We left England to experience India, whilst running our business on the road. Here’s a summary of the first 2 weeks…
The searing temperatures reached 46 degrees during our stay in Hyderabad. This is incredibly hot–even by India’s standards. As we rode around in auto rickshaws, we could feel our skin burning as the heat reflected off the road.
Without air conditioning or shelter, many of the poorer Indians are left to perish. We heard news reports of 11,000 Indian’s dying from the heat that week (late May), and retreated, gratefully, to our air conditioned hotel.
Staying in the neighbourhoods of Hitec city and Jubilee Hills was a shock. We had read that these are considered nice neighbourhoods, yet the condition of the roads, piles of rubbish, and people sleeping on the streets made us feel otherwise.
We were welcomed into a co-working space—Collab House—like long lost friends. We joined the team for meals and stories in Film Nagar (where some Bollywood stars live) and bunked off for an office outing to historical Golkonda Fort. We were touched by the hospitality of this great bunch of entrepreneurs.
We’ve eaten spicy food at every meal—even breakfast—and have yet to get bored of it.
Despite our concern about eating only vegetarian food before we arrived in India, we were amazed at how delicious the food was. Also, contrary to what we’d imagined, ‘non veg’ dishes were available in most places, with options for chicken or mutton. We had ‘Meals’ many times; lots of small pots of different dishes and unlimited rice. It’s also known as ‘Thali’ in north India.
We ate authentic Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani on day 7 (we braved meat for the first time since landing) from well known restaurant; Paradise. Maybe we caught them on an off-day, but Paradise isn’t all it’s made out to be – flies, bad service, and average flavour. As with anything, you can have mixed experiences, even when you take advice or read reviews.
On my birthday, we went to see a film of my choosing. We saw Tanu Weds Manu Returns; an excellent light hearted Bollywood film in the native language of Telugu. Neither of us realised it didn’t have subtitles until we got to the cinema. We went for it anyway, and enjoyed it so much we want to watch it again—with English subtitles!
We wandered around Shilparamam market to barter for the Indian Kurta I’m pictured wearing. As with lots of cultures, bartering is normal, so we got right into the swing of things and got it for 270 rupees – 2.70 GBP.
Then we negotiated a 2km journey in a shared auto to Inorbit mall. We had forgotten our cash, so it was literally all we had. We should have paid 8 rupees each but they took 10 rupees for us both. We felt bad, but were grateful, even if the auto driver begrudged it.
We enjoyed our stay in Hyderabad. I’d love to have a video diary of our facial expressions from our first few weeks in India; we were shocked and disgusted in parts, and delighted in others. But hey, this is India… there is more of this to come! We often repeated to each other during this time; ‘we ain’t seen nothing yet’.
P.S. For all you Hyderabadi’s – yes we did go to see Charminar, but I’ll save that story for another day… (it involves swearing).