Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A big day today

Today turned out to be quite a significant day in my life for three reasons.

First of all there are two people out in the world that read my blog and posted comments. A big thank you to them and I will try and reply to your mails as soon as I get some time. When people post comments it has a ripple effect - it motivates me to keep writing and it also gives me new topics to write about. So all you people out there who happen to read my blog do keep your comments flowing in.

Secondly my blog introduced me to another person who happens to be in Hyderabad and have exactly the same name as me - yes he also goes by the name Sudeep D'Souza. Well, its quite wonderful to know that in this world of over 6 billion people there can be someone who has the same first name and last name as yours and also live in the same city.

And the third reason is that I got myself into google. Feels pretty good to get listed there although I know it is pretty far fetched that someone would type in "sudeep D'Souza hyderabad". And I am sure there are many of you out there that might say "What's so great ? Google can search for just about anything". What ever - it feels good to be listed there when you seach for something and secondly it seems to be the only thing that has brought some traffic to my blog.

So to the two of you that commented on my blog I dedicate this blog entry to you and thank you for making my day.

Friday, August 26, 2005

How do you ease traffic ?

Traffic in Hyderabad is getting worse each day and the solution every one can come up with is road widening and building a flyover. But these are such short term measures - one shorter than the other. The reason I say one is shorter than the other is for the following reasons.

Let me first tell you the drawbacks of road widening
- They are taking away space from the driveway of the building. So where does every one exit their vehicles - there is just one place the road.
- They are reducing the parking in the buildings - so where do you park your vehicle - just one place the road.
- They are removing the sidewalk - so where do you walk - just one place the road.

As you can see that the road that just got expanded at the expense of the tax payer has got used for all the things except what it was meant to be used for. This is a story played out on so many of the roads that have been widened yet there are more and more proposals to widen roads.

Road widening is no solution. To a lesser extent building flyovers does ease traffic but as every large city in the world has realised that building flyovers never really reduces the amount of traffic. They are expensive and very short term and the cost does not justify the duration of their utility.

The other reason is that the number of vehicles is not going to reduce so very shortly the little space that got added in the road widening and the additional space that got created due to the fly overs is used up. We built flyovers about 6 years ago and widened roads constantly but it still does not ease traffic and we have never sat back and wondered do these measures solve our problem?

So what is the solution? There is only one solution to an urban transportation issue and that is a well planned and well co-ordinated public transportation system. What I mean by a well planned and co-ordinated public transportation system is that all the government agencies should come together and devise a comprehensive plan where they complement each other when it comes to urban public transport and not compete against one another. These agencies function using the tax payers money, I have no idea why they cannot come together to build a system that would benefit the tax payer.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Hyderabad - The land of Biryani

Biryani - A must have for all those who visit Hyderabad. There are a lot of places that serve biryani and in all the years that I have been in Hyderabad I have never been to two places that serve the same kind of biryani. There is a biryani that is called Hyderabadi Biryani but to be frank I never really made out the difference. For all the historians that are food lovers here is one version of the Biryani Story. But then for those that want a Hyderabadi twist to the story here is another version. Well I did a search of Google and I got another story altogether. Enough about the history - let me get down to where one can find some good biryani to eat.

The best Biryani to date that I have had at a price that would hardly pinch your pocket is Cafe Bahar. Its address is - Cafe Bahar, Old MLA Qtrs Road, Hyderguda, Hyderabad. The best way to enjoy the biryani is to take the biryani home and eat. The place is not the cleanest place you would want to be eating your food and neither does it provide the ambience unless you are willing to eat with a zillion people milling about you among a cacophony of voices around. The biryani is excellent and is worth trying out.

Another good place to try out for some excellent biryani is Bawarchi. Its address is - Bawarchi, 66, Alambad Industries Area,RTC Cross Rd. This place has a multi-cuisine restaurant a roof restaurant and a restaurant to just eat as quickly as you can. Once when I visited this place a guy came in ate his biryani and did not have the money to pay and the guys in the restaurant started to abuse the poor chap and the best part was everyone around the man continued eating their biryani's as if nothing was happening around them. That’s how engrossing their biryani can be.

In the old city around the historic Charminar are quite a few places of repute. One of them is Hotel Madina and another is Hotel Parwaaz. But if you happen to go to this bustling part of town there are enough of small road side joints that offer you the best biryani around. The problem with most of these places is that they do not have a decent place to sit and have the biryani but don’t let this deter you from trying out the stuff.

In the Secundrabad area there is always Paradise. The biryani here used to be excellent but of late its kind of gone lower in my list of places that give the best biryani. Nevertheless it is worth trying out and they have different restaurants to cater to your pocket and taste from a garden to a multi-cuisine to an open kind of a shop.

For a more Andhra kind of a biryani there are a couple of places in Ameerpet that are worth mentioning and one is FishLand for is fish and prawn biryani and Anupama for its chicken boneless and fish biryani. Be warned these places have fiery hot biryani guaranteed to give you a Fiery Hyderabad Belly.

