Hyderabad Diaries

Monday, May 22, 2006

Talking matter

Brain-spark from half-a-dozen exchanges over phone, sms and chat with people as varied as you'd find in an Indian wedding at the Madison Square Garden.

Some words that helped me string this together: "structural changes", "atoms", "inner fortress", "evolution", "elevation" "crossing paths", "mentor", "priorities", "opinion". There maybe a handful more but I dont seem to continue to have the inclination to persist. No! That doesn't have to do with gas...just me on a normal day.

Okay, basics indeed:

  • They want you but they don't care much if you aint around...OH! Being a Beyonce, Gates or Beckham doesn't change it much.
  • They flash that toothy grin and plot over pulling that ground beneath your feet. If you are Angad (of the Indian mythology fame) I might want to see how you hold post.
  • Sharing notes on cricket scores, boyfriends, food and nailpaints is universal truth. But temme if you didnt shut up when it's pay-hike, job-switch, expecting a baby or inheritance.
  • It's okay to eat after a cat-fight, street-brawl or household squabble. It'll all find its exit space next morning.
  • Go on, sweat some more...don't come to me if your face is making the canvas to showcase crow's feet and other artistic brilliance.
  • Music rocks any day...wailing babies for a mobile alert is not music. Mr Reshammiya, the deal stays. We won't talk about you.
  • Red shirt is not formal clothing. If you insist on continuing, maybe you should match it with black pants, plastic horns and a trident.
  • If you are at the doors of a crowded elevator, let go! That's right, one more will not matter much...one less will.
  • Vacuuming the house or a drive to the grocer store is not physical exercise. Nope! not even eating pizza leftovers.
  • In him you may trust, but it's advisable to check if you fastened your seat-belts right and quit having 'password' for passcodes.
  • Animals only bite and we found a cure for it. Women claw, bite, cry foul and gossip. Do you still want to mess with them?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Holy Bhaang > Wholly Pooped > Holi $***

This speck has been on a ceaseless binge phase for over 5 months and counting. Each day records an indulgence unheard of till a few hours back.

Sozzled on the fateful day plus two aftermath days is by and far an understatement. The initial grip was an all pervading calm and reclined pace in everything and everybody around. Reaction time was plunge diving and eyeballs floated mid-air. It wasnt long before I experienced birth of the inner genii by the minute.

That handful cerebrum learnt to somersault in the skull. Each one somersault released laughter bubbles that frothed at the throat, gurgled in the mouth and let out bubbles that went up, up and away. This lasted for as long as I was awake. The conscious fought to be sane ( as if I am on normal days) but the daffy duck in me insisted on quacking.

Gathered my bits and pieces from all over the party host's living space and dragged 'em as far as I could. Plopped on something that felt firm but amazingly familiar...it was the bed. The sheets smelt of hunger. On saner thoughts now, I had a growing appetite to eat all I could but the knees told me to shut up and pass out. Eyeballs insisted on playing billiards but the limbs just didnt consent to be the cue.

Hallucination pursued me in close quarters and I fought to disbelieve. Woke up on a graveyard shift and gobbled food like they capture hunger in African countries. Squiggles abound as Alex saw 'em turn to steak.

Two dawns later I decided to chronicle it as a trip to Hell's flea market.

Cheap thrills aint worth the effort...much more on the 'bummer' scale though.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Home in frames

Tormenting days past, I now (since Nov 2005...mercy! I sound like the Raymonds ad) have a shelter in a 3-bed apartment in an area that's just adequately dotted n lined with people. About 10-kms far from my work place but I like it that way.

If I loved working all that much, I might just cradle in the monster arms of Cyber Gateway and save a fortune in peanuts I earn.

So, just when you feel lost in the web of classified ads I thought you should give these pics a look. My guarantee, you'd either say, "wow! cool." or "Sheesh. Come see mine..it is a studio apartment."

Enter here >>

follow me >>

ushered in >>

To the left >>

Honing culinary prowess>>

To the right >>

And, if your eyes didnt light up >>

Am home, are you?! :-)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

House Hunting - Agonies, Calosity and Somersault

Staying at home and with parents never let's you flip the coin over to know the nuances and 'How Tos' of house hunting. And, when the pleasant morning arrives for you to look for a shelter, you'll most likely realize you woke up late enough, for all the 'house for rent' ads are taken. True said minus exaggeration...if you don't grab at it, your fellow IT indweller will. I stress on it cz that's what I faced for the first week I set out looking for a rented apartment. If you rise late and shine 'later'...well, better luck next year.

