Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hyderabad, hyperabad

Hyderabad, hyperbad. Avarice and opulence uncomfortably in bed with destitute poverty. With giant domed palaces the color of nectarines. Bulbous onion and radish domes, alongside cucumber minarets, towering majestically over a river of shit- a cesspool with a current, in which regal cranes fish for a polluted dinner. Street sweepers gently dusting street sleepers. The home of the palace-cum-museum of Salah Jung, that gently guards the treasures of a mysterious land. Intricate lacquer tables with mother-of-pearl inlay. Jaded jade statues of Ganesh laughing at the bronzed Shivas. Gilded millennial manuscripts in Arabic, Turkish, Persian and Urdu of Islam's precepts.

Hyderabad, hyperabad. A symphony of din, a cacophony of shrill noise. The evening rush hour symphony in g-minor. It begins with the purring of motorcycles and motobikes. On the side of the road, a gentle tap-tapping of masons carving away at marble soon fills the air. In comes the incessant honking of impatient horns from the yellow three-wheeled chariot rickshaws. The flutes and whistles of the poor traffic policeman trying to conduct this madness. Then the crescendo of the giant bus horns, emanating from giant sardine cans on wheels, practically spilling its contents into the street. Mozart himself could have never dreamed this concerto up.

Hyderabad, hyperabad. An amazing juxtaposition of Hindu and Muslim. Death-out-on-a-stroll women dressed head-to-toe in black, but with stylish, fancy heels. Waiting next to them for a bus is a rainbow of saris. Pure veg restaurants neighbors with kabab shops. Cyberbad, as it is affectionately known. An IT hub that jockeys with Bangalore (u) to be the silicon valley of India.

I'm fighting a losing battle with the muse, as she is omnipresent in this enigmatic upside-down pyramid of a sub-continent.

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