Hyderabad Mornings: A Symphony of Sights and Sounds

The clock nearly ticks to 7:47 a.m. on an autumn morning in one of the most significant Deccan plateaus of India. A moist breeze gently taps on cheeks now and then to give a quite natural blush. A shopkeeper lunges upwards to open a shutter at the corner. His face is as insignificant as the routine itself that deftly hides his ‘business as usual’ poise.  A few pigeons scramble up and down with rhythmic flight like fighter jets only to settle in a nearby churchyard for a sunup peck. A group of morning walkers homeward trudge with occasional bursts of laughter that may wake slumbering neighbors. Even a solitary crow at the top of an iron post seems to ring in the ears of those drowsed in bed with its crowing alarm. The mason beats the monotonous routine by listening to songs on a mobile. A host of house sparrows descends in a scurry for yet another quick peck. A Boeing skywards jets off whining for a faceoff with an impending turbulence swiftly sinks into an overcast sky. School buses frequently wheel past lanes that are mostly devoid of speed bumps granting drivers to breathe an air of speeding license behind the wheel. The chirping of Indian robin and myna brings harmony from time to time while the red- vented bulbul whistles to alert dreary netizens. A pack of street dogs indulges in a respite on a select quarter of the street after an action-packed night that includes a scuffle with their neighbors. A lone cat runs across hastily to the other side of a row of houses taking advantage of its rival’s forty winks. A paper boy riding a bike unusually delivers newspapers with an accurate throw on a porch or terrace that is almost 20 feet above as onlookers look in awe at his adroitness. His skill is reminiscent of the javelin throw of the world champion, Neeraj Chopra of India. Perhaps, destiny is cruel to him or else he would have become like Abdul Kalam, the former president of India or an eminent person. One is also reminded of the unsung heroes in Gray’s “Elegy Written in a country churchyard”. A milkman does one more round to deliver packets of milk to an impatient few residents. It’s another misty lively morning in Hyderabad with the sun clutching behind a thick ash-layered cloud just as a child clinging to his mother.  
                        Come autumn, the flowers of ‘Tangedu’ (Cassia auriculata) paint yellow, the streets with its pristine bloom. It has a cultural and spiritual significance indeed. It is tagged as the poor man’s flower as it reflects the lives of humble and lowly folk, particularly in rural Telangana. Moreover Tangedu has spiritual significance as it resembles the Goddess Parvathi and instills brotherhood. It is believed that women who wear it will stay protected from the prying lustful eyes. Even the newly wedded offer these flowers as ‘bonam’ (offerings) to the Goddess under a Tangedu tree and during Bathukamma celebrations. In addition, it has a medicinal value. Finally it epitomizes the innocent and suppressed people of Telangana. 
Tangedu Blooms: Telanagana's official flower's brushstrokes on Hyderabad streets.

Interestingly enough, the flower ‘Tangedu’ has rags to riches fairy-tale. It was elevated to a prominent position as the ‘State Flower of Telangana’, India when the northwestern part of Andhra Pradesh was separated and a new 29th state called ‘Telangana’ was carved out in 2014. Just as the Tangedu, the rise of Telangana State has been phenomenal since the bifurcation as it is top ranked of all the Indian states with the highest per capita income in 2022-’23 because of its futuristic vision in less than a decade. The state has also attained nearly half of its gross earnings target for this fiscal 2023-’24. The real estate particularly in the capital city of Hyderabad has recorded a tremendous growth of 260% in the luxury housing segment during the first nine months of fiscal year 2023 – 2024 but most importantly, Hyderabad is renowned not just for IT services but also a focal point for electronics manufacturing, emerging technologies, defense as well as aerospace sectors. 

A cool yet an eventful morning in the city of pearls unravel sights and sounds that may be ignored by laymen unlike a keen observer whether indoors or outdoors. Though sparrows are on the verge of extinction especially in Hyderabad, these few inherit crevices or roofs of buildings as proud occupants little realizing that they trespass roof spaces. While owners are mindfully oblivious of their presence, their offspring turn mischievous by playfully scaring them off with high pitched voices just as shrill whistles of a train; few at times venture to thoroughly search their straw build nests out of curiosity as undercover agents. It’s also a significant time for these little smart birds to start a family once again unlike humans. Canines take cover under the wheels of lined up vehicles to rest and avoid being caught by dog catchers. Even if a stray catching van launches its attack, they instinctively make long strides towards escape routes with tails tucked between legs, pricked ears and dilated pupils barking peculiarly thereby sending distress signals to the neighboring dogs so that every dog has its day. Once they sense the lurking danger is gone, they re-enter into their respective lanes from nowhere by sniffing the van route with uneasy calm and extra alertness until they regain their cool to live yet another day for intermittent brawls with neighbors. On the other hand, the dogged persistence of dog catchers’ efforts mostly goes in vain as they don’t mean business while each street is almost teemed with a pack of dogs despite complaints against strays keep pouring up in the municipal corporation.

A confluence of white, red and yellow flowers deck and transform the city’s landscape. The White flowers of chandni spread across bushy plants only to be plucked and gently dropped on puja thali (tray/container) or on the left cupped hands of devotees to offer daily rituals. The red trumpet shaped budding pomegranates is in fine contrast with Tangedu: Indeed, these flowers bring morning tranquility though passersby unintentionally fail to gaze at them. While some fall on the cars lined up majestically in front of a row of gated flats as if a VVIP were paying a visit to the neighborhood but the stark reality is that they lack parking lots: a bleak reminder to a dense modern city wrestling for space. On the other hand, the rhythmic sweeping and spraying of water in front of houses or flats that look like box houses add to the sunrise chorus. A handful of laymen with newspapers jostled at a tea stall over a stimulating sip of hot drink that eventually kick starts their first spell of the day. Vegetable vendors conveniently trespass the rims of the roads of city centers to trade for meager profits in order to make a living though at times have to pay a price to a traffic policeman for breaking the law. Despite a negligible loss and stoic resistance, they enliven the vicinity with a hustle and bustle that resembles a mini-mart. 

A small garage sits behind a busy up street with some old vehicles dumped beside an open empty space waiting to be scrapped anytime but the verdict seems to be like ‘so near yet so far’. Perhaps the owner has other intentions as he may be pondering to resurrect them using artificial intelligence. Porter mini trucks chug up and down the streets to transport mineral water swiftly break the intrinsic silence of the sunless morning with its deafening noise that may irritate a neighbor or two, the next door.  A solitary dove perched on a branch of a neem tree beside the garage though pensive for a while is mindful of the rumbling digital life. A temple bell that rings now and then at the corner of a street resonates with spiritual ardor is in striking contrast with a quiet majestic church on a working day though strollers on their way to respective destinations come to a stand still for a while to pay obeisance to their respective Gods which is typical of Indian culture. The general public rushes to indulge in a usual pattern of another hectic as well as an unpredictable day. 

As the morning leisurely moves about like an unhurried procession on a festive day, the sun comes out of hiding to rise and shine as the intensity of sights and sounds swell: Hawkers trumpet, vehicles honk, school children scuff their shoes with burdened faces, and many such as far as the eye could see. The momentum picks up as the city dwellers make provisions for yet another day’s toil until twilight.  Thus life goes on and on in Hyderabad, the pride of Telangana which is the youngest state of Digital India.


Leave a Reply