I recently visited Hyderabad (no, not Bhagyanagar) for work, the city where I spent a formidable part of my life. I have a two-generation connection with Hyderabad, since this is where my father and my uncle started their working lives. As did I ,post -MHA.My Mom and Dad started their married life here, and so did I.
I have been coming here since 1995, and I remember that in my childhood, my father used to take bags of Potol , i.e.Parwal (vegetable popular in Bengal but not available much in Hyderabad back then) for my uncle, and bring back grapes (well cultivated in the Deccan) for us whenever he visited for work or personal reasons. Oh my, did I look forward eagerly to those grapes !!!!
The city has grown a lot since then, but still retains its warmth and the old world charm, the essentially Deccani decency of the Qutb Shahis and the Nizams. Added to that is the contribution of people from all across India (actually, world) who have settled here, be they from Seemandhra, Maharashtra,Bengal or other places. Hyderabad is truly cosmopolitan, and Andhra Pradesh to Telangana has been a relatively smooth transition.
I found the city charming as ever, though it is evolving every day. Hyderabad remains Maanaa Hyderabad (“My Hyderabad” in Telugu).
Lots of memories about this place, where I studied, worked, enjoyed and loved. Let the poem speak of my feelings for this city:
Ode to a city maiden
“What are these feelings that leave my eyes moist
Every time I leave you?
This tingling of the nerves, muted breath
And throwback to a different time?
It was not quite long back that I saw you
For the first time- only 24 years to be precise;
It took only but a few days to love
Your multilayered hues.
Hyderabad, what shall I call you
When people are trying to rename you Bhagyanagar?
You turned my Bhagya (Luck) around for sure.
Can I just call you Maanaa Hyderabad?
I left you many years back,
More than a decade in fact,
Tears welling in my eyes;
Shall I consider the tears that roll today
As descendants to those?
Your pearls, your minarets,
Your clarion call to the faithful,
Your Irani cafes, your cuisine;
You even made me break my frugal diet this time,
By falling for your succulent Biriyani.
I have loved you,
And many others within your precincts,
I have seen, heard, touched, smelt and felt you;
The saline breeze of Hussain Sagar
Still fresh on my skin .
Your rocks, your lakes,
Your ornate buildings,
Charminar and Golconda,
The city of the Nizams and Qutb Shahis,
Your charm of a world
Where everything is slow.
“Hallu hallu chal”(go slow),
That’s what they said.
And today, the gleaming shops, hotels,
And towering workplaces,
The airport which still looks new,
Where the security persons care to
Joke with the passengers;
Just like the frivolous banter
At numerous roadside chai stalls.
But I do remember Secunderabad junction,
The neat railway station
Where I had landed many moons ago.
Different milieu, different life today,
Life moves on, and events fade out,
People become enmeshed in the daily run,
But I still love you dearly;
Ever-growing yet generously warm edifice of a city,
Which will always be home,
Because home is where the heart resides.