Vegging out in Hyderabad

Trip Start Jan 20, 2005
Trip End Dec 27, 2005

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Thursday, April 7, 2005

We had a terrific time visiting our friends Madhu and Amit in Hyderabad. Amit and Madhu were good enough to invite us to stay in their home during our stay in Hyderabad and we felt like we were back home. They had a pottery barn couch that we probably sat on for a total of 3.5 days of our 5 days there. One of the things we miss most is a couch to just veg on. I think after 2 days, Amit and Madhu were wondering "When these people leave are we going to have outlines of them in our couch to remember them by?"

They have a beautiful home on the campus of the Indian School of Business, where Amit is a professor, just outside Hyderabad. We really enjoyed out time there hanging out, watching Hindi Movies, trying local foods, and having some great conversations about their adjustment back to living in India after living away for the last 10 years. Its an exciting time to come back with lots of opportunity and changes happening over here.

The movies were great, and I have to repeat one line which still makes me smile. An american in one of the films is asking an Indian girl to dance and says he's figured out how to dance like an Indian "Just screw in a light bulb with one hand and pat the dog with the other." Try it, it works. Har har..

It was also nice to get to see a different face of India than the one we have been seeing just traveling around seeing the popular sites and cities of India. While in Hyderabad we got to see more of the growing class of indians engaged in the Hightech and services industry. Hyderabad is one of the centers for technology and outsourcing here in INdia. Amit and Madhu took us to some very nice restaurants and hang outs for the growing cyberclass. From Amit's University you can look across at the huge campus Microsoft has built for their INdian Operations as well as many other buildings that could have just as easily been those from Silicon Valley.

These High-tech changes going on in the city are relatively recent in a town that has a rich, ancient history. Wandering the Laad Bazaar in the old town through the fruit stands and Saari, textile, jewelry, and metal working shops, the world of computers, software and Business Process Outsourcing seems so far away.

Hyderabad itself is 50% Muslim and has a long history of Muslim rulers. There is an amazing old Fort built on a Hill over looking the city where the city was started before it was moved due to lack of water. Today, the large Muslim population means that we got some great non-veg food. They have some great spicy rice dishes (Biryianis) and chutneys/pickels.

Amit and Madhu took us to brunch at a local hang out for the hip, urban, upandcomers owned by one of Hyderabad's local Moviestars. It was very 70s with all white decor, rounded chairs, very Austin Powers. They had some hip music beating in the background and offered an all you can eat/drink brunch for 10 bucks. Let me repeat ALL YOU CAN DRINK!! Now, Now, don't jump to conclusions, it was before 2pm so I only had a drink with lunch. But I kept thinking afterwards... what a waste ;) We had a really nice meal and a good view of the city. Although, mini-me did not bring out the desert tray as I had hoped.

It was with a lot of reluctance that we moved on from Hyderabad, though I think our hosts will be glad to reclaim their couch and have a break from my machine gun style questioning. We'll miss the airconditioning, thick, white bed, wonderful meals, and most of all the great company (that and getting ferried around in a car with AC ;)

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