As a true blue Hyderabadi, I can say with full confidence that there is no other city which is more people-friendly and rich in culture than Hyderabad. It’s why people from different parts of the country find it so easy to live here.
There is nothing I don’t love about the city. I remember as a child, my friends and I would fantasise about going abroad and exploring beautiful countries. Now when I look back, Hyderabad is what I miss the most and every single thing I did here.
The city has taught me to be accommodating and learn to respect people from other communities. And this feeling heightened during Ganesh Chathurthi, my favourite festival.
Every year my brother and I along with his friends used to erect a Ganesh pandal in front of our house. My friends and I would plan our outfits as well and I remember one year we wore pattu lehengas and went around the colony showing off! Those ten days were the most happening days of my life spent with friends and family gorging on delicacies.
One childhood incident that sticks out in my memory is when my friends and I began to visit the Sitaram Bagh temple frequently when we were in Class VII.
We convinced ourselves that we would write a book on the temple and would hound the pandits for information jotting down all they said in notebooks.
And the hapless pandits would tell us all they knew. Obviously, the book never saw the light of the day, but we still laugh over it.
Shopping in the busy streets of the city is something I miss a lot. I used to wait for Numaish every year just to visit the exhibition and shop there.
The weekends meant picnics with friends to Ramoji Film City, Lumbini Park and NTR Gardens. Before IMAX came along and gripped everyone with its state-of-the-art entertainment, Birla Mandir, Golconda fort, Chowmahalla Palace, Salar Jung Museum and Nehru Zoological Park were our haunts when we were bored with the usual hangouts.
Candlelight dinners at Amrutha Castle were the highlights for me. Food fanatic that I’m, Hyderabad never disappointed me in that area.
Mention irani chai and pani puri and my mouth starts watering! I don’t think any place can compare to the wonderful fusion of South Indian fare with the rich Mughlai culinary offerings.
Our hangouts were Maharaja Chat, Veneto Pasta Bar, street stalls selling Chinese noodles, Santosh Dhaba, Little Italy and Ram ki Bandi.
No matter where I eat in Minnesota, nothing can compare to the pleasure I get when I eat at my favourite places in Hyderabad. While it’s another experience studying in Minnesota, I can’t wait to get back to the city and relive all the moments soon.
(As told to Nikisha Uddagiri)