Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Streets of Hyderabad.


When this trip was announced, the kids were so excited, they had started to reminisce all that they did, in their previous trips. They couldn’t recollect a lot except from their previous trip during which they had hosted a big party to all their extended family to celebrate their 6th birthday. The fun things they had done at their Nanni’s and Aaji’s home. This year they celebrated their 8th birthday with their classmates so they wouldn’t be hosting a birthday party in India.

To keep them occupied, I enrolled them in a bollywood dance program hosted by the famous Bosco and Ceaser duo of Chak Dhoom Dhoom fame. The class is good and the kids are getting accustomed to the Indian way of teaching, where the teacher’s expectation from the kids is absolute. The teachers here, are open in their evaluation of the students, expect precise and sharp moves from the kids, open in their disapproval of behavior, give out punishments to the kids if they misbehave or are inattentive by making them stand in a pose that’s uncomfortable for the kids or making them do some extra jumps and squats.. Luckily, for PNK, they haven’t been caught to be singled out like this yet,  not that my kids are not inattentive, they are, but they are too excited to be part of this new class. And they love bollywood dancing.

Other than this, they get to go around shopping with me, walking around in the crowded lanes, they feel like they belong here. They get a lot of attention too. The aura is so informal, and down to earth, the haggling and the bargaining we do at the stores, fun for them to watch. The visits to the tailors. Lots of fun. They love to adorn Indian costumes, most of them are so flattering and colorful.  But, to do all this requires  us to be driven through streets of Hyderabad with awkward moments and embarrassing situations.

Three most awkward moments are:

1. The display of the movie hoardings on the streets that are so censurable.

2. The shameless men peeing around on the city walls.

3. The amount of garbage everywhere, the common man’s civic sense, the beggars hitting on your car windows to give them some cash.

Then there is the endless traffic and the dust which is part of city life..which is acceptable

Right now in the streets of Hyderabad, there is a distasteful, hoarding of the Telugu movie that’s been released or will be released soon.  The lady has bared all her mid-region (her Saree conveniently moved aside) and the hero is peeking onto her belly button and trying to pinch her on her belly, So crude,  just short of being classified as pornographic (yeah, felt very uncomfortable describing this scene).

This is heights of embarrassment for me, as a women on the street with little kids in tow.  The kids are so curious about such hoardings. They wait for the hoarding to appear (they have memorized which hoarding is displayed on which street) and when they see it, then exclaim with disgust “Eeew, why do they have such displays here?”  I am speechless, unable to explain anything to my kids. I always wonder, how I grew up with such offensive posters displayed everywhere in the open. Maybe we had just gotten immune to it? Not sure. These repugnant banners, raises lots of curiosity among unsuspecting children on all these lewd human emotions they are not ready to be exposed to yet.

The movie censor board object’s to kissing on the lips, in Indian movies and doesn’t object such indecent posters being displayed to everybody, kids and adults alike. Such ridiculous double standards.

Although, during the current trip, I’ve found fewer posters compared to the last one. Came to know that the government is trying to ban such loathsome displays since its causing distractions to the drivers on the streets. Its high time they also consider the effect such obscene displays are having in raising a healthy society and ban them all together.

Another thing to note when watching TV programs at home, is that, there is no distinction between what advertisements are shown during what shows.  It could be a dance show, just like,  say, “Dancing with the stars” or “American Idol” where the whole family would be watching the TV together and advertisements that would be displayed range from condoms, and sanitary napkins, to soaps, and chips.

The next thing I despise, when I’m travelling along the streets with the kids are the shameless men, with uncontrollable bladders.  Almost every other wall in the city has the “Please do not Urinate here” sign painted on the walls, and you will find a man urinating right on that sign.  Show of strength? that he may not be able to live a fancy life but, has the audacity to  flout such requests.

The population on the streets is so large, of which one can find so many beggars and homeless people on the streets. Lot of them are gypsies too. They obviously, don’t have a restroom, they could go to. I’ve found pay and use bathrooms everywhere, but either they are so badly maintained to be used or people don’t have the money to pay and go there or people just don’t care.

The garbage bins are full and the municipality has no machinery or man power to be able to move this much garbage everyday or even weekly, so, they opt to burn the garbage right where it is and this causes smoke everywhere.

In the past 10 years the population has grown exponentially in Hyderabad, and with it the traffic too, but, the government machinery is the same slow tortoise that it was years ago. Leaders get elected by distributing money to the naive and poor public and promise a lot of improvements.  The whole system is so messed up that as a layman,  I can’t start to think what suggestions to give that will be workable solution and low cost too.

Still, when I look at the city with so many flyover’s coming up to beat this growth in traffic, it surely has come a long way from what it was a decade or 2 ago.  The rich have grown in number.  Especially, when one visits jewelry stores and look at the crowds there, it almost feels, like the jewelry is being given away freely. The malls are full and the food courts are so occupied. The college crowd have found new avenues to spend their time. The new malls and food courts, the multiplex cinemas.  Just the other day, the news in the paper showed a college kid, who ran off his dad’s brand new car into the Hussain sagar Lake, when he lost control of his vehicle. He was out partying with his friends. 

Hopefully, things will settle down in Hyderabad, and it will grow into a decent city.  With lot more educated people moving into the city, they will be making educated choices, the government will not be able to take people for granted anymore. Hoping for a greener and cleaner Hyderabad.

1 comment:

gayatri said...

I had just remembered an incident that happened when we landed in Tirupati. We had just reached Tirupati by flight that morning. On the way to my in-laws, we wanted to stop by the famous Bhimas to have breakfast and we had also wanted to use the bathroom. The hotel didn't have a bathroom inside. They directed to a public bathroom outside the hotel. I knew I would not be able to go there, still I ventured to go there. I could see the looks of it just as I opened the door. I still wanted to give it the benefit of doubt, and took a step inside. As soon as I did that, a big fat lizard fell down right beside me. I screamed so loud, almost puked, and left and didn't even enter the hotel again. Luckily, for us, our house was about 10 minutes away. Such is the state of public restrooms. I see why the common man just decides to go outside on the walls, on the garbage. I don't know what it will take, for the government to wake up and clean itself.