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Tag: Hyderabad (Page 1 of 2)

The curious case of the missing chaat-corner

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As I was savoring the pav-bhaji at a lone table in the cafeteria, my mind spiraled back to a curious case of a chaat corner which I experienced with a friend a couple of years back. I was in Hyderabad at that time with a dwindling company as many of my friends were moving out of the city due to the much desired transfers to their preferred locations. Suddenly a beacon of hope came in the form of a friend G who moved to the city for her job. In due course, after all the reminiscing of all college days and experimenting with the PG food, making up with Maggi and scrambled eggs, we set out to explore the food joints in and around our place. We both were chaat lovers and we soon found a chaat corner to haunt by sheer coincidence.

It was not a make-shift chaat corner. It was a sturdy bakery type shop which served mostly chaat items along with some baked goodies. We ignored the bakery items and hogged the chaats to our heart’s content. It became a regular habit to walk down happily chit-chatting about our jobs, bitching about our bosses, our legs would automatically lead us to this much favorited corner and we would often order the delicious pav-bhaji which seemed to be the best out of the lot. The pav would be so soft and buttered while hot, the bhaji would be the tangy, orange, piping hot mix with freshly cut onions and a large piece of lemon. We loved mixing the onions and lemon just before we ate and the plates would always be wiped clean. Ahh.. to think of it makes my mouth water now.

Anyway, one fine evening we decided that dinner at PG was not an option and hence the famous walk down to the chaat corner started. We had already framed our order in our mind, deciding one pav-bhaji each and then any chaat of our choice if we are still hungry. We walked and walked and were astounded to find that we had come a few blocks ahead of our corner by the looks of it. So we thought we had unusually missed it as we were engrossed in the talk of our days. We traced our steps back but again ended up in being a few blocks ahead of it. We stopped talking and with the seriousness of a grumbling stomach, a tempted mind and a watering mouth, we searched for the place which will quench all these in a few minutes. Back and forth we went, but couldn’t find our beloved haunt.

We tried digesting the bitter fact that it might have been shut down and with a heavy heart started trying to sight the building to make sure. But to our dismay, we couldn’t find that spot which the shop occupied.The cotton bazaar next to the shop stood as such and the Archies store stood as a rock on the other side. In between, there was nothing. Not even a building. It was not a mobile shop in any way and hence the building has to be there. But no, it wasn’t. Day after day, we searched for the shop or any sign of the building that hosted it. My friend moved out of the city switching jobs again, leaving me alone to look for our lost place. Whenever I passed that way, my eyes would search for that shop which filled our grumbling stomachs many a day and brought a smile on our faces. I have never tasted a pav-bhaji as delicious ever since. If ever I come across a decent dish of chaat, I sigh in memory of that missing chaat corner that vanished from our lives as suddenly and as silently as it came.

Until later 🙂

Memories from Madhapur || Food, Language and People

Hey people,

I am outta my hibernation 🙂 To say the truth, I forced myself outta it because it could go on for a while given its way, but blogging is something that I cannot afford to give up for small troubles. So here I am to finish off the Hyderabad Series and start something else.

I present to you the last part of the Hyderabad Series…

This post I am going to cover food (Yeah I can see your mind jumping to “Biryani” 😛 ). I am going to elaborate on the restaurants in and around Madhapur, for I have tried out most of the famous ones, being a foodie that I am. But please note that my comments are only for vegetarian items and for egg based dishes, for I do not venture beyond egg into the non-vegetarian section. I tried out the very famed Paradise Biryani for the first time at the Hi-Tech branch. I have to say, my taste buds were satisfied. Paradise clearly lived up to its expectations. After trying various dishes, I would say the best, in my opinion, would be Egg Biryani and Baby Corn Manchurian. In the same chain, Café Nandhini at Madhapur excels in South Indian Dishes as Dosas, Varieities of Idlis and the Pulav here beats the rest in the locality. I would recommend you to try each dosa here as all of them are fantastic. Another restaurant Taamaram that was opened recently has a similar menu and prices are also almost the same, while it provides a classier environment. My recommendation to you at Taamaram would be the Mushroom Masala Dosa and Tuti-Fruity Ice cream. And if you are forced to give a treat by your friends and you have a lighter wallet already, take them to Amantran at Madhapur. The food here is pretty good and it is not that expensive. Same would go for Taamaram too.

