Hyderabadu…

Friday, March 18, 2016

“Papa – when I grow up, I will build a house on this plot…”

I was walking my son, Krtin, to the bus stop to go to school… so that he could get a decent education and realise all those dreams that he had started sharing with me…

We had just passed by a vacant plot in Palam Vihar, Gurgaon where I had lived ten years of my life… a plot, which was 6 slots away from my own… in the same row of houses…

Krtin… all of 7 years of age had started dreaming early… wanted to be Shahrukh Khan… a limousine – which he fancied he would drive himself… and a bungalow big enough for him, his wife and his two children… a boy and a girl…

But… he does not want to be a Software Engineer… sob…

——————–

“Softuwaeraaaa”…? (Are you in the Software Technology world?)

A typical first question that you get if you are from the hinterlands of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh… and where the hinterlands converge into the megapolis called Hyderabadu… and where the embryo in any womb is deemed to be a Software Engineer when the sperm meets the egg…

And where 4 questions are invariably asked at any public gathering… like a private wedding of your cousin where the person asking the questions is remotely… yet celestially connected to you…

In the Hyderabadu scheme of things… a private wedding is a public gathering primarily because you end up meeting hordes of your uncles, aunts, their cousins and their kids… half of who descend into Hyderabadu in a wedding season that cosmically coincides with the vacation time for schools in California… and where weddings are grounds to juxtapose the dollar lives in the Bay Area… over those that are lived by lesser mortals who got it all wrong right at the embryo stage…

If you answered Question 1 in the positive, the next obvious question does not stupefy you…

“Statesaaaa”…? (Are you living in Uncle Sam land?)

Well, if you are not… then you are computed toe to top in half a glance… and dismissed as a denigrated vermin… worthy of a wayward life no worse than a weasel’s…

Well, if you are… then let’s go to Question 3…

“Caru Emiti… Corolla aena”…? (What’s the car that you drive? Is it the Toyota Corolla?)

Now, that is a very intelligent question… the word has travelled fast… on the States-side, statistically… Toyota has sold more Corollas to the engineers from India… than any other virtuous holders of a Green Card or a Green Lantern… and in the hierarchy of the oft-compared dollar lives… much more than what Pinky Kapoor or a Sweety Khanna would compare in Delhi… you are firmly established as either a starter or a struggler… if you are on a Corolla…

And then the final probe…

“Ownu Housaaaa”…? (Do you own your house in the States?)

With this set of 4 linear questions duly dealt with… you may now go ahead and bless the bride and the groom… who are prepping to go to the Bay Area after the wedding… after their honeymoon in their parents’ Himayatnagar home in their very own Hyderabadu…

I normally do not find this Uncle or the Aunt who asked me these questions after the dinner… as their sole purpose of attending the wedding is to figure out how many amongst the gathering live a dollar life… and how their daughter – in particular – can find a prospect groom from the US of A…

And my children… now both in their teens… come out blessed and confused in equal measure after each of such occasions… they had some early introduction and orientation to the American accent in some of these weddings… where my cousins and their kids would talk in the accent… the first thing that they pick up when they land in San Jose… and the accent lingers on for a good few weeks after the wedding is done…

These days I find myself more in weddings of my cousins’ kids… a definite sign of me growing up… but the accents are stronger… as now it’s not just my cousins… but their kids who want to come back to their parent-land and experience a Hyderabadu wedding… the honeymoon destination has changed from Himayatnagar to Hitech City… and my children have now grown indifferent to the American accent…

Very early on in life… both of us having grown up and away from the most happening lives of our cousins in Hyderabadu… my wife and I had decided against Hyderabadu as a place where we would like to build our nest… solely relying on the statistics published in our family chronicles… categorically 75% of my wife’s and 50% of my cousins live there… and the rest of them get continually Californicated… moving on and living in the Bay Area…

Well… we have nothing against our cousins… we have enough love between us as long as we are seven rivers apart… and despite most survey results that keep pushing Hyderabadu as the most liveable city in the country… we just cannot seem to muster enough courage to think of the city for our probable current living… or even a retired existence…

——————–

“And why would you want to build a house away from our own house just 6 plots away, Krtin…?” I had asked my 7-year old son that morning…

“When I grow up, I would like to live by myself and my wife and 2 children… one boy and a girl…”, he replied immediately…

“But we already have our house here… you can always live with me when you grow up… and your family as well…”, I had said…

“But you do not live with Taatu (grandfather)… and Nannamma (grandmother)… they live separately…”, Krtin had looked into my eyes when he said this…

And he saw some mist… undeniably…

I thought of giving a justification… I have a job in Gurgaon… my father still works after retirement in Delhi and he finds it convenient to travel by the Delhi Metro and how Gurgaon would be inconvenient for him… how my mother’s life is entwined with my father’s… etc… etc… etc…

My parents went nuclear after they had 3 children… wholly owing to better job and career prospects… when they moved from a small town called Chittaranjan in West Bengal to New Delhi…

I went nuclear after I married Smee, my wife for 19 years now…

Is Krtin flying away too young as he goes to his residential school in 2 weeks from now… will he come back to the nest and live with Smee and I more permanently at any time in the future… will his life be around us… will our lives be around his… and his sister’s…?

“But don’t worry Papa… you can always come to my house sometimes and stay with me on Saturday and Sunday… like Taatu and Nannamma…”

Krtin had said… just before he boarded the bus… that morning…

Happy Weekend…

Ravi Kodukula

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One thought on “Hyderabadu…

  1. Sad but true!
    I could so very well relate to it, ” software aa?”
    Best line
    ‘Well, if you are not… then you are computed toe to top in half a glance… and dismissed as a denigrated vermin… worthy of a wayward life no worse than a weasel’s…’
    Ask me about it 😛

    Nice post 🙂

    Like

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