Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hyderabad (Day 80 Project 366)

This post was written on the 22nd of March when I was on my way to Bombay (in the train). Could not post it at the time due to connectivity issues. I am already back to Hyd now :D

It has been a while since I last wrote. I don’t even know whether I should be calling this Project 366 anymore. But I’m not yet ready to call it off. Still trying to post as and when I get to. Sometimes, I do have the time but my eyes get too tired of the computer. Or I am too sleepy to even press a key. Other times, I feel like cuddling up with a good book atleast for 10 minutes before I can sleep. Or watch an episode of “2 Broke Girls” to laugh a little. I want to be dedicated to the project but making it an everyday activity can sometimes turn it into a ‘task’. On days that you are tired that is. I am still writing though- for different things.

Life in Hyderabad hasn’t been all that good. But I do have some interesting experiences to share!

I moved into a hostel on the 12th of March. The hostel food sucks, I am paying more than what the services are worth for, and no one except the warden can speak Hindi (broken, but comprehensive). On the other hand, my room-mate is friendly and the room is quite spacious. You cannot have everything you want, can you? I am still on the lookout for good places to stay that are closer to where I work and are spacious. But now that I have bonded with my room-mate fairly well, it might make the moving harder. I might try to get her to move in with me too.  Let’s see.

Shopping is so much fun when you are alone. Never knew shopping for bedsheets would be as exciting as shopping for clothes is. I ended up spending too much on them and then felt guilty about it later. I took pictures of one of them so just tell me how beautiful you think it is (even if you don’t think so). That will rid me of the guilt :P

I will upload pictures (or a video) of the room later (when it’s cleaner :P). We have roaches in our room and are going to call the pest control people next week. One more reason why I’m still looking for better places!!

As I said before, I am not too happy with the food here. Nowhere do they serve chapaati the way we make it. I always thought “rotis” or “chapaatis” were made of wheat. You rarely get a roti that’s made of wheat here and I long for it. They use “maida” everywhere. Probably because it’s cheap. Little do they understand that it’s bad for your body and doesn’t digest easily. Or maybe they do understand but couldn’t care less to do anything about it. We aren’t allowed to cook in the hostel, and the ‘rotis’ you get outside at local curry points are all made of “maida” too. That leaves you just with one option – rice. And given the fact that I am putting on weight, having two rice meals in a day isn’t helping at all. Also, the subzi (vegetable) is too spicy.

The trouble with finding good food led Nissim and I to try cooking. Nissim is the friend I was staying with before I could move in here. He has a proper house with a well setup kitchen. So this one time, when I was at his place for dinner, we decided to cook some rice and dal ourselves. We called up his mother for help with cooking the rice and dal. And when it was time to give some ‘tadka’ to the dal, I tried calling my mom up. She wouldn’t answer the phone and eventually, I called my friend Aditi. Her mom answered and helped me with it. Somehow, even with her clear instructions, I managed to burn the curry leaves & cumin seeds. The dal was still edible though. Actually, more than just edible. It was tasty! The papad was prepared in the microwave, and we had some pickle at home.

I also stayed over once and there was nothing for breakfast so I tried boiling eggs with the help of JD & my friend Chinky's mom over the phone. And they turned out pretty well :)

The next time I go to his place for dinner, I am going to try “chapaatis”. I can make a lot of them twice every week and take them to the hostel. :D

I found a nice place (Chowpatti – Platters) that served good North Indian, West Indian and East Indian food at City Centre. It’s a mall there. The first time I went there, I was so happy and hungry that I gobbled up everything. Only halfway through the meal, I realised I could’ve taken a picture. I did anyway:

The next time I went there, I made sure I took a good shot before I could start eating:

Delicious, no?

There are a lot of malls around here- GVK One being the grandest of them all. But somehow, I like City Centre better. It isn’t so posh looking as GVK One but it has everything you need. The food, wide variety of body products (love 'em!), good stationery at Crossword (awesome craft products at Crossword of all places!! I knew they stocked stationery, but craft???), good shops that don’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Almost everything is too expensive in Hyderabad. The auto drivers refuse to go by the meter (except for the occasional honest ones) and charge you any price they think they’d get. Eating is expensive too. The Frankie you get in Bombay starts at Rs. 12 while the one here starts at Rs. 35 ATLEAST. I don’t have many options to eat around my workplace. There is a Frankie place called “Roll Call” and a Subway. Not being particularly fond of Subway, I eat at the Roll place sometimes. One veg roll costs you Rs. 45 and it’s not even that tasty. It’s so spicy that you get full just by drinking water. So I either have to pack my hostel food for lunch or get something from the local curry point which again is either “maida roti” or “rice”.

