"Kya baataan karte miyan tum? logaan 25-25 mein mehndipatnam le jaate"
"Unke saath kyon nai jaate to?"
"tees mein chalte kya?"
And so I boarded the auto(rickshaw), and thus started my wild goose chase for the elusive apartment of mine, upon which I have built countless castles (castle over apartment??!!!). Castles of cane chairs, a low slung bed, hanging lamp shades, of guitar evenings in the balcony and my own golden retriever. And I hadn't ever thought this will turn out to be one of the greatest struggles and a learning experience too of a city caught in a time warp. A bastard born out of consummation of cultures.
Hyderabad is growing like a cancerous tumour, riding of course on the much hyped IT wave. Adding to my woes, was my fake hyderabadi accent, the autowallahs looked straight through it. From crampy ghettos, allegedly being rented as "apartments" to plush De-luxe apartments, I have had a look at all of them, muttering to myself how Noida was gazillions of realtorical galaxies ahead of Hyderabad. The ultimate goal of course is to find a satisfactory balance of commuting distance, bathrooms (I am at my finickiest best, when it comes to loos!), and the moolah that I'll shell out as rent, the entire course of optimization theory I took, seems to be going down the drain.
But foraging through the city , I see a city, living, kicking, smiling, shuffling ... a city haggling for rickshaw fares, a city seated in air conditioned Accords, a city hanging from ramshackle buses, a city celebrating "Pravasi Diwas", a city holding hands vying for their share of privacy, a city clad in the hijaab, a city savouring "haleem" , a city revelling at Abid's .... and countless other cities packed in the lanes and the sprawling IT campuses. Which of these cities am I looking a house in? And will the house ever be home?....
kahin chhat thii deevaar-o-dar thhe kahin,
milaa mujhko ghar kaa pataa der se,
diyaa to bahut zindagi ne mujhe,
magar jo diyaa vo diyaa der se ...
... still wondering, how long my golden retriever will have to wait?