, then back to bed until 10 am.
Sometimes before going to bed, we would go to the terrace on the third floor and enjoy the cool evening breeze. Often times, it would drizzle. We would bring a straw mat and some throw pillows with us and spend time looking at the stars and tell stories.
Then there was this small party where close relatives were invited. Masood’s four-year-old cousin got circumcised, and we all had biryani and sweets. I decided to wear my colored contact lenses that evening. As Masood put them on me (because I don’t have previous experience in wearing them), children gathered around, oohing and aahing, until the youngest of them declared, “Your eyes look like a cat’s.”
The picture below shows one of my favorite roads in Hyderabad. Please don’t ask for the names; I had a hard time pronouncing them, let alone memorize.
One of the quieter neighborhoods in the city …
Old city …