Greetings from Hyderabad! And Guest Bloggers!
I'm in Hyderabad. Yep, travelling again--this time to the ancestral land of India, though right now a bit far from my actual roots. Hyderabad is the centuries-old capital of the ancient state of the Andhras and one of India's high tech boom cities. It's a pretty exciting place for me to land, because I haven't been to India in about 8 years, and Hyderabad is emblematic of a lot of the change that has happened since then.
Quicky observations so far: wow, there are a lot of interesting trees here! Tall ones, with rich pink and yellow blossoms too. There's lots of little contrasts between the Bollywood-style billboards/glitzy malls and the city's Islamic roots--lots of women walking around with hijabs and even complete black burqas. I was wearing a black tracksuit on the overly long plane ride, which stopped in Mumbai. In LAX I noted that 90% of the women on the plane wearing "traditional" clothing were either white-haired or Air India's famous air hostesses--and the same in Mumbai--but waiting for my uncle outside the airport, I only spotted one other woman in western dress and felt severely underdressed, so I changed into a Salwar Kameez quickly. While I was waiting I was also struck by the variety of Indian-made cars--the days of Ambassadors and Marutis lording over the roads are totally over. The haze is a bit depressing. In Mumbai I sleepily noted that "it's as foggy here as in SF" and another passenger burst out laughing at me. "That's not fog!" and she just kept laughing. But it's still way cleaner than I remember Kolkata being. Speaking of Kolkata--I was amused to see red Hammer and Sickle flags decking the trees outside my hotel. When I asked my cousin about it, in my flight-clogged deafness I kept thinking he was saying, "Sepia M," and was surprised that a) he knew about the Mutiny
and b) he was associating the Mutiny with communism. Not something Abhi and Manish would condone, let alone Vinod or Anna! Ah, but when I yawned to clear my ears I realized he was saying , CPI(M)--Communist Party of India, Marxist-Leninist. Their offices are on our pretty street. Turns out my cousin had heard of Question-Gate
, but hadn't heard of the Mutiny---so much for riding their coattails to glory in India. Finally, some more personal observation--wow, I am so utterly incapable of resisting the insistent charms of my niece and nephew, who did not exist the last time I was here. They chatter at me in three languages, drag me around by the hand, and can't get enough of my camera. Also, I really felt like I was back in India when my aunt served up cooked banana flowers, poppy seeds stewed with potatoes and jinghe
squash and potatoes, and kheer
with curd. Oh, so tasty!
This is going to be a long and wacky trip, and while I hope to keep y'all posted with as much travelblogging and photography as possible, I've decided to enlist some aid in keeping up the Musings and Observations. That's right--guest bloggers! They are:
Rishi, Scott, Emily, Echan
(of Geeky Chic 2.0), Nick
(of Radiation Persuasion), Robert
(of hitched to everything), and ToastyKen
of the Subjunctive Klog. Please be nice to them and enjoy their fantasticness! Happy Holidays!