All property dealers are beyond moronic comprehension. If you ask them for an apartment, they'll lead you to a pent house. Asking for an independent house will lead you to an abandoned shack of phone booth in the middle of nowhere. And their monthly earnings will constitue your house rent. Again, no exaggeration and it only gets worse if you say "Telugu raadhu" (translates to "I do not know Telugu") in a natively incomprehensible accent.

All security guards come handy...of prospective apartments and of those you live in. Befriend them, salute back, fold your hands in namaste, do an elaborate bharatanatyam vanakkam or at the least smile on your entry and exit. They'll voluntarily offer information and very useful ones at that. I do not bribe (or tip - if that's how you wish to clothe it) them. You may choose to, if you think your lips can't do the extra mile. But, do it at your own risk.

All watchmen are skilled labor...they excel in logging Zs.

Personal disclaimer: This is MY space. I speak my mind and experience. If you have a problem with it, do I look like I care? If you are still encouraged to rebel, leave me a note. :-)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Transit flat days

Oracle India Development Center (IDC)...the good samaritan that they are; allow all relocating junta to use their transit flat facility for 15-days from the relocation date. Most corporates do this aint it? To this neanderthal it sounded like once-in-a-lifetime offer. Besides, my logic denied all veteran calculations; stood aloft to chest-thump and claim: "I'll find a house in two days' time. The rest of it will be paid vacation."

Realization came way too soon, on day 1 at the lunch table in the form of concerned parents of a Pune girl.

They: Came in today?
She: Ya. Hello, I am Shivranjini. Came in today from Delhi.
They: Staying alone?
She: Oh yes Uncle.
Daughter: Hi. So, you plan to look for a house? Do you want to accompany us for the house-hunting in a while from now?
She: Er...thanks. But I was thinking I should give myself a day's settling time.
Daughter: [Bemused look] > [Excuses herself] > [Scampers to look for classifieds in all the assorted news dailies]
mother-father-daughter trio leave the dining hall.
She: [thinking] Do you think the hurry is imagined? naah!! *crunch* *munch* *slurp*

Rest of the house-hunting stunts, tips and tricks will form part of a later blog-post...possibly, right after this one.

Back to talking guest house and its ways...

The room initially allotted to me (room no:6) just wouldn't open. Either the key wasnt matching the lock or the blue-shirt boy just didnt know how to be a locksmith. Anyways, we shunned that room and I was awarded with a room twice as nice (room no:12).

The room had:
  • attached bath + loo
  • a double-bed
  • 2 bed-side tables: one with a table-lamp, the other with intercom, ash-tray and water jug
  • study table with chair
  • TV
  • air-conditioner
  • big wardrobe with in-built drawers
  • mirror and small square table to keep my 'beauty-kit' :-p
That was a lot of comfort for the brute in me. Closed the door shut and dived on the bed. It smelt of fresh-linen and strangely that of a spice I can't place. The door rattled with Ummed Singh's thumping - welcome drink arrived - milky tea. Yuck!

She: Bhaiyya! aap hindi samajhte ho? [translates to: Say, can you understand Hindi?]
U Singh: Hanji ma'am. [Yes ma'am]
She: Meri chai mein doodh bilkul kam, patti zyaada aur meethi chai honi chahiye. [My tea will have very little milk, stronger brew and it should be sweet.]
U Singh: Theek hai ma'am. [okay ma'am]
She: abhi ke liye cheeni aur chammach le aaiyega. [for now, could you get me some sugar and a spoon?]
U Singh: Ji ma'am [okay ma'am]
returns with a spoon and sugar.
She: [stirs in the sugar] [sips] aah! ab theek hai. Bhaiyya! Aap kahaan ke ho? [now tastes better. Where are you from]
U Singh: Hum Pahari hain. Garhwal se hain. [I belong to the hills. Garhwal Hills]
U Singh: Aap kahan se aaye ho ma'am? [Where are you from ma'am]
She: Dilli se. [I am from Delhi]
U Singh: Humne kaafi time dilli mein kaam kiya tha ma'am...NOIDA mein. [I worked in Delhi for quite some time ma'am. I worked in NOIDA then.]

Soon, my tea's taste was etched in the minds of the rest of the kitchen boys and I didn't have to spell out the design specs everytime I asked for tea.

In the fifteen days I stayed at the transit flat, Ummed Singh's culinary skills were a true treat to my North-Indian taste buds. Though on odd days, he'd baffle me with South-Indian veggies cooked in North-Indian gravy. His dal was the most relished and visibly so. As much as I liked it, he'd enjoy seeing me slurp bowls of it.

On lean days at the dinner table, he'd strike conversation about life back in the hills and I'd promptly volunteer more information about my rafting and hiking trips to Garhwal and Kumaon.

