Life, as if by a wave of magic wand, seems to have screeched to a grinding halt in parts of the once walled city of Hyderabad. The usual buzz is sorely missing, streets remain deserted and all pervading is an uncertain calm that stirs memories of a forgotten period when communal violence and curfew came visiting in tandem. On Wednesday, second day of the curfew, citizens in the old city remain nervous and edgy. Small and motley gatherings hang around lane corners, youngsters either vanish into the by-lanes on being spotted or step forward to belligerently enquire the motive of visitors to their areas and women roam around in search of outlets to pick essential commodities. There has been no supply of milk and scarce is the availability of vegetables. “We are in a bad shape, even milk is not available and the drinking water supply was not there yesterday,” bemoans Suresh at Alijah Kotla. Near Purani Haveli, Ramraj Chauhan points out that a milk packet priced at Rs.13 was being sold between Rs.20 and Rs.25. “With no work for last two days and little money on hand, how do we pay so high,” he says.
For most, the threads of communal harmony are not strained due to the recent violence. Neighbouring families of Jehangir and Narsing Rao chat away the curfew blues at Etebar Chowk.
“All is fine here and there is nothing to bother us. We are comfortable as always,” says Jehangir as Rao's mother nods her assent. Some have their woes compounded severely due to curfew restrictions. Md.Raheemuddin, a senior citizen from Falaknuma has acute stomach pain and needs urgent medical attention.
Sweating profusely and frail hands shaking from the pain, he says, “a surgery planned for my ulcer problem got affected and now I am trying to go to curfew free area for it”.
This being the auspicious period for marriages, many having scheduled weddings in family for tomorrow could be seen nervously thronging the police stations for permission of some sorts.