A friend reminded me last night that I had stopped my travelogue half was through. Thanks for that, it had totally slipped my mind. Before I continue, I must say yeah(!) to this friend again. He had the guts to let go of a great job, a job that many people would die for, and move on to a totally different field. In the course of his new job, he will get to go to places I have never heard of (I am sure he wouldn't have either!) and travel around the world. Good for you friend, I am very happy for you.
Where was I? Oh yes, I last wrote about Charminar.
Hyderabad is famous for its Nizams, its pearls and its cuisine which I find very very spicy. After a tour of the other sights our next stop in our conducted autorickshaw tour was the Golkonda Fort. Nice fort but I wasn't too impressed.
I have this new theory in life. I feel that when you travel a lot and see many places, it takes a lot to impress you. The good and the great does not hold your attention much. Its sad, but I think true.
Anyways, a path that winds through high walls takes you inside the entrance of the fort. There are people milling around the entrance. The noise pulls you back from any attempt to go back to the days when the king still looked below from his palace with his beautiful queen hanging on to his arm. We walk through chambers that used to house slaves. The guide shows us hooks to which they used to be chained and I think of The Roots. We move up different levels towards the top, stopping every now and then to take in the view, huff a bit and take a breath.
There is a photo exhibition by a French photographer in the garden below. All blown up pictures of Indian life, quite good.
The guide takes us past a little temple, shows us the impressive drainage system. We reach the top, totally out of breath. True to a typical tourist haven, there is a little tea stall which sells Lays chips and other stuff so that tourists can coveniently litter the place.
We then get to climb up a flight of stairs to see this beautiful view of the entire city. That was good. We could see Hyderabad from all four sides.
The climb down was easy for ma; she hates climbing. I hate getting down; climbing is my thing. There is this one spot on top from where you can here the sound of a man clapping at the entrance very clearly. This was how someone announced their arrival, a sort of old-age door bell, the guide says.
As we walk back to the entrance, little kids and old men trying to sell postcards throng us. We brush them off and pose for a few pictures of our own. The gardens are pretty but it is too hot to sit there even for a while.
Golkonda Fort is very famous for its sound and light show. It is much later in the evening and we go out for some more shopping at Abbids, Hyderabad's shopping centre. There is a Kannadiga in the shop we go to. He speaks the language of the north and we have difficulty trying to understand. But in a place where its harder to understand Telugu, we manage. There is a looong (by dad's standards) session of trying on pearls and bargaining and picking up elegant pieces.
We then rush back to Golkonda for the show. We are a bit late but are instantly wrapped up in history, the way Amitabh Bachchan is reciting the story. His voice is magical, no doubt. The magical story of the king, the dancer he fell in love with and way his kingdom was ruined manages to take us to the age we were trying to go to amidst the crowd earlier in the day. Now this impresses. The play of light and sound highlights sections of the ruins of the fort, music floats by and the cool wind carries the stories of the past to enchant every generation. It is then that I realise. No matter how much I travel, no matter how many places I see, life and this amazingly beautiful world, filled with magical stories and brave people, will, in one way or the other, always impress me. And also put in me a renewed desire to travel some more, to listen to the stories each fort, wall and stone has to say and impress me with sheer beauty, yet again.