On my last day at the guest house (20th Nov), I left a note in the visitor's book that read: "Thanks to Ummed Singh's culinary skills, I aint thinking about going back to Delhi...at least for now. :)"

Special Note: And there was this guy who came cleaning the rooms...a N-E guy (forgot his name). He could whistle all the 90s bollywood pot-boiler tracks one after another. And without gasping for breath. Awesome!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

From Palam to Begumpet and all in between

I waited my turn at the Jet Airways check-in counter, and my mind kept invoking trailors from the past. People and places, I hold dear, zipped past in ultrasonic bubbles. There were those who stood out in the crowd of familiar masks and then there were those who ached to run back to cubby holes they were pulled out from. There were greens and browns and blues I spoke to and the furball of a darling I played with.

Buses halted, people alighted, I glided through the floor of the bus and exited through the window to stop and gape at faces I knew existed somewhere on the earth's cheek. My city-bred lungs stalled to drag a puff from the barely settling dust.

That I was traveling fews days after the serial blasts in Delhi, security was beefed up to spell trouble to all unassuming lives. I was carrying my guitar as cabin baggage and I was forced to met out explanations, open the guitar case a thosand times, hear cold threats - "Ma'am we'll be forced to offload you if the chief ground staff feels it may pose a security threat" and witness suspecting looks from all quarters.

Minutes before the scheduled flight, I waited to get into the connector coach (the domestic airport at Delhi has no aerobridge concept...nope, not as yet) that dropped me yards from the stairway to my migration jet.

I struggled to keep up with the train of murky thoughts and the resulting headache, a soul called to gently toss in a few words that said, "you are just going to Hyderabad. No need for farewell dialogues." That and I was put to rest for days to come. All the nostalgia was promptly packed and shoved into air-tight containers for future use.

First step into the plane and an excitable young lady for a stewardess inquired if I'd play some songs. On the core I was willing to growl back at anyone who'd talk about my guitar but the crust and all the 'fine young lady' ways forced a smile and offer, "it is out of tune".

After the in-flight announcements, I was soon in mid-air and gradually gaining height. Welcome drinks, breakfast, tea and hot-towels later, I was minutes away from touching down on a land I'd call my home for the next few years to come.

The plane glided and kissed the Biryani land runway at 8:40 a.m. on Nov 5th 2005.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Saddi Dilli

The initial delay was soon followed with some more and now a lot more is in the offing. My official joining date at Oracle, Hyderabad is now 7th November. I see it as Delhi wishing to see more of me. In return, I wouldnt get enough of Delhi in the years to come.

My beloved Delhi will be missed for more than obvious reasons.

The madcap facade, the crowded streets, the 'on your face' fine dust, killer blueline (buses), under-construction flyovers, forever malfuntioning autorickshaw meters, the jiggly clown @ Appu ghar, window-shopping malls, chaat-bhandaar - hamaare yahan shaadi va paalty ke aarder liye jaate hain (literally translates to: we undertake marriage and party orders), parathe walas under AIIMS flyover, elevated metro platforms, the "Holy COW!" traffic jams, the dhinchaak radio mirchi, foggy winter mornings, Page 3 people, "jugaad", Kapashera border, HCL, buffalo armies, Aggarwal Sweets (the link directs to its international presence ), GIR, World Book Fair at Pragati Maidan, Janpath, the popcorn bucket at PVR cinemas, mehndi walas, mother dairy, Som/Mangal/Budh/(never been to a Thursday bazaar...don't know if one exists)/Shukkar/Shani/Sunday (wonder why this one wasn't called 'Ravi' or 'It') bazaar, Dilli Haat, late evening queues @ CNG filling stations, shani daan on traffic intersections, Punjabi (West Delhi), Madraasi (Karol Bagh, Dashrathpuri and Munirka) and Bihari (Madhu Vihar) settlements, Mughal Garden in February, IHC for all epicurean reasons, Delhi Police-With you, for you, always - can easily qualify for stalkers.

Delhi has been home in the last two decades and a near half. Whether it was primary school I attended - St-James and DTEA R.K. Puram Sector-4, the senior secondary I dragged through- Kendriya Vidyalaya R.K. Puram Sector-2 and Tagore International, Vasant Vihar - or the college I achieved in- Kalindi College, Prasad Nagar (Delhi University), Delhi has both cradled me in her arms and flushed me through the gutters.

While dilliwalahs are dil walahs, the golden rule stays just the same: If you do not get it, demand it. If you still do not get it, SNATCH it. And this rule cuts across living standards...president (no specific reference) and pauper alike.

Delhi has taught me to live life...not survive as most migrant population does.

PS: While I tried my best to toss in as many links as possible for visitors and veterans alike, I may have missed some. You are allowed to comment and critique. :-)