Friday, July 20, 2007

Charminar

Friday, July 20, 2007

I think I’ve never (and shall never) seen so much life, as I’ve seen on the streets.

Charminar should’ve been nominated as a Wonder. But then how does one explain the beauty of Charminar to one who hasn’t been there? I accuse even the fraud Hyderabadis (you know who you are, myself included) of laying claims on this massive structure and calling it their pride when in reality they are incognizant to its history, its culture, its heritage.

Charminar isn’t just a building; it’s a way of life. Calling it a merely a monument with four minarets would be equivalent of molesting it of its glory, for its so much more than that. The Mecca Masjid, the Lad Bazaar, the trillions of Irani Café’s, the sea of people, some burqua clad, some lying on the road with torn trousers with their hands outstretched, some adorned by rings of all hues. It’s a different world, a reminiscent of old times, which hasn’t yet been touched by the nefarious forces of the neo corporate world. It has evolved, yes, but in its own way. Only the ignorant go on effusing about the riots there for its clearly visible to the ones frequenting the place that perfect harmony exists, be it for the sake of mutual growth of business, but it prevails nonetheless.

It’s almost romantic to see how amidst the plethora of Muslim enterprise and culture the Hindus have craved a niche for themselves here and there.

One can always lose one’s self as well as get lost in the gullies (really narrow streets). Gullies which twist and turn a la rattle-snakes, which with every turn present another facet of this part of Hyderabad, be it women clad in jhathaak( so much so that shades are required to shield you from their radiance) clothing, hawkers selling boulder sized gol guppas or the blinding colors of the Bangles in the numerous bangle stores.

And then there’s the exotica:

Rumors of a street which sells exotic and no-so-exotic birds reached my ear through Vivek. We checked the placed and were shocked to witness the melodrama. Birds from all the corners of the world were caged. I was a little hesitant to take pictures for the fear of being mistaken as a PETA activist, which would’ve surely resulted in some serious impairing, if not an unceremonious death (after which we’d have been sold as meat by the way things looked around here). We witnessed wild hares trotting, cute pups tethered, turkeys, sparrows and roosters chilling out in their respective cages, given up on life. We saw a Macaw, which was on sale for two lakhs; however this was the least of what we amazed us. What really shocked us was this: This bloke putting his hand inside a bustling cage thus causing even more furor amongst the tiny winged beings. His hands which were mammoth in comparison to the infinitesimal bird, cornered it and grabbed it entirely and put in a paper bag, which one would usually encounter at a grocery store. Following which he dispassionately tied the neck of the bag with a black thread, with the bottom of the paper bag still swerving in random directions. People also buy crows, then direct them towards their neighbors house thus unleashing upon them a bad omen and decorating their (neighbor's) life with misfortune and sorrow.

Three hours out on the streets and I was convinced that it’s the one stop shop for all your needs, you could find anything here. Vivek joked that you could even find individual keyboard keys here; somehow I got the feeling that it wasn’t a joke.

Come night time and the entire area is lit up. Its a mania and one can very well appreciate the need to pedestrianize the entire region. As you look around you, you notice that you’re eyes transformed into a kaleidoscope.

Closing thought: The Biryani of the old city surpasses everything else in terms of its superiority (Yes you Hyderabad house, Paradise worshippers; I'm pointing my fingers at you) and taste.

14 comments:

Vivek Krishnan

you forgot the Foot World, Shoe Museum, and last but definitely not the least, the goats!!!

Arun Sethuraman

[:)]
Totaaaal hyd senti eh?
Lovely!

rishabh

vivek:Like I said, there are a billion things we saw, missed out the part about the mecca masjid too.

sethu: Tothal! Thanks

Saurya Chakraborty

fraud hyderabadi speaking.... very well written bro..

sonam

another fraud hyderabadi joins you saurya... brilliant post!

rishabh

saurya,sonam: arrey yaaron apun jaayinge ek din. apun bhi pakke hyderabadi banninge phir

Doctor Rick

Why the bird trafficking? Is it mostly blackmarket trade, or accepted business-as-usual for locals? I notice you talk about nature a lot. I seem to come back to it frequently myself.

rishabh

Its a little tough to explain the situation over here. Its obviously illegal, yet no one catches them, its been going on for decades. Several animal activists have tried, yet it doest seem to affect the trade.

Btw its quite common in India, just that I had never witnessed it before

Vivek Krishnan

the place's called murgi chowk... people been selling exotic animals there since nizam zamaana apparently

Vega

You saw a macaw?? Was it speaking in human lingo?

rishabh

Vega: Well even if it did we wouldnt know, since its not of indian origin. Probably some dialect of spanish perhaps? Though no, it wasnt saying anything
Wonder bumping into a macaw going in a hyderabad accent, "Kya Miyaan, kya karre?"

Vega

Macaws just copy the human beings..even if he (or she) was from some other land, he can start speaking in perfect hyderabadi hindi in a matter of a few days.

shuchi

you mean to say you discovered all this now! after living half ur life in hyd!!!

rishabh

vega:Oh nice, didnt know that.
Shuchi: Parts of it yes, I'd never really explored the place before

 
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