Hyderabad House at Madhapur is specializes in non-vegetarian section, as I hear, but I would always love the butter naan at this place with either of Mushroom or Baby Corn Manchurian. Other good restaurants are the newly-opened Veggies365, 4 seasons, Chutneys, Big Dosa and so on.. the list is really endless. Hyderabad people, I know I would have left out a lot of good restaurants due to lack of my roaming skills. Please do tell me which ones I missed out and I will head out immediately 😛 I will leave the food section with a last note, if you come to Hyderabad and leave without tasting the Hyderabadi double masala biryani, your whole trip is a waste.

And I cannot leave the post without talking about the people here and the language. From a newbie’s view, I must say the people of the Hyderabad are quite nice, helping and multi-cultural. At least that’s how all the people who I met first were. Coming from Tamilnadu (A state cursed to know only Tamil and no other language) I was amazed by the level of Hindi knowledge among the people here. Later, I came to know that Hindi is as important a part of curriculum in schools here as other subjects. It is so in most other states except mine 🙁 And then Telugu, I do not know why, it caught on quickly. The language called out to me in an unique way and within 6 month I could manage decent Telugu and now people don’t believe me if I say I am not a native of Andhra Pradesh 😉 I feel that the language is used in a sing-song tone and is very pleasant to hear 🙂

Otherwise, the culture here is as diverse as any other industrial city. People from the north and south mingling in and everything. I would say the city will welcome you with open arms and will amaze you with its different faces. Each day you will find something that you find interesting in this city. I enjoyed my stay here and I hope you will too 🙂

Until later 🙂

P.S: I have read all your blogs  in the past few weeks but just did not comment for the same reason as I didn’t write in my space. I just needed a break.

P.P.S: DIGS, I remember the deal about guest post. I will send it to you soon 🙂 Thank you for the patience 🙂

Memories from Madhapur || Places-2

A big thank you to all those who gave me enough encouragement to carry on with the series. So, here I am, presenting the sequel.

Now about places that are famed for sight-seeing, I went on a quest to visit most of these places so that I can see for myself and they were awesome 🙂 A few places, where I haven’t yet been, I am planning to do it soon 🙂

Charminar: The famed Masjid with 4 minars. A must-visit monument. The streets around the charminar call out to you and will surely be a match for your shopping urge. But never forget to bargain downright for everything, else you will find a big burning hole in your wallet.

Salarjung Museum: This is one of the most awesome museums I have ever seen. It holds all the collected treasures of the Prime minister of the 7th Nizam during the Nizams rule.This museum will take a day’s time if you want to do justice to it. Here I am gonna give you a few highlights which you must not miss in this museum.

  • Musical clock: This clock is a visual delight among many other clocks in the gallery. For every hour, a time-keeper emerges from a deck and strikes the gong as many times as is the time of the day.
  • Veiled Rebecca: This is a white marble statue of a woman. What’s the deal in that, you ask? The woman is Rebecca, a princess, who is sculptured as she draws her veil. The big deal here is the folds of the veil is so intricately carved on the marble that your eyes fail to believe that it is indeed marble and not a piece of cloth. You gotta see this to appreciate it fully.
  • Double Statue in the Statuary gallery: This statue is that of rich man on the front side and that of a poor woman on the backside. Awesome sculpture.

Apart from these 3, there are so many galleries as Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Carpets, Weapons, Statuary, Textile, Porcelain galleries. The list is just endless. It is worth your time.

Birla Mandir: Everyone knows about this white marble temple. The carvings on the marble catch your heart and the white marble radiates purity.

Nizam Jubilee Pavilion: This made my day, to say the truth. This is the museum where the gifts presented to the Nizams are exhibited. The 6th and 7th Nizams have had a hell of a life, I must say. The sixth Nizam guy has had an interesting habit. He has never worn a same dress twice in his life. Hence he has the largest wardrobe in the world which is about 250 feet long with a trial room between 2 blocks of wardrobe. Can you believe it? And the 7th Nizam guy determined to beat his predecessor, has used stuff that is made of only silver or gold embedded with navratan stones. Starting from his throne to his tiffin box. But what made go like “what the heck!” was even the cup in which he spit after chewing pan was made of pure gold. The tools used for laying the foundation of the building, the walking sticks, letter boxes,toys for the children- all these were of silver, gold, ivory embedded with gems. No wonder India was a rich country. There is also a 180 degree glass painting of the 7th Nizam is an awesome masterpiece.

Chowmahalla Palace: This is the durbar of the Nizams. Fine marble floors. The exhibits include the stuff that the Nizams had used in their daily life. The chandeliers here were awesome. The carpet before the throne was embroidered with gold thread.

