An Ordinary Day in Hyderabad: written a couple of weeks back

The dust and the heat assault me as I walk out of the gates. My top floor apartment, exposed to the relentless rays of the sun, is not cool, but at least I could shut the windows on the dust and grime. There is construction everywhere; in spite of the economic downturn, the frenetic activity of building high-rises is still going on unabated in this part of Hyderabad city. Along-with the buildings come the by-products – little shanty dwellings for the workers, small road-side hand-carts with food that seemed to appeal to all classes (here a software engineer from a recently-disgraced software firm is rubbing shoulders with a tired-looking auto-rickshaw driver), roads crawling with vehicles from the bike of the young IT worker to the opulent Mercedes belonging to the NRI couple who have just come back to India. To “check it out and see if we can adjust to the life here”. The main road is a mess, even at midday, with buses, two-wheelers, autos and cars all jostling for space on the single-lane road. This all-important artery connects the pulsing heart of Cyberabad, with its gleaming offices belonging to IT companies, to the older Hyderabad – one that existed before the “IT boom” happened to the city. Everyday, morning and night (the working “day” starts at night for the call center employees), people head towards their offices on this road, pushing their way through the rest of the crowd, and every evening, they head back, this time pushing their way back home. A lot of aggression on the road, a lot of honking and cursing happens at this time. Drivers of bigger vehicles muscle their way through the traffic, throwing the smaller vehicles helter skelter. Pedestrians cross the road, some with their heart in their mouths, some with the nonchalance of one who has to do this everyday. I am the heart-in-the-mouth type. I haven’t been doing this enough to get used to it. Yet. I reach the parlor – it is on the second floor of a building that also houses a software company, and what looks like a real estate company. Lots of shoes and sandals outside the door to the beauty parlor – it looks like a long wait. Inside the parlor, as I wait, I am privy to a conversation between two girls. Both look like professional women, starting their weekend early ( it’s a Friday afternoon). They are discussing marriage. The girl in the red T-shirt with colored hair is pouring her heart out to the older ( and married?) girl – I listen in too, and want to join the conversation. Just to tell her that she should get married to the guy, he seems nice. Mind your own business, I tell myself. I have some business at the bank. I (mistakenly) go to the NRI wealth management services section of the bank, where I am told that I need to have net assets of a crore to be eligible for the wealth management services. Ha ha. People are rich here, at least by my standards, I thought. I go over to the section of the bank where mere mortals like me who do not have a crore of rupees to manage go to conduct business. This section is busy – people sitting and filling out forms, or at the counter, taking care of their business. I too finish mine, assisted by not one, not two, but three ICICI executives. Either these people are really helpful, or they want to look busy so that they don’t lose their jobs. On my way back home, I buy some slices of watermelon. The seller hands me four slices of luscious red watermelon – there are remedies for the dust and heat, after all – N seems to think so too.

N gnawing on a slice of watermelon
N gnawing on a slice of watermelon
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One thought on “An Ordinary Day in Hyderabad: written a couple of weeks back

  1. lostonthestreet March 13, 2009 / 5:38 am

    Yeah now she is looking like me

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