Going to India was probably not something within my plans if not for the event. However, it somewhat changed the way I viewed certain things. Frankly, before I went over, I envisaged cockroaches and rats running around on the hotel bedroom floor, families of ants under the bed blankets, toilets jammed and faeces overflowing from the toilet bowl, brown water coming out from the taps and shower heads that gradually changes to yellow. I brought everything imaginable to “protect me” from the creepy crawlies – insect repellent, water purification pills, Dettol, shower caps, tissue paper, toilet paper… but it was quite an overkill in the end.

You see, I actually checked into a relatively ok hotel (and rather expensive too, no thanks to the organizer) and things in there are A-OK. So everything “extra” that I got were actually not really needed. I did, however, bring lesser clothes than I thought I’d need, so that will be something that I’ll note in the future.

I guess I was also lucky enough to be sent to Hyderabad where, as NTT has touted, it is the Briyani capital of India. Indeed, the Briyani is not just the usual coloured rice with chicken/mutton and gravy poured over the rice, it is a dish where the chicken/mutton is cooked with the rice – bringing the flavour right into the heart of the rice. Paratha (prata) is also different there, where spices are added to it to give it an aromatic taste. We were however, not daring enough to try their street fare for fear of food poisoning, especially when we are not accustomed to their method of preparation.

Roads there are filled with potholes, which can be quite exciting at times when you take a ride on their auto-rickshaw as the driver swerves to avoid them. It’s also interesting to see how horning is practiced consistently on their roads where in Singapore, this can potentially be thought as an anti-social act, leading to possible fights and challenges. It was also for the first time that I saw with my own eyes how people actually run after the bus and hangs perilously on the handle bars at the exit of the bus. I have also seen how they can just jump off the bus at their destination – just like how we see it on TV. 

I also saw how a bungalow can be built right next to a slum – depicting the stark contrast between the very rich and the very poor. It is something that is probably not seen in modern Singapore. At one side of the road, people are driving huge cars while at the other end, people can be seen begging from drivers whose cars stopped at traffic junctions. I had been approached by an old lady while waiting for my driver to pick me up from Golconda Fort and apparently, if her begging fails to bring any sympathy dollars from me, she will rope in her granddaughter as well. They asked for Rs. 50, which can probably cover 2 street fare meals and if Alice and myself gave Rs. 50 each, that will probably cover 4. If they get at least 10 people to give them Rs. 50, then they will probably get about Rs. 500 a day and Rs. 15000 in a month. That’s twice of what a teacher earns in India. Eventually, we gave a small sum to which, the old lady probably just spat at. We were also told that no one will be allowed to starve in India, which we of course, have no idea how true it is.

Other than cars, buses, auto-rickshaws and bikes, we also saw camels, horses and cows strolling on the streets of India. The cows were the most wonderful lot, especially with the expressions on their face that were so kind… and seemed to say “Don’t eat me”. Streets in India were also filled with people… lots of people who walked the roads in a manner would warrant mountains of fines from our traffic police. If you are able to cross the roads in India, you would be able to cross almost any roads in the world.

There are many places which I didn’t get to explore because of my short stay in India. However, I have met many wonderful people who are most willing to help me out in difficult situations. To these people, I am most thankful. At the same time, I would also like to thank Su Min/ Derrick / Lenovo who most graciously loaned out the Lenovo U110, which, besides being a great notebook, has a cover whose carvings are good for caressing when I felt bored. The rubbery parts are also good for sinking my nails into, just like a cat does.

Many thanks to TDM / Howie / Creative for their Creative Vado, on which we have taken many wonderful videos (which Alice will be putting up soon). Its clever disguise was good enough for us to smuggle it into the museum without the security guard knowing. Kekeke… *tsk tsk* this is of course, a bad example and we have probably brought shame to the good name of Singapore… Then again, bringing it in was just to prove that the Creative Vado is light and well-disguised enough to be thought of as an MP3 player. For the record, we didn’t take any videos while we were in the museum. See? We respect the rules that they have laid. Actually, it’s because there are 4 CCTVs filming us at any point in time.

While our stay at Katriya De Royal had been expensive and probably way above market rate, we were glad to have met great staff at the lobby as well as friendly staff at the restaurant who served us food without letting us queue up for it. To this, we appreciate it a lot. Last but not least, we would also like to thank the ground crew of Singapore Airlines @ the Hyderabad Airport for retrieving Alice’s luggage when she checked it in with 4 small disposable cups of water that threatens to break open any time and wet all the luggage in the same bin while loaded in the plane.

There are probably many things which we have not been able to address in these blog posts, but do email us and we will try to cover it here. Till our next trip in Myanmar, we will be posting pictures soon that we hope you will enjoy.

Tata!



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