On 16th august, a day after the harrowing trip from Bangalore to Chennai, our train arrived at the Secunderabad station at around 7.15, where our family friend Naresh mama was waiting to pick us up. After 15 minutes, we were on our way to Kukatpalli in his car; the drive was rather long, but it gave me ample apportunity to observe the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s a lot more like Chennai, I thought, seeing the roads and the line of shops along most of the roads; and the traffic was also good, far better than the Bangalore traffic, but it was not even 8, and my assumptions were proven wrong later.
At 8.15 am, we arrived at his bungalow in Kukatpally, where we were greeted with the two young girls, Shruti and Aditi, running towards the front door, with their mother in tow. We were immensely pleased to see our former neighbours – a strong bond had developed between my folks and them during their tenure in my flat; in fact, it was their mother, Uma aunty, who insisted that we stay with them in Hyderabad for a few days, and also allayed my parent’s fears of heavy downpours in the city, in view of the incessant rains last Saturday(Nimish and Pawanraj were in Hyderabad that day).
We spent the rest of the morning and afternoon settling in the house, with the two girls engaging us throughout the hours with their childish antics; the younger one, Aditi, even dragged me along and demanded that I help her do those stuff which olympic gymnasts would find child’s play(of course, it was on the bed, and I took care to restrain her from getting over excited and getting hurt in some way). My mom and grandma helped Uma aunty prepare lunch, while Naresh mama arranged for a tourist car to take us to Golconda fort in the evening.
In the evening, the 8 of us travelled in a Chevrolet Tavera, towards the fort. On the way, I realised that my earlier assessment of the Hyderabad traffic were wrong. Vehicles dashed along the road in frantic abandon, and our driver was no exception, speeding up and braking abruptly, giving us some jitters and moments of discomforting rides. Passerbys found it quite difficult to cross the road. Even worse was the number of people riding triples on two wheelers! College fellows, spouses with 2 babies/toddlers, a father with 2 guys… I lost count of the number of people riding in threes. Once a two wheeler carrying three guys stopped in the middle of the road, and the two guys sitting on the pillion had to alight for the driver to start the motorcycle. My father was annoyed with the unnecessary delay, but our driver warned him not to say anything to them; these guys were fickle and would do some harm if provoked(That’s what the driver said). In Chennai, if a two wheeler got stranded in the midst of the traffic, the driver would usually push the vehicle to the side of the road and then start it. This was where I noted a difference between the two cities.
We arrived at the old fort after an hour of driving, and I was captivated by the ancient red stone structures that was once a fortified stronghold. Most of the structures in the fort were still intact, and the whole place had an ethereal charm about it. I took several snaps of the fort, but the presence of two impatient girls denied me my own time to take proper shots. They were eager to see the Light and Sound show at the fort, which was supposed to be the speciality of this tourist spot. The show was due to begin at 7 pm, so we took our seats 10 minutes earlier; my dad stayed back with my grandma, because there were too many steps for her to negotiate.
The show began and i expectantly waited for something dazzling, something on the lines of musical fountain in the Brindavan Gardens. Instead, what transpired was just random switching of lights mount on different parts of the entire fort, each light show accompanied by a monontonous voice explaining the history of the fort with respect to the lighted part. History was not my favourite subject in school, and again it came back to haunt me. I struggled to keep my eyes open, and to keep awake I clicked random photographs of the fort from my seat, but none of them came out well in the blackness of the night. The history class continued for an hour, and every minute left me inwardly cursing myself for landing in this dumb money making scheme. In fact, the fort looked majestic, and it would have been far better to explore the entire structure rather than sit and endure a lecture on the history of the fort. I would also have been better off staying at ‘home’ and watching Arsenal football match on TV. 😀
After exactly one hour, the torture ended, and relief was writ on the face of every person who had been fooled. 😀 We returned to where my grandma and dad were waiting for us, and the first thing I said to dad was “Appa.. You are very lucky not to come!” He laughed in response on hearing my drivel. 😀
It was raining gently when we returned home after an hour, and I was too tired to do anything after the sequence of events starting Thursday night. I had my dinner and straightaway went to bed, waiting for another exciting day in the city I had come to love in a short space of time. 🙂
To be continued.
P.S. My remarks about the traffic and the show in Golconda fort are purely my personal opinions, and are not an attempt to dissuade anyone from visiting Hyderabad/Secunderabad.In fact, I love the twin cities despite these drawbacks; heck, even Chennai has its own disadvantages! 😀 Later, after some comments in my internal blog, I have realized that traffic jams and disruptions are a common problem in any city, so no point in cribbing about the treffic now.