Hyderabad is truly an amalgam of two very different yet uniquely related worlds. On one side we see the cascading waves of the modern world drawn in by the advent of the software industry and on the other side we still struggle to keep our feet clean while walking its many tiny formidable gullies. Where on one side we see the immaculately royal gold leafed facades of the Nizam’s palace, there on the other side we have the extremely cluttered yet overwhelmingly beautiful street markets of the old city. Needless to say Hyderabad has always captured our imagination in some way or other.
During my short yet acute fling with Hyderabad, Charminar was a truly unique experience. One random afternoon after spending three weeks in this city working behind a draggy computer screen, my friend and I finally mustered the courage to make this excursion. And just to ginger it up a little we decided to take a bus to the area. As the sophisticated brick and glass buildings gave way to smaller and older edifices, my eyes flitted across the rapidly changing skyline. The sudden change in the demeanor of the city from a sophisticated maiden to a raw untamed beauty is staggering. The old city stands still in time, bearing testimony to the past of the city, adding character of the personality of Hyderabad.
As I am stumbling down the streets, bumping into people exhibiting a rather perfect lack of coordination, making my way to the Charminar, I can’t help but be swept by the different stimulus to the senses. The streets are buzzing with activity, vendors hooting to sell their fares, little children running along trying to keep up with their parents, livestock idling lazily, street-hawkers maneuvering their fares with expert coordination. There is noise, there is mismanagement… there is complete and utter chaos.
This chaos haunts you with diligence till you reach the central structure, Charminar. Then just like the eye of the storm, there is a sudden sprig of calmness at this epicenter, a breather for the wayward traveler struggling to draw his bearings. And finally, after the arduous task of making our way to the structure and climbing its winding staircase to make our way to the top, we finally took a breath of relief.
We finally had a bird’s eye view of the pandemonium unfolding downstairs. The noise was drowned out to some extent giving our fried brains a while to catch up with what was happening. Turns out the streets which tormented us on our way here are not that disorganized. There was order here after all. The Charminar is a central location and around it four streets diffuse out, each with its unique features. While one boasts of the most delectable delicacies designed to cater every fussy palate, the other street flaunts proudly its collection of shimmering Pearls of the highest quality. While one section is famed around the city for its colorful platter of Hyderabadi Jutis, the other is known for its range of clinging bangles. Whether it was the serene calm courtyard of the mosque dotted with pigeons or the heady aroma of the local perfumer brandishing his collection of natural Ittars, from top of this little tower, everything looked like they belonged.
We always tend to look at life through the window of our rigid views; from the filter of our likes and dislikes. But we forget that our perspective greatly influenced by our life experiences is limited. It is never the whole picture. One has to only keep an open mind to see the other side… one has to only climb to the highest room of the tallest tower to see an inherent order in the apparent chaos.
Photo Credit : Saajanpreet Singh
Location : Hyderabad, India