Parlours are expensive too. I wouldn’t get into the details of it but I was shocked at how steep the rates were- more than double of what they are in Bombay!!

You would think Bombay is more expensive- it being the city of "dreams" and all.. but trust me, other than land & rent, everything is dirt cheap in Bombay – unless you’re the kinds who prefers living life in total luxury.

One thing I found cheap was Naariyal Paani (Coconut Water). I had one for ten rupees the other day and told my room-mate about it. I told her I was happy and didn’t mind having one everyday. She said ten rupees for a coconut is expensive. People bargain for five to six rupees it seems. That is way too cheap. You get one for 22-25 INR here (Bombay).

One good thing is they don’t give you plastic cups at tea stalls here. They serve tea in recyclable paper cups but they are way too tiny!! :( They don’t serve tea in glasses strangely but I think that just makes it more hygienic. I have an emotional thing with having tea in chai glasses though.

Also, tea is consumed a lot more than coffee. You would think since it's the South of India, filter coffee is easily available. But strangely, it isn't. Even most tea points don't make coffee like they do in Bombay.

Coming back to malls, GVK-One has Hard Rock Cafe – one good place I enjoyed at last weekend. I have never been to the HRC in Bombay yet, strangely. I thought the place would be a little too loud for me. But I loved the music AND the company. Remember the nice people I had mentioned last time- one of whose birthday it was and I had gone to their place for dinner? I went out with them, the girl’s dad, Nissim and one more person. I enjoyed myself thoroughly. It’s too bad that it was their second last day in Hyderabad. Why do things end when they are just starting to get better?

Anyway, so HRC was fun. Amongst all the madness, the DJ played the song I requested for and he was especially happy when I went over to thank him personally. The atmosphere was joyous. The “Saturday night” effect perhaps.

So my last weekend (18th-19th) was quite eventful. Was working on Saturday and then went to HRC. On Sunday, I went for a movie “Kahaani” with an old friend and later during the day, caught up with some Twitterers at a Bombay tweetup I had organised :D The movie was good even though I had accidentally read the climax somewhere.

So, by now, I think I have summed up what I feel about the place. Work keeps me occupied. The rest of it isn’t very enjoyable but I am somehow pulling myself along. Let’s see how it goes.

Right now, I am on my way to Bombay- for three whole days!! :) Okay, almost three. Train journeys are fun. Waiting to catch up with my friends again.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

2 Broke Girls

Aditi had given me some episodes of 2 Broke Girls just before I could move here, and let me tell you- I'm hooked to this sitcom! I simply love it! <3

It is so hilarious and full of life.. you won't get bored one minute, I tell you! And it's that way right from the first episode.

I especially love Max (Kat Dennings) on the show..

Isn't she beautiful?
Though a bit plump, she manages to look drop dead gorgeous all the time!

Lately, I'm so obsessed with weight loss that I actually purchase low fat cereal :( I don't think being a little on the fatter side is bad any longer ..*cough*.. ahem.. or maybe I am just trying to convince myself..

This show totally rocks and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to get away & get a good laugh :) Thank you Aditi for the reco and the episodes!

And oooh.. I have a  secret crush on Johnny on the show-

Isn't he awesome?

He's also like the IDEAL man.. bartender+street artist+oh-so-romantic! :D

Friday, March 9, 2012

Happy Holi! :) (Day 68 - Project 366)

I can't believe I am so busy all of a sudden!!! Excuse me if this post sounds disoriented. My thoughts don't really have a proper flow today.

So, I have been busy. Though I have plenty of time on my hands after I come back from work, I am too tired to do anything..

The whole week was spent in doing work. Though I get tired, I am sort-of liking it now.   Actually, I don't know whether I am liking it or getting used to it but trying not to worry about that too much.

Bangalore was both good and bad. I'm still pretty shaken..and cannot think clearly at all.

I finally found a Lush lip scrub there:

Was looking for a lip scrub for a long time.. I had heard of Lush's Bubblegum lip scrub but didn't know they had it in Mint Julep and Chocolate too. Needless to mention, I bought Chocolate. These scrubs are edible and tasty.. I have never been to any of the Lush stores in Bombay. For a long time, I was under the impression that they don't sell in India. I was very happy at finding it at a mall in Bangalore. The product is not AS GOOD as I expected it to be. :S I don't like the fact that it's sticky, and it doesn't do the job of removing the dead skin too well. I want to try other Lush products but their prices are pretty steep. This small lip scrub cost me 640INR!

