Monday, September 29, 2008

Project OldCity!

Location: Old City, Hyderabad

Objective: Eat Haleem at Pista House, Biryani at Shadab, Click pictures of Charminar and feel the true Hyderabadi culture in its full colour.
Team: Naveen and Me
Gear: Naveen's Canon 400D SLR with 18-55mm and 55-250mm IS lens
Mode of Transport: 2 Pulsars

26 September 2008 being the last Friday of festive month of Ramzan, we thought we will hit the roads of Old City and experience its rich culture first hand. So, I wrapped up work at 6.30 PM and started to KingKoti where Naveen was waiting for me at his Boss's house. I rushed through the heavy traffic taking the best possible route with less traffic and reached KingKoti in 45 minutes.

In 30 minutes we reached Madina and I was much surprised with the little crowd. Naveen told me not to be so happy and watch out for whats going to come. And in Couple of minutes I was speechless with the sight of road ahead. It was like the shops ate the roads! 80% of the road on the both sides was occupied with the stuff from the shops behind them and push trolleys with stuff(toys, bangles, clothes and what not).

One thing you should remember when you are driving in Old City is to squeeze into every inch of space you get and the most important rule, "There are no rules". Be prepared for autos and rickshaw's coming in the opposite direction on the same side of the road, Guys driving 2 wheelers with 3 people on it is a common sight and if you are lucky enough you also get to see 4 people on a 2 wheeler.

Also, you have to forget that your vehicle has a horn attached. We can see people walking in the middle of the road as if they are walking at their home. Don't try to honk at them as they might get pissed off as you might be disturbing their bargaining regime with the vendors spread out on the road. Basically this all comes from the traditional Hyderabadi laid back attitude and I was enjoying every moment of it.

Magnificent Charminar

While Naveen and me were navigating our bikes through the little spaces being thankful that we did not come by car, we found that Naveen's bike had a flat tyre. So we left his bike at a road side shop and we clicked our way to pista house on my bike. Had delicious Haleem, a plate each and clicked few pictures of beautiful Charminar Standing tall in its full glory. Even with hundreds of Pista House extension counters all over the city including the cafeterias of our offices, eating Haleem amidst the local crowd overlooking Charminar is amazing feeling.

We went back to the place we left Naveens bike after 40 minutes and we still see that the bike is not taken care of, again the Hyderabadi cool attitude comes in. We talked the boy through, got the tube replaced(Which the boy has to go to MoghulPura and get it on his bicycle).

A Closer look

Now we were fighting our way back out of the limitless chaos and pandemonium. It took us one hour to get back to Madina and when we decided to park in front of Shadab for Biryani, we could not find a foot of place to shove in our bikes in for a kilometer on either sides of it.

By now, the tiredness took over and we decided to skip biryani and settle for Ice Cream at Famous Ice Cream(Mashoor Ice Cream, its world famous ice cream center in Hyderabad :-)) at Mohamjahi Market. So, we stopped by at Famous Ice Cream and I gulped 3 flavours(Cheeku, Seetaphal and Mango) and Naveen one and a half. Its still the cheapest and best ice cream I ever ate at Rs.10 per 2 scoops(This used to be Rs.6 when I was in school.)

By then it was 11.20 PM, I had a nice sweet pan, Naveen and I parted and I started a 35 Kilometer journey to my home. Reached home by 12 midnight, had a hot water bath and hit the bed with Classic Rock playing on my Laptop.

Note: At the end of the day one feel good factor I had was seeing people of different cultures and religions together participating with their full heart and enjoying every moment of it. Keeping up Hyderabad's well known mixed cultural diversity and the way people of all religions participate in each others festivals together. I sincerely hope this goes on forever and pray that nothing should disrupt this peace and harmony.

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