If you really don’t feel like leaving the luxury of your home then you can order for the biryani to be delivered to your doorstep. Hyderabad House delivers Biryani and other Hyderabadi delicacies to your doorstep or you can also go and pick it up at the numerous outlets that they have around the city.

For those of you that think you may have missed out Biryani during the day - well don't worry. Green Park at Begumpet provides you some of the best Hyderabadi food that there is to offer during the night. Their Midnight Buffet starts at 11:30 and goes on till the wee hours of the morning and the center of this buffet is a lovely biryani. This is an experience worth checking out.

Phew - This is like just the tip of the iceberg of places that serve good biryani. Now once you get here what kind of Biryani do you have - well that’s for another article on another day.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

An evening out - Hussain Sagar Lake

An evening out on Hussain Sagar Lake is something that most visitors that come to Hyderabad have to experience. In this article I intend to outline as to what would be my schedule for an ideal evening by this lake.

I would like to start my evening at around 5:00 in the evening and that would be at the Lumbini Park on the banks of the lake. From here there is boating (speed boat and a launch) which provide one with magnificient views of the Buddha Statue that is located on an island in the middle of the lake. For the more adventurous para-gliding is offered. The children have ample space to play here with a jungle gym, swings and a small toy car that goes on a track around the park.

After spending a couple of hours at this park I would head for the musical fountain show that is to one side of the park. This is located in a well constructed amphi-theater but one needs to make sure that they are not sitting in direct blast from the rather large speakers that belt out desi hits to which the fountains dance. There is also a lovely laser show which walks us through the history of how Hyderabad came into being and where we are now. This show goes on for about half an hour.

From here one can then head to the NTR Gardens that is situated on the other side of the road to where Lumbini Gardens is located. This park has some very well laid out gardens and it also has a water slide that is set in a large fake tree. There is a toy train in this park and getting onto this train will pretty much give you a train eyed view of the entire park.

By now it should be about 9:00 in the night and you must be thinking of food by now. From here head to the Necklace Road to a food plaza called Eat Street that is located on the banks of the river. Here you can get pretty much all the kinds of cuisine that can be had in Hyderabad from the Hyderabadi-Indian-Chinese to the Chat and the Idlis/Dosas/Vadas combination and the ever so mouth watering Biryani. But my choice would be the chat.

One can then choose to stroll along the banks of the lake enjoying the serenity and the soothing of the cool breeze. There are lovely well maintained lawns to relax in. This is a long strech of road along the lake that connects the two cities namely Hyderabad and Secundrabad. Almost the entire strech is well developed with lovely walkways to stroll away the evening.

Some things to keep in mind when here
- Preferably avoid the place on weekends as it gets extremely crowded. There is enough room for a lot of people but if it can be avoided then that is advisable.
- There is food available at Lumbini Park and at NTR Gardens but I would try and avoid it until I get to eat street that has a much better choice of food.
- You will face a lot of beggars, hawkers, auto rickshaw drivers and if you are very lucky a eunauch. Just walk away unfazed and they will eventually leave you alone. In case of any issues there is a police station situated on the Necklace Road.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Alankrita - An ethnic getaway

About 25 km outside Hyderabad towards Gandipet lies a peaceful serene and beautiful getaway called Alankrita. It's developed based on the ethnic theme and the surroundings and the ambiance reflects the theme. What's nice about the place is the greenery around and you can actually hear birds chirping which is a real pleasure when you consider that the only things you hear in the city is the cacophony of horns.

They have different types of rooms - they have double rooms to cottages. The cottages are nicely tucked away in the trees and there is a lot of privacy offered. They are quite spacious with a nice luxurious bedroom with a small dressing room and a pretty large bath. Even the rooms are well laid out with nice views to be had.

The place has three restaurants pretty much serving all the different kinds of Indian food that you can wish for. We did not try out any of the continental or Chinese fare on offer. Two of the restaurants are partly open air and one of the restaurants is indoors. One of the restaurants is vegetarian the other restaurant is tandoori food and the third restaurant is multi cuisine. There is a lot of fresh juice on offer.

There is a lot to do here. They have snooker tables, carrom tables, a swimming pool that is covered so it is never too hot to get into the water and there are table tennis tables and a ground where a larger group can play field sports. So there is never a dull moment. There are a lot of lawns and walkways around the place to just go out for a stroll too.

For those that are more adventurous there is an ayurvedic massage parlor. I had a massage myself but to tell you frankly it was not that great. Maybe from all that I have heard about massages I was expecting to feel rejuvenate and relaxed but I did not feel anything like that. I am not sure if I was expecting too much. But it is an experience that those that have not experienced may just want to try out.

On the whole it was an enjoyable weekend. Would I go back ? Definitely would be the answer in one word. Would I recommend it to someone to get away for the weekend. Definitely - would be my answer again.

You do what you are

In the 2001 movie Along came a spider, there is an interesting quote by Morgan Freeman where he says "You do what you are" and the...