Colors, pearls, biryani, deccani tehzeeb and all that- Hyderabad, you are beautiful!

I was in Mysore for more than 20 years and then came that excruciating call of growing up- ‘what next?’ Moved out for MBA. The stretch of road traveled for the new destination was 760 kms- Hyderabad. The idea of “home away from home” has always made me laugh at its ridiculousness. Moreover, wasn’t the city home to more than 7.4 million people already by the time I was to arrive in the year 2012? Frankly, I was not quite comfortable with the beckoning of a new place. Calling it a home was nowhere in my list. But when you are twenty-something, career triumphs over all other priorities. They say, it got to. So I had to follow where life took me next. But who had thought that 700 days and I will be made to re-think- which is home? Hyderabad started growing in me- so easily.

With two years been well spent here, now I feel the constant necessity to look back. To repeat and repeat, over and over again- Hyderabad, how beautiful you have been to me! Here’s magic- resplendent. Every city whispers of stories- told, untold. Stories- muzzled, puzzled, bloated, shrunk and old.

Twin cities (Hyderabad & Secunderabad) are what make Hyderabad different from the rest of them. The city resembles like two sides of a coin. The Secunderabad depicts the historic culture, old monuments & buildings under the patronage of Nizams. On the other side, Hyderabad is quite like the other metro cities. Often called the Cyberabad- once known as “City of pearls” has transformed into the country’s one of the leading IT hubs. But somehow the city and its dwellers have managed to keep the richness of the culture quite intact- in all its splendor and grandeur.

Oh the Charminar and Laad Bazaar- early morning cup of Iraani chai and Hussain Sagar as the sun sets in the sky! Among other places to visit- Golconda Fort far away in the top of the hill, the Falaknama Palace, Hussain Sagar lake in the middle of the old city, the magnificent Chowmahalla Palace, meandering lanes and history-laden streets. Elderly women in silk sarees, salwaar kameez with khada dupattas, smiling affectionately and Hyderabadi men are always ready for hearty conversations and tete-a-tete over a cup of tea. The Hyderabadi youngsters are equally welcoming. In the initial days, I used to feel baffled by the South Indian head waggles but then I gradually realized that the Hindi spoken here is absolutely adorable. You haven’t heard that sort if you haven’t been to Hyderabad ever. Hyderabadi Hindi sounds more complicated and interesting from any other form of Hindi spoken throughout the country.

The food? Well, the more is said, the less it is. From Paneer Dosa to Hyderabadi Biryani, Mozamjahi market’s Karachi Bakery, the delicious Haleem of the city, Mirchi Ka Salan, Secunderabad’s Paradise’s Faluda and all the street-food and delicacies… this city’s cuisine is world apart. Having tasted biryani in more than a dozen of famous restaurants over the last two years, I am yet to conclude which one is the best. When in Hyderabad, eat as the Hyderabadis eat. Bet, you will not regret the decision.

This Hyderabad has been there in my highs and in my lows. Every rising sun has brought me promises of new beginnings. Every setting sun has given me hope for a better tomorrow. The city with all its enchantment has been there to whisper to me that everything is just as beautiful as it can be- gifting me friends, surprises, memories and a lot of photographs which will stay picture-perfect for the rest life. This city is where home can be.