Sunday, September 29, 2013

Parsunich ayya main....

It’s been almost 2 months since I moved back home, oddly enough I haven’t been able to get myself to call it home, haven’t been able to reconcile with the glass and concrete monstrosities that have sprung up all around. It feels nothing like the Hyderabad that I grew up in and know so well.

Even allowing for the fact, that I might be romanticising the past and needlessly glorifying my memory of the city, the drastic transformation that the city has undergone in the 6 years that I was away from it, is far too much for me to handle and surprisingly it all went unnoticed on my short visits home during this time.

I know it is naïve to hope that things don’t change or only change the way you want it to, but I’m not amused by the change of character of the city. I can deal with new structures in place of old landmarks, new roads, new avenues but my grouse is neglecting or letting go of the local flavour, the uniqueness a city has , something that sets it apart from every major city over run with big retail chains and coffee shops. My local Irani café can never be replaced by all the Starbucks of the world.

Ever since I got back home, it has been eating me up, I feel alien in my own town. This coupled with the fact that most of my friends aren’t in town anymore and the few that are, are busy with their jobs, spouses, kids and their lives in general, has led to a festering disenchantment.

It has only been compounded by my uncertain work schedule(I’ve spent more time out on the highways than I have spent on the city roads), the heavy rainfall and general lethargy has meant that I haven’t been out as often as I would like to.

Amongst all this is the Telangana issue which has now been diluted and reduced to merely a question of safeguarding investments in Hyderabad and the real estate market. As if the city means nothing more than bags of money to the warring parties.

I’ve turned into a grumpy old fart.

All this until, I watched The Lunchbox a few days earlier. Two lines from the movie have stayed with me.
First, Irfann’s character, Saajan Fernandes shares how he treated himself to an auto-ride and finds that quite a lot has changed, his school, his hangouts are no longer where they used to be, yet quite a lot hasn’t changed.

I know it’s only a work of fiction, but if a character nearing retirement can come to terms with change, then why am I being so difficult?

The second line, from the same character  is more universal; He says, “ Sometimes we forget, when we have no one to talk to”.

So here I am, sharing my thoughts and my memories of the city, expect a few more posts on the city in the days to come.

As soon as I was more open to the new Hyderabad, something interesting happened. Bholakpur.

Bholakpur is a few a hundred meters from my place, it’s literally across the road from my colony. I don’t recollect ever stepping in to that area in my lifetime.

Bholkapur was home to a large tanning industry, to plastic and scrap recycling industries. The stench  from the tanneries was a good enough reason for a kid to avoid going there and if I am not wrong there was a great fire when I was about 6 or 7. The tanneries have long since been shut down, though it still is home to a large recycling industry. Maybe it was the fear of the fire or may be it was because I assumed it was a slum, but I never even looked in it’s direction in all these years.

On a whim, I decided to take a walk through Bholakpur  and I am glad that I did. I wish I had been there much earlier.

Before you think I discovered a hidden gem, let me tell you that I didn’t. Bholakpur is virtually a ghetto and has all the associated problems. But let’s discuss that some other time. What intrigued me was the subculture that exists there, brightly lit store fronts, shops that remain open much later than other areas in the city, it even has a chor-bazaar, the ‘Bangladesh market’.  More importantly from a foodie perspective, lot of restaurants, some eateries here even serve beef :D, I’m so glad that I can practically walk down to a good meal and I don’t need to go to a fancy place when I have a beef craving.

I realised that I may now have to redefine my relation with the city, re-acquaint myself with it, look at it in a new light as one might an old friend or an old flame even.

To my old friends, whenever you come down, lets adda maro, do the chai, sutta, beer, biryani routine, revisit some of the places that we grew up in.

To my new friends, my friends from out of town, do visit me, let me show you around,give me another reason to walk around my city.

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