Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hyderabad Diary: Traffic tremors and Biryani jolts

The traffic nightmare: When I landed up in Hyderabad about 8 months back, I used to leave in the morning, with a prayer on lips and hope in the heart that I will be able to survive city's traffic and come back alive.Thankfully things are not any worse now. the fear has gone from the heart, but wading through traffic is still a nightmare.

Hyderabadis lack even the basic sense of commuting as far as road travel is concerned. Many a times, traffic jams here are caused due to utter stupidity of divers and the ultimate desire of 'Need for Speed'. Large numbers of auto drivers, who are equally reckless (and play very loud Himesh Rshamiya numbers), do not help the conditions. To give the devil his due, AP Traffic Police is pretty efficient, though I feel they could be more strict and would do well to regulate city autorickshaws.

Funniest sight: An APSRTC bus trying to sneak away on HiTec City crossroads.

Biryani delights: Times Of India, Hyderabad (perhaps the only newpaper in the world which doesn't have an editorial page and uses its editorials as fillers!) is conducting a contest in which readers will vote for their favorite Biryani joint.

Hyderabad is famous for its Biryani, both veg. and nonveg. I won't be exaggerating, if I say that it is one of the symbols of the city along with Charminar. Almost all the anglo-hindi movies based in Hyderabad (e.g. Hyderabad Blues (HB) and HB2 or 'The Angrez') feature songs about Hyderabad and Biryani finds its place of pride in them. Andhra Pradesh's tourism sites too mention Biryani very prominently. For recipes you can Google it out.

I have been trying to get a piece of this culinary culture by trying to relish veg. Biryani across the city restaurants. Though this has had an impressive impact on my weight and paunch, anything for the sake of serving society!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A realization and an apology!

The euphoria about 'Gandhigiri' had initially turned me off!

I am one of those who firmly believe that media has got yet another buzzword to fill the bulletins and telecast 'specials' about.

And as I have understood over the years that there is no buzzword more powerful than that given by a superhit movie. Afterall it's a win-win scenario. The movie rises above its reel life and aquires a halo as we are force-fed the fact that movie has its significance in real life as well. And as we watch the news channel mesmerised by the movie and at times the stars who are appearing on news channels as much as (well almost!) movies, someone counting the channel TRP grins wider.

The euphoria about 'Gandhigiri' had initially turned me off. Initially!

But now I have realized that I am getting a clearer picture of whole issue.

As much the news channels and their analysts claim that Gandhi has been reinvented by the movie 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' and 'Gandhigiri' is going to reinforce his values among society, I believe:

1) The sudden spurt of news and 'impacts' of Gandhigiri are not actually new: Any news about demonstration against injustice which was a drab 'aandolan' or 'protest' till the other day is now presented with a chuckle as an instance of 'Gandhigiri'. Is Satyagraha new to this country? For any protest Indians take the tried and tested path of peaceful protests (read sloganeering which occasionally gets violent!) or civil disobedience which is nothing but strike. Candle marches started by 'Rang De Basanti' is just another variant of peaceful protests. So isn't any 'Gandhigiri' headline, about protests, is not just a way to grab eyeballs? (I was very much tempted to use Gandhigiri in title for this blog also!)

2) Media has got a very unidimensional view of Gandhi's policies: Was Gandhi only about non-violence? I agree that preaching non-violence and propagating its virtues in the world was the core of his ideology and that this is most relevant in today's world divided on numerous lines. But what about his ideas about truth, honesty and religious tolerance? Are these values too outdated to be even considered? Then why do these values seem to be untouched by 'Gandhigiri' movement?

Perhaps this is the time to glorify these values as well.

Finally, it's time for an apology. To a man who could have made his way in history had he lived a little longer. A politician who resigned from the post of railway minister after a train accident claiming it was his responsibility. A Prime Minister who lead India from the front during a war and belied his physique with his governance.

There was no mention of Lal Bahadur Shastri's birthday on Oct 2nd, even in the news scrollers of news channels. Afterall there is no 'Shatrigiri' in any movie!