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Monday, November 08, 2004

HYD-BOUND !!!

One of my more-successful sojourns to date, even though it involved missing a flight and ending up missing what must be the only weekly programme I watch with any constancy.
Got off to a fortuitous start—with a cloudburst of inspiration ( aided by a more creative colleague—that’s better, stay honest -Ed ) getting the flight changed from the heavenly ( actually, unearthly ) time of 0615 hours to a manageable 0800. Reached Cyberabad and was whisked off by a colleague to three market visits in quick succession. Yep, the city sleeps late –most of the supermalls I entered were just brushing aside the cobwebs of sleep—groggy with dirt and stupor.
Lunched at a good place with interesting confabulations with a senior on the role played by the Exalted Profession in various Indian and foreign companies—this “ interesting “ is not in the same vein as Dizzy’s take on the Wankhede terra firma.

Made a dash to Chikoti Gardens where had one of the most engrossing conversations with somebody’s brother who is based in Chicago—tales of natives being abstemious, the rabbit-in-the-headlights countenance of the current software geeks and the sheer scope for body-shopping that India appears to be thriving on. Then ran right into trouble –all I had to do was cross the road wedged between a Big Bazaar showroom and a Pantaloons outlet to the other side where an ex-colleague was waiting to meet me. Given my careless nimble-footedness, sleight of brain and an inherent characteristic eel-like slipperiness, it should have not taken me long. But, No ! I was stranded on one side of the road for more than ten minutes. It was like standing at La Guardia – oceans of vehicles whizzed by with nigh a care for the Guest of Honour. Two-wheelers regarded the pavement as perfect driving terrain with no question of slowing down, no zebra crossing in sight. Was beginning to feel foolish before deciding to risk life and limb—peremptorily halted the monsters in their tracks and regally marched over. Whew !

Hyd appears to have changed a bit over my four visits spread over fifteen years—I guess the inner core is yet the same—slightly bohemian, carefree and lotus-eating. The gloss of success ( Ed—yet another misunderstood phrase ) does mask this picture—folks are surer of themselves and there is the inescapable nouveau riche demeanour. Still, perhaps far better than the rustic simplicity it was known to have. In the modern world, ‘tis better to be an empty vessel to make noise as Bangalore has exemplified!

The Air Deccan flight was delayed –expectedly so—was depressed to know that I had to turn my 9-kg suitcase as Check-in baggage, was thoroughly proud of myself at having pinched a seat off the bemused Security Guard. You see, Cyb, like Bangalore airport before it, does believe in burning calories by inveigling unsuspecting passengers to stand.
The flight itself was uneventful—the comfort levels are acceptable and the only aspect that bears reporting was the endearingly South India-tinged accent of the stewardess while enunciating safety instructions in Hindi. Made two false moves at the Luggage collection counter—had confidently descended on two ‘cases that looked suspiciously like mine, before being growled at by a forbidding person in the vicinity, and then a Sikh child shrieking” yeh to hamara hai” upon espying my supposed filching of his bag,to all and sundry, to my consternation and inviting reproachful stares from travel-weary passengers. When I finally gathered my burden, I suppose half the waiting public was muttering “ Watch him, he’s not right” behind my back. However, I let these imagined barbs run off like water off a duck's back,straightened myself and sauntered off—don’t mind if you played and missed, it’s the next ball that counts, right, mate !
There's a new Bush doll doing raoring business in the USA, apparently it can pronounce over 100 words wrongly.


















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