Golconda Fort: As you know, this has been the shooting spot for Magadheera and many other films. A very ancient monumental fort. I just want to say one thing. You need to make sure you are fit and strong, because you have to climb up all the way to the highest point which is enough to make anyone with a weak stamina to see spots before their eyes.

Nehru Zoological Park: This is a picnic spot on weekends to a large population. A large variety of animals call this place their home. Definitely takes an entire day to go around this park by foot. Though they have a 20 minute train ride within the zoo to cover the main areas quickly, the train trip will give you many no-shows since the animals do not just sit near the fence and wait for you to come by.

Hussain Saagar lake, Lumbini Park, NTR gardens and memorial: All these are located in the same locality. The lumbini park and the NTR gardens are suitable for a fine evening stroll with games for indulging and you can go for boating at the Hussain Saagar lake which separates the twin cities, Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

Ramoji Film City: I haven’t been here yet. But I have heard a lot about it and so would you have. I am planning to visit this integration of studios soon. 🙂 Of what I have heard, it is a vast empire of film studios that requires a lot of walking on your part.

Sudha cars: This is little tit-bit I add for those who are in love with cars and mechanical engineering. Holding the guiness records, Sudha cars has the world’s tallest cycle. And the museum exhibits wacky cars of all kinds. I will name a few for provoking your interest. Shivling car, Computer car, Bed car, Golf ball car, Cricket bat car, Cricket ball car, Boot car, Fountain pen bike, Snooker table car, Lotus car and so on. You name it, they have a car in that model. Really awesome models and I feel Mr.Sudhakar, who is the reason behind all these cars, is a very deserving candidate for the guiness record. All these cars in working condition and a CD of the demonstration is also available for you to believe it.

There! I have listed all the spots that I know. And I am counting on Spaceman, Chandana, Sumitra and other Hyderabad waalas to add those that I missed.

This city is worth a visit for everyone 🙂 Do come here at least once in your life on vacation 🙂

P.S: Sorry for the long post, but the city deserved it. Next post will be on people and language 🙂

Until later 🙂

Memories from Madhapur || Places-1

Pre-Script: The series about Hyderabad starting with this post should have ideally been named “Memories from Hyderabad” but I liked “Memories from Madhapur” better and Madhapur is where everything started for me. 🙂 This is sort of just an intro post to the series.

This series of post is dedicated to the city that is Hyderabad. A city that turned from a nightmare to an eye-opener for me. Long back, I remember my blogger buddy, Sumitra asking me to write more about Hyderabad and I feel now is the time for it.

Image Source: http://www.mapsofindia.com

I must give a disclaimer to all of you that I am not much of a roaming person and hence I cannot give extensive travel experiences giving exhaustive descriptions about the city, but I am going to give it from my life’s perspective. A perspective which will tell you how the city grew upon a person who didn’t want to enter it in the first place and now she will be more than happy to live her rest of her life in that city (Sadly, as I grew fond of the city, situations made sure that I have to take measures to move out. Murphy’s law!). Also, I am going to write about whatever I know about the city and experts please correct me if I am wrong and add to it if I missed anything, which I am sure I am bound to. Now that the disclaimer is over and I am in the safe zone, here is Hyderabad through my eyes.

When I first stepped out of the Charminar Express at Nampally Station, all I had in my eyes and heart was fear. I did not know enough Telugu to manage. I knew Hindi but had lost touch of it long back. So, with a few recollected Hindi words and no arranged place of accommodation, I set out to start my life at Hyderabad.

With the help of a kind friend, I soon found out my office where I was supposed to report and after a lot of hassles, I settled in the company guest house to wait until some of my friends to arrive to report at Hyderabad. My company guest house was in the outskirts and the locality was known as Lambadi Tanda or at least that’s what was on the address given to me. Even the auto drivers looked at me weirdly when I wanted a ride to Lambadi Tanda. The word felt like a swear word on my tongue. Surely enough, all the other places felt weird-Kothaguda, Kondapur, Madhapur, Panjagutta, Lakdikapool(I had trouble pronouncing this;For a while I was calling it Ladki ka pool 😉 ) and the like.

With more friends arriving and finding a hostel in Madhapur, I settled in. That was when I fell in love with the place. Madhapur is by far the best place to live in if you want a reasonably affordable hostel with good facilities and your office is in Hi-Tech city. You can get almost everything within walk-able reach. The place was suitable in every way for a corporate’s life. If you prefer living in houses and not hostels, that would be a slight disadvantage. This is because houses with 1 single room that is just as big as Harry Potter’s cupboard, with a kitchen and washroom of the same size will cost you 8000 rupees per month. For a decent flat, you might want to make your budget, a 5 digit number. The best option of accommodation for people who want a cheaper yet comfortable place is a hostel or sharing a 3 BHK with 5 other friends.

