REVOLUTION, evolution and pollution- almost sequentially true, if history of urban life be considered. But some things remain unaffected by the seemingly epidemical modernization. Some streets remain unchanged, as do some enterprises adorning them, the proud owners of many of these enterprises and the spirit that drives these undeterred owners- some things are better untouched, just like the hospitable spirit of Hyderabad! Take the case of Sumair Bee. It is her grandson's wedding in less than a month and the grand old lady of Hyderabad, who has lived here all her life, and so has her family for the past 89 years, wishes that every aspect of the wedding be as authentically Hyderabad as money can possibly make it. While some members of the family (read youngsters) whine and mumble about her decision, the lady is proud to share that the costumes for the wedding, the trousseau, the give-aways and the upholstery have all been purchased from Hyderabad's Mecca of Zardozi - Madina. She reminisces and narrates tales of how her wedding costume was carefully hand woven by zardozi artists from the Charminar area and how she was the belle of the ball on the day of the wedding! She wants nothing less for her granddaughter and in her experienced opinion, no high end store guarantees as much finesse and grandeur! Try and argue with the hardcore Hyderabadi spirit and you shall be shown the door!
A drive through the High court road will give you access to the stretch of jalebi stalls, almost always too crowded for a glance at the man behind the counter! These stalls have been there just as long as there have been jalebi lovers in the city! For that matter, many many stores in begum bazaar and other commercial hubs like koti, sultan bazaar and madina have been there for three or more generations – impressive, given how it is so easy to get carried away by the hustle-bustle of urban life! The city of Hyderabad has its share of loyals just as it has given birth to a whole batch of innovative entrepreneurs who have come up with unique concepts, even if it means reducing the target audience to a bare minimum. Risk takers are plenty, but the sole risk for any business person is longevity, and Hyderabad surely seems to make sure they all exist, no matter what.
Another typically Hyderabadi concept is the Irani biscuit! People across the country have taken to this very fondly and it is a matter of pride that Hyderabad owns it. However don't be fooled by the craze around irani chais and biscuits, there are several other names in the sweet-tooth industry that make Hyderabad proud. Add to the list the likes of Pullareddy and country oven. While the former stands as a paradigm of pure ghee sweets the latter is Hyderabad's most popular college crowd hang out spot! Pulla Reddy has been catering to Hyderabad for decades now and the modesty despite the almost-monopolistic quality of sweet is commendable. It is one store that has its share of unrelentingly loyal customers who go there for any and all occasions.
The one thing that Hyderabad can never get enough of is the credit for its biryani. Everyone knows Hyderabadi biryani and for the connoisseurs, Hyderabad House is the place to taste heaven! The mirch ka salan, the khubani ka meetha, the haleem, the double ka meetha, and everything else typically and authentically Hyderabadi is available at the Hyderabad House much to the gourmand's delight.
From biryanis to zardozis, Hyderabad sure has many things it claims rights over! The ethnic wear that's available in the city is undeniably one of India's finest. Standing in proof of this are stores like Maqdoom brothers, which have been catering to the needs of the Hyderbadis for several decades now. Be is wedding wear or just simple ethnic men's clothing, Maqdoom brothers offers the best at a cost that will not make you think twice! Bulchand is another such store. Almost invariably every Hyderabadi can only think of Bulchand when it comes to fabrics or material shopping. Be it suitings or upholstery, this store has been long enough in the city to have made its place in the hearts of those who call the city home. Also inviting the newer Hyderabadis to its clientele, Bulchands has successfully been in Hyderabad catering to the needs of the city dwellers for years.
Coming to Hyderabad's authentic offerings, one cannot miss out on Jewellery! The world famous Hyderabadi pearls, the gold Jewellery and other forms of intricate Jewellery like the polki work, kundan and many others. Manepalli jewelers is a very loyal brand of Hyderabad that has stood by and for its customers over the years.
Owing to its nawabi roots and the culture associated with it, our city is also known for its art and crafts. It is an eclectic collection of craft works with a unique touch to it. Stores like sheela's have been catering to the craft enthusiast of Hyderabad.
The automobile industry is another industry that is upcoming but rapidly so. Several world class brands have established contact with the city and it is but a matter of pride that within a short span of three years our city houses the likes of Audi, Volvo and Volkswagen! What is all the more incredible is that fact that in all of India, our city was chosen to house the one and only store of the Harley Davidson. It is also worth a mention that very soon another giant in the automobile industry is to set up a store in the city!
Let's not miss out on perhaps Hyderabad's first claim to fame- Ramoji Film City! It brought Hyderabad much recognition on the world level and has propelled the entertainment/recreation factor in the city to quite an extent.
While there are several options now available within the city, the first mall in the city- Prasads steals the show when it comes to popularity! It has been and still continues to rule the roost in attracting the masses- elders and youngsters alike!
Summing it up, it is an observation well made that many Hyderabadis who have been living outside the city for a few years almost always come back to its irresistible spirit. If one sits to understand why, it could be the inate hospitality and friendliness in the people, the undeniable charm of old school nawabi culture, not to forget the cuisine and all its sinful delights, the little touches of Hyderbadi'ness in terms of mannerisms, parlance, attitude and habits, and if it would not be too unpardonable, the stereotypical but idiosyncratic Hyderabadi “punctuality”.
The city's influence on its people is just as strong as the reverse of it. WE sure have come quite a distance since days of war and forts, but fact remains that the city does not fight change or relegate remnants of history as obsolete.
Such is the spirit of Hyderabad- a place where new is welcome and old is cherished, a place where malls mushroom every fortnight (well… thank god for creative licence) and where audis and mercs visit irani cafés. We as Hyderabadis could not resist the temptation to pay back to our dear city this friendship's day and so here we are, commemorating the true friends of the city and wishing for them to be FRIENDS FOREVER!
- Divya Bhat
The city of Hyderabad has its share of loyals just as it has given birth to a whole batch of innovative entrepreneurs who have come up with unique concepts.