Hyderabad Diaries

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.