This accounts for the myriad Hyderabadis; naturally we can’t not drink and survive? Hyderabad is truly cosmopolitan, so much so that we could not find a person who could read and write Telugu in our office at one time! And this is why we are so secular; we can and will and do celebrate every festival except maybe Moharram and Good Friday. But then who said these are festivals? We have a convenient answer as to why we celebrate any and every festival; it is to celebrate Good over Evil.

I challenge you to ask your maid as to why she wants a holiday on Ugadi/Sankranti or even Diwali. Chances are they have no clue as to the significance of the holiday. I drew the line when my Nepali cook wanted leave on Sankranti and to this day I don’t know whether they celebrate Sankranti in Nepal. She says they do and won the argument. But then she won every argument over 28 years. When I was dashing off to work she wanted to know what to cook for lunch and dinner — hardest questions for every housewife. (Ask the family and they say ‘oh! anything’ and when anything appears on the table there are groans and, worse still, silence) I tried brushing her off by saying don’t ask me now and she would retort who should I then ask, the neighbours?

Coming back to our joi- de-vivre for festivals; Holi is round the corner. Oh what fun to smear colour on anyone and everyone especially those you don’t like! Next day at office, the status symbol is how pink you are but then people in Hyderabad are already very pink now?

A well-known private company used to have a convenient party and so the setting, the bhang and the colours were already there: all you had to do was to put on white clothes (no point in wearing black where no colour will show) but alas they have stopped either due to economics or because the Head Office may have asked is Holi a Hyderabadi festival? Keep the budget for Ugadi, oops, isn’t that now for Seemandhra?

Wouldn’t it be fun if people would stop being lazy and asked outsiders (not actually in the know of these festivals) home, did some explanations and of course fed us? Naturally nobody wants to play Holi indoors and so this can happen well after or before; it doesn’t matter. Or make it pot luck or contributory like New Year parties?

I heard that in Kerala people go on holiday during Onam because no self-respecting help will be around for a week to 10 days. And of course anyone trying to diet would have a hard time because chances are we could celebrate at least 18-20 festivals if we included minor ones as well. And that is of course because we are in cosmopolitan Hyderabad and we drink the waters of Hyderabad.

The author is founder CoachLife (www.coachlife.asia)

(santhasays@gmail.com)