A tale of two cities

Hubby has a workshop to attend that is arranged by his company at the Hyderabad office next week. The workshop is for a week and he suggested that R and I join him so that we (R and I) can enjoy a mini-vacation at my maternal aunt's place who lives there. It's been a year since we left our home of 3 years at Hyderabad to move to Bangalore. I agreed immediately as I saw this as a perfect opportunity to spend some time with my family also revisit the city I first encountered as a new-bride.

After spending all my life in Mumbai, Hyderabad was the first other city I was to experience post-marriage. I was always open to the idea of settling outside Mumbai (with the exception of Chennai of course :-) People who know me or read my blog already know that) contrary to the popular belief that Mumbaikers find it difficult to adjust to any other city. Life in Mumbai is definitely way different from one in Hyderabad. There was no doubt about that. But having lived in one place all life, I was also longing to explore something different. Also, they city was not entirely new to me. I had had a few glimpses of the city beforehand during my visits to my aunt's. Of course a trailer is way different from the movie that plays. Here's a gist of what I experienced in both these cities.

Mumbai has a charm that holds several pieces together like a magnet. There is something about the city that envelopes everyone around into its arms and makes them feel like it is where they belong. Like a colourful painting where each figure has a meaning yet is only a part of the larger picture, the city lets you hold a separate identity yet doesn't let you feel out of place. In the daily life, the neighbours mind their own business but when the need arises even a stranger is ready to help you out. The local kirana guy knows you and doesn't mind the odd balance of money owed to him. Says, "chalega madam, kal dedijiye". A phone call to place a home-delivery-order for just a packet of bread at 7.a.m. is not ticked off, instead responded to promptly, even prompting us to place an order for things that might have skipped our sleepy minds. You can dare to go to a saree shop, toss 2 dozen sarees for an hour and step out of shop without buying any and yet not subject yourself to the wrath of the shopkeeper. All they have to say to indecisive buyers like us is," dekh lijiye, dekhne mein thodi paisa jata hain. Nahin pasand aya toh koi vanda nahin." On the flip-side, the city is over-crowded, travelling is a harrowing experience for both the seasoned and the new commuters and the weather can cause misery to many.

Hyderabad, I found, was in stark contrast to Mumbai in many aspects. While Mumbai's briskness could nudge the laziest person into working, Hyderabad could easily frustrate anyone who wished to work or get some work done. "kal aa jaata ma" is the standard reply you would get from the plumber, carpenter, electrician or the cable guy. And any one who has lived long enough in Hyderabad would know that "kal" never really means tomorrow. Kiranas never open before 11.a.m. and there is no concept of a home delivery for single items. If you think too much in a saree or dress-material boutique, the attendant may well lose his interest in you. However the city does have its fair share of pluses: spacious houses. I was floored by the sheer space to move about in both the houses we lived in during our stint. It is possible to live closer to your work place and not burn a hole in your pocket in terms of rent. That way you get to spend quality and quantity time with family after work too. Entertainment also comes cheap. You can watch a movie in a plush multiplex for a premium of just Rs.100.

For the time I spent in Hyderabad, I oscillated between the feelings of like and dislike for the city. While, I enjoyed the extra time and space, I missed the vibrancy and cosmopolitan outlook of Mumbai. It was like a give-and-take deal. But as it is with people, once you move away from a city or a person, you're able to reminisce with more fondness.


  1. nice post! I would like to see where Bangalore fits in !! That would be a cool comparison to have Bombay,Hyd and Bangalore...

    Enjoy your time at home!! Wish I was there too :) and dont you dare write to me with what mom cooked and what u ate :P :P


  2. I have been to Mumbai and Hyderabad but not lived long enough in both the places to write a comparison like this. You have brought out the differences in both the cities very clearly that I understood even though i haven't stayed long in both these places.

  3. Very balanced views, uma. I've lived in mumbai myself and i know what u say abt the city is so true. Not lived in hyd but a friend just moved from mumbai to hyd and she said exactly the same things! Hope u enjoy ur vacation!

  4. Nice summaries of both cities Uma - I've not really lived in either (Unless you count between 6-9 yrs old in Mumbai ;) ) so it was very interesting to me to get a view.

    Hyderabad is one city that I've always thought is full of culture but never got a chance to visit, unless you count a weekend when hubby was mostly working and D was so car sick we couldn't go anywhere the rest of the time :(. Looking forward to reading about your "vacation" experience of Hyderabad soon !!

    And yes, I would be very interested to have Bangalore in this comparison too ;). A combination of both maybe - cosmopolitan somewhat like Mumbai, laid back janta like Hyd ?

  5. That was an interesting post.
    We are relocating to Pune from Bangalore now.
    In that backdrop, your experiences were even more understandable. :)

  6. Secunderabad (Hyd's twin) is my native and I have a lot of memories associated with it! Baskets of mangoes, custard apples, the sugarcane juice, gol-gappas, mirchi bajjis, the sultan bazaar, tank bund,, phew!! But now, i think its a nice place to visit for a vacation. Not sure if I'd like to settle there after being in Chennai (come over.. you'll like it;))...

  7. Arvind: :-) yeah will do a Blore one sometime..
    and of course I shall keep you posted about what chitti cooked in detail..worry not..;-) muhahahaha

    Tan: Thanks Tan! glad you found it a nice read..

    Aparna: Thanks Aparna..
    When were you in Mumbai and which part? yep..hope to enjoy my vac..:-)

    Aparna: Thanks Aparna!
    You must visit Hyd for a vacation. There are some good places worth a see. Only when you stay in a place for a long time, the minuses begin to bother.
    Yes, you are right. Blore is somewhere between Hyd and Mumbai. I quite like this place..:-)

    Sahana: Thanks Sahana!
    Oh you going to Pune! is it anytime soon?

    Vidya: You from Hyd?..
    Our first house was near Secunderabad and I liked the area. Molaga bajji..yumm..and tank bund too..but nothing to beat bbay chaat!..:-)
    sure sure..will come to chennai..only for a short vac..;-) will meet up then..

  8. Long time ago!!! 1999-2000, in churchgate, as a paying guest. have very fond memories.

  9. Aparna: oh..k...I lived in the far suburbs of central Mumbai..:-)

  10. I loved reading it but I think I have loved travelling in Bombay - I love the trains..I love the buses...It is soo fun and filled with travel adventures :D :D And the rains are awesome - I love the Bombay weather in the monsoons :D


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