My journey back to Hyderabad was real good. I was amazed by looking at the bus interiors. I had never seen a bus like that before!

I had booked it on redBus and the bus was "Dhanunjaya Travels". The interior of the bus was completely like a Two Tier AC train coach! This was the corridor:

The left side was the single sleeper side, meaning, it had two beds each- above and below. The right side, however, was a double sleeper, meaning it had four beds- two above & two below facing each other. The bus was clean & fully air conditioned, every "compartment" had a movie screen, curtains, pillows, blankets, personal plug points for charging your laptop or phone. Except for the fact that it didn't have a restroom and that the roads were still bumpy (they are roads after all), it was even better than a train!! It was the first time I saw something like that..

 Isn't this ladder much more convenient to climb on than the side ladder in the trains? Mine was the upper berth! :)

A couple of days back, Nissim- the friend I am staying with currently, introduced me to his friend and the friend's wife. It was her birthday and we had gone to their place to have dinner twice - on the day of her birthday and a day before that.

I had a real nice time chatting with them. Laughed quite a bit after a long time. Too bad they are leaving this place soon. I told them about the "train" bus too. They thought me to be silly though. They had been on such buses before and it was nothing new for them at all. :-| Guess I was the only one :P

Today was Holi and it didn't feel like Holi at all since I had to go to work. And in any case, the festivals here are not as grandly celebrated as they are in Bombay! Nissim's mother had sent some puran polis along with him when he went to Bombay last weekend. For those who don't know, it's a dish prepared especially during Holi. It's like chapati with some sweet stuffing in it. We had totally forgotten about them and ate them just today for dinner.. and suddenly, Holi felt like Holi again :)

Perfect timing! :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Traff*cked :D (Day 62 - Project 366)

I officially hate Bangalore traffic. Was at the airport a little before 7pm last evening to attend a reception of a close family friend at this place called Jayanagar. I was all dressed up for the occasion but it took me 3 hours to get to the place and by then I was too embarrassed to enter the hall, so spent the night at a friend's place!!

The wedding, however, took place today and I donned a saree for the occasion :) It was a peaceful wedding and I made friends with this girl called Mahati. I had known her before, but we were very little then. I think I was about eight or nine when I had met her :D None of us could remember how the other looked like, and we had to be introduced again. We connected immediately and I spent the next two hours in conversation with her!

The rest of the day was pretty good too.. I am experiencing a lot of emotions at the same time. Need to breathe.

House hunting (Day 60 - Project 366)

I don't know if I've started liking the new city yet. I haven't yet got the time to really see around. The last couple of days were just spent in looking for a decent place to stay. While looking around for a good hostel/PG, we (mom and I) did a lot of walking around and the weather here didn't help at all. It is extremely hot here.. hotter than Bombay and though Bombay is hot, you atleast tend to sweat it all out. That isn't the case here. The heat gets to you. Besides headache, your eyes start to burn, water and feel heavy. You feel totally drained out. I'd strongly suggest anyone planning to walk during the daytime here, to carry an umbrella and wear something that covers your face, neck and arms. The sun will kill your skin too. Also, carry a bottle of water with you ALWAYS.

Mom left to go back to Bombay just today. We came across a lot of different places. Some were real nice & clean and some looked impossible to live in. There was one PG where mom got freaked out just by looking at a girl's makeup :D It looked to her more like a brothel house than a PG! There is one hostel that is very close to my workplace, it is very affordable, clean, provides meals and the street is full of food stalls and chai joints. The only bad thing is- they have five beds in a room- each bed the size of a mini sofa and all stuck to each other! I don't mind sharing the room with a couple of people but something like this would suffocate me greatly.

There was a really nice PG with girls from different places- mostly from the North and one Marathi speaking girl from Nagpur too! But the commute would be a problem there as the place was really far! There was one more hostel that I really liked, and the room that would be assigned to me apparently had a girl from Bombay staying there. So I'd be sharing the room with her. I had gone to that hostel again today hoping to meet her as she works late. I waited for her for somewhere over 30 minutes but she still hadn't returned from work so I left my number for her to call me. She then called me up saying she was from Calcutta and not Bombay :-| Anyway, I like the  room so will probably move there. It's slightly far from my workplace but I guess I'll manage.

I always thought living somewhere independently would be fun but this is getting really difficult and tiring :( Let's see what more is in store for me..