Tag Archives: hyderabad

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vijayawada                                                                  hyderabad



trouble in andhra pradesh…

Last week the indian govt provisionally announced the division of the region, with Hyderabad to be taken away and Andhra Pradesh (see previous post) to find a new capital. Right from the start there were protests and disorder, there is a lot of investment in Hyderabad, it’s where most of the industry and commerce of the state is based and generated. I got an email from India where i was just a couple of weeks ago. My friend says that for days now in Vijayawada, everything has been closed, shops, banks schools…and there is a lot of trouble on the streets. Yesterday was the birthday of one of the kids in her home and she could not buy a gift nor even flour to make a cake as everything was closed. Will try to find out more. I spent a lot of time in Vijayawada (see previous post),  it was a chaotic but friendly city, its hard to imagine empty streets and violence.

vijayawada (see another previous post)

Sent an email to another friend still working as a teacher at the orphanage, she said that the Christmas play rehearsal had to be interrupted as there were reports that “goondas”  (kind of hired thugs) were approaching the adjacent village of Buddavaram.  The day before they had stormed a school in Vijayawada and torn the library apart.  Nothing happened but the kids were sent back to their homes and the gates of the school were closed (it’s not difficult to get into the school, gate or no gate)  School hasn’t functioned properly for about 10 days because of the strikes since the teachers living in Vijayawada can’t get here and the kids from the outside can’t either.  The last two days of exams had to be put off for 5 or 6 days. Scary stuff.


afterlife…hyderabad and edinburgh

Again thinking about choosing whether or not to photograph, when i was walking about the local village of buddavaran outside the orphanage with my students, they pointed to a pastoral looking path that led to some rice fields. They told me there were often dead bodies in a ditch up there, “leftovers”  after hindu cremations, anyway i didn’t go.

…and continuing on the theme, today, ended up in this old churchyard in colinton (robert louis stevenson lived thereabouts for a while) and found this metal “sarcophagus”.  Have read that in the 17th and 18th century edinburgh citizens were so afraid of being torn from their graves (due to the grave robbing industry that kept anatomy students and professors in bodies) that the rich paid for metal coffins, so am wondering if this is one of them.

leith, old maritime graveyard

collapsing new buildings…

…I would see what i thought to be very old buildings and find a date that would show them to be only 20 years old, a combination of  speedy, shoddy building techniques and extreme pollution – the air is thick with it in the city (lots of related health problems in Hyderabad). From a car stuck in traffic i watched men demolish a building by hand with mallets, all that was left was a front facing wall, a door frame and lintel. Three men stood on the lintel, smashing away at it with hammers, at what point do they stop? when it collapses and takes them down with it? The car moved on, so i don’t know.

Notices in English for tourists in Gujarat (India)

In an Ahmedabad Hotel: Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please.. If you are not a person to do such thing is please not to read this notice.

In a Surat hotel lobby: The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

In the elevator in Hotel Tex Pallazo, Surat : To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.

In a Baroda hotel elevator: Please leave your values at the front desk.

In a hotel in Jamnagar : Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.

In a Ahmedabad hotel near Gujarat College: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

Edwards Laundry on Relief Road, Ahmedabad: Drop your trousers here for best results.

In a Bhavnagar hotel: Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is rekvested that the lobby be used for this purpose.

In a Anand laundry: Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.

In a heritage hotel at Junagadh: Take one of our horse-driven city tours – we guarantee no miscarriages.

Advertisement for donkey rides (on the famous white asses) in Rann of Kutch : Would you like to ride on your own ass?

In a 5-Star Hotel cocktail lounge in Ahmedabad: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

In the office of a Ahmedabad gynecologist: Specialist in women and other diseases.

In a Bharuch hotel: The manager has personally passed all the water served here.

hyderabad 2 and home

The first thing my driver asks me is if i am married, or if i have a “steady” Yes i have a driver, even the likes of me can afford this particular luxury over here. Hyderabad is huge, i can’t find any maps and many of the streets have no names. For someone like myself who is somewhat “challenged” in the sense of direction department, there is not much choice. Its frustrating though as i see amazing things but we cant stop because of traffic or lack of parking. I asked to be driven to the Mahboob Chowk area. My driver lets me out at a market for exotic birds (to be eaten or taken home a pets). I get out and walk around a bit, the place is horrible but kind of compelling and i want to document it, but this is the one and only time i have felt unsafe in 5 weeks in india.

I lose my driver for a bit and am seriously hassled by some street kids. I finally find my driver again and he nervously says we have to get out of the area. I could feel it anyway and I notice a strong police presence. I have become used to being an object of curiosity, of being stared at, but here the staring was less about curiosity and felt more like a threat. Apparently the old town becomes dangerous on a Friday between 12 noon till 2 or 3 in the afternoon when devout Muslims (men) say prayers and take to the street and can become antagonistic to foreigners at this time. As i seem to be the only foreigner here right now we get out of there immediately.

The Muslim festival of Bakrid is the next day. Herds of goats and sheep are penned in every available corner of the city in preparation for the festivities…

this time only 4 on a scooter…(see previous post)

All museums and palaces are closed on Fridays, and the old town is a no go area so i find myself in the only open institution. The science museum (full of broken interactive gadgets and the planetarium with a light show that is beautiful and ridiculous in equal measures. Time to fly home…

Will post more as i go through the small mountain of material i have accumulated in the last 5 weeks.