Another area which is similar to Madhapur in life style and other aspects is Kondapur. The same rules of accommodation apply here too. Jubilee hills, Banjara Hills are areas where you can hit a higher note of living standards and prices too sky-rocket at the same rate. As for the nature of these localities, Banjara hills is a quieter residential area while the others always bustle with crowds until late night. The fashion showrooms in the Jubilee hills locality are awesome with a wide collection range. However, if you are a typical street shopper, you need to catch the bus to Koti or Ameerpet where after a day’s shopping you will feel you still have not managed to quench your shopping thirst.

With this, I pause. People who live in Hyderabad, please do chip in, in the comments section, about your first places in Hyderabad. And readers, I need your support for continuing this series. So, please let me know your thoughts.

Until later 🙂

P.S: I wanted to cover to the sight-seeing places too in this post, but the length of the post went beyond bearable limits. So I had to postpone the tourist spots for the sequel.

The woes of a share-auto traveller

Hey people,

Hope you had a merry Christmas and wishing you a Happy New Year in advance 🙂 Everyone is in the holiday mood and blogging seems to be downstream except for a few posts here and there. Anyway nothing has changed in my life. If you wanna know what exactly is happening in my life, I can tell you – “When you expect something to happen, it seems like your life is on a pause button and time is taking its own time to give you what you want. But, when you love doing something, time just spins on its wheels” That’s exactly what’s happening to me. My life seems to be in pause mode.

Enough digression! Being in Hyderabad for the past year and having used share-autos for commuting to office daily, I have come to observe and learn the tactics needed to travel in a share-auto, which by the way is a more popular mode of commute than the local buses themselves. So here are some interesting almost life-changing things that might happen to you if you travel regularly by share-auto.

By share-auto, I do not mean the big ones which can accommodate 8 people. It is just the normal auto used as a circus show-off carrying more than it can. The share-auto drivers are self-assumed kings of the world and will have fixed destinations. They will run their auto to and from their destinations without a single passenger but will not think of changing their route to another one even if there are mobs of people waiting for a transport in a different route. Once you spot a share-auto, yell out the place where you wish to go to. If he finds you right, he is likely to stop the racing auto 10 feet forward from where you stand and look back, else he will just speed off.

Next, they have fixed rates. Either accept and get in or it is just get out. You cannot tell him that just the day before you paid 10 bucks and it is unfair that he is charging 20 bucks today. This rule applies especially when the never-ending recurring T-strike is on.

Suppose that it is your lucky day and you get a share-auto within few minutes of wait, make sure to hop in as quickly as possible, else you will find yourself face-down on the road, for the drivers will have an estimated instinctive time-limit before they start the auto. They won’t look back to make sure that you got in, if that’s what you were expecting. And if you are waiting for a share-auto and so are 10 others, prepare yourself to be a street rat and fight your way. If you prefer to be the docile type, call up your manager and apply for leave and go home.

Once you are inside the share-auto, hang on to the side bars for your dear life. The auto will race light and win the race! It will slide through all gaps available rocking back and forth, with its passengers juggled mercilessly. You will actually feel that you can fly. Women folks, be wise and choose the corner seat if there are guys in the back seat. Use one hand to hang on to the auto and one hand to defend yourself, else pervey perversons will show what they are capable of. This sad thing still happens.

And guys, you are cursed for life to be hanging only from the front seat along with the driver. Even if you come first and wait in the share-auto for an hour, you won’t get a reasonable seat to place yourself on if there are more than 2 girl-travelers. Be it pouring rain or scorching heat, you have to just accept it. Sometimes 4 guys including the driver will sit in the front and 3 passengers behind happen. Though I can’t say if the driver is really sitting and driving the auto, in such cases. He might as well be pressing random levers at the end of his foot and driving the auto by instinct. But, if you want to reach office on time wading through layers of traffic, you cannot put your mind through all that.

Image Courtesy: http://www.shatabdigaurav.com

And when you want the driver to stop at a place, yell “stop” 10 feet before the place actually comes to save on the walking time. And one universal rule, if you are in a real hurry for a meeting, just hire a direct auto and go. Else, you will have to wait in the auto until it fills up and overflows with people and by the time you reach, you will definitely be late.

Even with all this, you need a lot of luck for reaching your place safely without your heart popping out of your mouth. So, take care and good luck!

Until later 🙂

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