Living in the twin cities

Part 5 – Telangana

Looking back, it seems like I spent a large portion of my wandering years in this State. We were first in Hyderabad, maybe close to the iconic Charminar. Now about the Charminar, once every couple of years, they would close the top floor right after someone attempts (yet again) a suicide jump. My family never went inside it I think.

But we would always be around this landmark building, traffic bursting at the seams, not moving. Once my mother went off shopping in the bazaars close by with us kids left in the truck (these were the wild days of parenting). Traffic cops came over to ask us to move from our non-parking spot, but our driver could not move the truck, for how would mother find her way back in the crazed traffic?

When not confined to immobile trucks, we were often jumping and running amongst the rocks that is the Deccan Plateau. Once my brother fell and was surrounded by a pack of stray dogs; me being of the faint heart and feeble body, did not do much to rescue him. Someone did, though.

Later, we lived in Secunderabad. I made some great friends in that school, and made my first stage appearance in the school assembly. We had a long commute to school, traffic was slightly less crazy.

Years later at my first job, I was back in Hyderabad. They were the years of independent living, going around in autos, borrowing Nora Roberts novels from second hand bookshops. Night shifts in the High Tech city, and midnight cabs. Staring at boutiques in Banjara Hills.

I am reading the book Father May Be an Elephant and Mother Only a Small Basket, But… by Gogu Shyamala about the Dalit community, and it is not a story I was aware of in my many years there. (Maybe peripherally from the newspapers, but not from actual experience.)

There are small changes in the society of today [hope], the book also provides an insight into the culture in their villages and their celebrations. The depiction of childhood is often harsh, yet the children are carefree and bound to play.


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