I must admit I have a quirk of sorts – a peculiar behavioral pattern. I do not trust easily, or simply take longer than others to come to an understanding with new people and places. Hyderabad was no different. I came here two years ago, to join my new job, fresh after college. Technically considered a south-Indian city, I had heard that Hyderabad was more cosmopolitan, which like Bengaluru (Bangalore) had come to embrace cultures and people other than what can be considered native. Nonetheless, I had my reservations, about the food, the people, and perhaps the city itself. I arrived, settled down and kept complaining about certain aspects of Hyderabad till an year, perhaps even more. But then, as time passed by, I began to accept Hyderabad for what it really was, what it had to offer rather than what it was not or did not have. I think that is a learning that would help me throughout my life – to discover what a new place or a new person has inherent, before making judgement based on pre-conceived notions about the ideal. Of course, a great group of friends always helps in a new city, and I was fortunate enough to find one.
But this is not about the traditional Hyderabad – the Charminaar, the Golconda fort, the old city markets, for as strange as it may sound, I have not been to either one of these places in these two years. I have not yet seen the cultural hub of the city, but have lived the culture it has grown to imbibe – the Hyderabad of the young, the Hyderabad where people come from different parts of the country, where they stay and make their living an the places that they visit as getaways. Yes, I am talking about places like Inorbit mall, Creamstone ice-cream parlor, Prasad’s Imax, Cafe Heart Cup, Beyond Coffee etc. etc. Any young guy or gal working in Hyderabad could give you a rundown of this list. These places when visited in good company at regular intervals, are all capable of creating long-lasting memories. I have had the opportunity to experience them with the best of friends, and I am sure I will get nostalgic at some point in the future, when I am no longer in Hyderabad, when someone/something brings them up.
But, I have also have had the good fortune to experience a very different side of Hyderabad. My job forced me to stay up late on certain days, and on those days I would usually have to find an escape once finished with my work. This escape would usually come in the form of late-night drives with friends on their bikes, a visit to a late night coffee shop, an ice-cream parlor perhaps, of the famous midnight buffets if we’re that hungry. Sometimes this escape would be as simple as a late-night walk alone, with my favorite music plugged into my ears. It is on these occasions, that I got to see a completely different side of Hyderabad – a more peaceful and quieter side. No vehicles on the road, except water tankers going to-and-fro, cabs dropping off people to their homes from their late night shifts, and if you keep awake till almost the next morning – milk vans preparing for their daily delivery routine. Dogs who would chase you off if you’re on a bike or in a car, would come to play with you if you are walking alone. The late night breeze would often seduce you to it’s charms, often attracting your gaze by rustling through the trees – trees that have a different glow in the light from the night lamps. It is a rather enchanting process, that disenchants you from all your worries. It can help you sleep better. If someone were to ask me in the future as to what I would miss the most about Hyderabad the city, I would most certainly say I miss the nights.