- I nearly miss my flight from Bangalore. I am early to arrive. But they change the flight number. Silly. I hear my voice on the intercom and then the speakers. “Calling passenger Anita…. Last call to board” I rush to the boarding gate. Hurry, says 2-3 officials. (Yah, right, what do you think I’m doing?!). Get some dirty ‘how-can-you-be-so-late’ stares from some passengers. Dang.
- Nice breakfast. Eggs. Sausages. Mmmm. Almost makes up for last-minute ‘plane missing’ experience.
- Hyderabad first impressions – Nice roads. Looks so neat. No girls 🙁
- Hakimpet, Secunderabad is a 40-minute drive. My friend Rukshana who works for the Air Force is posted there.
- The rick keeps going. Seems like the middle of nowhere. I reach. Finally.
- In the evening, we make a trip to Banjara Hills where her in-laws stay. Get another look at the city. Impressive buildings. A major Mughal hangover. From the legislative assembly to the museum to the hospital, you can’t miss the predominance of the domes and spirals.
- We decide to watch Tehzeeb in the evening. Friend’s brother-in-law drives like a maniac to Prasads. All tickets sold out. Janasheen tickets available (No, I scream!). Then to Anand. All sold out. Hmmph… But nice drive by the Hussain Sagar Lake makes up for movie miss.
- Talk to Rukshana till about 3 am. We have lots of things to discuss. But naturally. We’ve been married for 12 years between both of us 😉
- Wake up early and make it to the Yatri Niwas to catch daily tour bus.
- Sightseeing starts with the Birla Temple. Impressive marbled structure. Especially if you’re into gods.
- Next, we climb 316 odd steps to Golconda Fort. Good exercise. Nice view too. Also proof that we are no longer as agile as we used to be.
- Qutb Shahi tombs next. We decide on a long distance view and eat instead. Bad food. Mahtoob sounds exotic but the dal and sabji are tastleless and disappointing.
- Salar Jung Museum is impressive, well maintained and houses a really good collection. The nearby (not much publicised) H.E. Nizam’s museum is even more impressive.
- Charminar – There’s too much traffic at the old city. The bus is diverted some way from the gate. We catch a quick glimpse. (How can I got to Hyderabad and not see the Charminar?!)
- The zoo – The only animal I get to see is the white tiger. Rukshana refuses to walk further. Can’t blame her. It’s the second time she’s seeing all the sights!
- End of the day. Back to her in-laws place to freshen up.
- An hour later, I meet with the Lazy Lump at the Barista in Banjara Hills. He’s seems neither lazy nor a lump! And he’s not as shy as he claims to be on his blog. Maybe, he needs to rethink his image! LL is a charming young man who’s from the North, but works in Hyderabad. However, I get the feeling I’ve seen more of the city in one day than he’s seen in his one and a half years 😉 We chat over coffee.
- After coffee, friend joins us and we take a rickshaw to drop LL on the way. At the signal, a truck comes hurtling towards us. The rickshaw driver, swerves out of the way at the last moment. And thank God, because the truck driver doesn’t seem to be seeing anything in his path. A close brush with death (or at least with an accident!). My first meeting with LL will be forever inscribed in my memory. LL (if you ever come to Mumbai) the traffic here is much better, may I assure you 🙂
- Friend takes me to her supervisor’s place for dinner. She works for the Air Force, where everyone is Sir and Madam, so I get to meet a lot of them! I even meet an old school mate. How small is the world?
- I am tempted to go para-sailing at the Hussain Sagar. The weather is gorgeous. And someone is already out there, parachute and all, sailing over the lake. Unfortunately, we don’t have the time, so we settle for a ‘6-minute’ speedboat ride around the lake. It’s definitely a quickie, but it will just have to do…
- Friend takes me pearl shopping (how can you come to Hyd and not buy pearls?). How indeed? Bad idea, however. Despite my resolve, I weaken as the guy lays out beautiful coloured pearls in front of me. How could I not pick up a few?
- Lunch is biryani at Paradise. A very popular place, judging by the long queue waiting for tables. We stuff ourselves with chicken tikka and biryani.
- Time flies fast. Have to leave for the airport. Why didn’t you take a few more days here, asks my friend. She’s probably being polite!
- Get to the airport well in time. Lounge around since I’m early.
- At 6.30 pm, I am finally back in Mumbai.
- Looking back, it took me 55 minutes from Hyderabad to Mumbai and one and a half hours from Mumbai airport to home.