Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My City: “Secunderabad” – Part II.

Please watch an interesting video on my city at the top of this article, if you have not yet done so. It is a video produced in June 2006 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of naming of Secunderabad. The video has many titles, “Celebrating 200 years of Secunderabad”, “200 years of Timeless Splendor” and “Secunderabad: A Journey of Immense Glory and Progress”.  
From my earlier article on Secunderabad (Part I) and the above video you would know that the area North of Hussain Sagar Lake was named as Secunderabad on 3rd June 1806. Secunderabad has an older name “Lashkar”. Lashkar means Military Camp / Cantonment. In 1798 the “Treaty of Subsidiary Alliance” was signed by the Nizam, the King of Hyderabad and the British East India Company and then the British Army stationed its troops at several places in this area. And this area began to be called as Lashkar. Many old timers still refer to Secunderabad as Lashkar (pronounced mostly as “Laskar”), including my mother. And true to its older name Secunderabad is still a Military area, it is India’s largest Cantonment. It has several vital and prominent facilities of the Army and Air Force including prestigious colleges like “College of Defence Management”, “College of Air warfare”, “Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering” and establishments like the “Army Ordnance Corps Centre”.
The most prominent place in Secunderabad is the Railway Station; it is larger and busier than the other two Railway Stations of the Twin cities, Nampally and Kachiguda. Secunderabad is also the Zonal Head Quarters of South Central Railway with many of its offices and workshops located all over the city. Another prominent place here is the Parade Grounds, where I go for my morning walks. The Independence Day and Republic day celebrations of the State are held here in a grand manner where the Chief Minister and the Governor of the State hoist the National Flag. Secunderabad is popular for Silk Sarees, most people of Twin Cities come here for shopping during weddings.  The main shopping areas are along Mahatma Gandhi Road (James Street), Rashtrapati Road (Kingsway), General Bazar, Monda Market and at Trimulgherry.  Some very popular restaurants of the Twin Cities like Paradise, Nan King, Alpha and Garden Restaurant are located here. Sanjeevaiah Park the largest greenspace (92 acres) located in the heart of Twin Cities is located along Hussain Sagar on Necklace Road that leads to Hyderabad. And coming to festivities, Mahakali Jatara also called as Lashkar/Laskar Bonalu, Ashada Jatara and Bonala Panduga is a major two days local festival.
Mentioning about some differences between the Twin Cities and the influence of English society on Secunderabad, I wrote in my previous article that names of most Roads, Lanes and areas in Secunderabad are of British origin. Let me explain this point with reference to my address in Secunderabad City. I live on Prenderghast Road that joins two very important roads called James Street and Sir Ronald Ross Road. The lanes adjacent to my house are Mandalay Lane, McLeod Lane and McIntyre Road. And not far from my house are Park Lane, Oxford Street, Hill Street, Kingsway, Alexander Road, Sebastian Road, Wellington Road and areas like Regimental Bazar, Walker Town, Queen Victoria Grain Market (Rani Gunj) and George Town.
In conclusion of this article I am listing all the important localities of Secunderabad by their current names: Alwal, Balanagar, Bandimet, Begumpet, Bolarum, Bolarum Bazar, Bowenpally, Chilkalguda, Defence Colony, Karkhana, Kavadiguda, Kompally, Lalapet, Lallaguda, Lothukunta, Malkajgiri, Marredpally, Nallagutta, Neredmet, Deen Dayal Nagar, Padmarao Nagar, Parsigutta, Rani Gunj, Ramakrishna Puram, Risala Bazar, Safilguda, Sainikpuri, Sikh Village, Sitaphalmandi, Tarnaka, Uppal, Trimulgherry, Kummarguda, Kamala Nagar, Ferozeguda, Shivaji Nagar, Pan Bazar, Avulamandha, Old Bhoiguda, Kalsiguda, Warasiguda, Chilkalguda, Rasoolpura, Sindhi Colony and Paradise.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My City: “Secunderabad” – Part I.

This is my 300th article in this blog. Hence, I decided to write on something very significant; today. A number of interesting topics came to my mind, but ultimately a very important subject that I have surprisingly missed all along stood out. It is about the city in which I have lived most of my life and continue to do so – “Secunderabad”. Perhaps one reason why I did not think of writing on Secunderabad earlier is because it is no longer a quiet and lovely place it was. It has grown into a concrete jungle, over populated, polluted, noisy, dirty, busy, with traffic jams everywhere. However this is the city in which my home is, so I love it despite the growing problems of the city.
I was born in Secunderabad at the King Edward Memorial Hospital. My father and mother were also born in Secunderabad.  And my sons are born here. My father, my uncles, my brother and I have all studied at Mahbub College and my sons at St. Patricks, both very popular local schools. Though my wife was born in Hyderabad, her entire education was at Secunderabad, at St. Anthony’s and at Kasturba Gandhi College.  And I was employed for over two decades in a Secunderabad based Company – Praga Tools Limited, a Govt. of India Undertaking. In fact Secunderabad has been our home since the time of my great grandparents. This explains in brief my long and ancient relation and attachment with the City.
For all outsiders, Secunderabad and Hyderabad are one and the same, it is just Hyderabad.  Otherwise it is the Twin Cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Today there is not much cultural and geographical distinction between the two cities. While Secunderabad City’s area remains more or less the same since it’s naming over 200 years ago, Hyderabad has grown in leaps and bounds in every direction. And Secunderabad with its limited area has become very densely populated. This overcrowding and unchecked commercialization has vastly affected the grand and peaceful lifestyle of Secunderabad.
In the past Secunderabad was considered a calm, quiet and neat place with liberal views in comparison to Hyderabad. It was a cosmopolitan city ever since its formation and with distinct British influence. In addition to the various local communities there were a number of Parsis, Anglo-Indians and British nationals. The differences to distinguish the two Cities were plenty, then. Names of almost all Roads and Lanes in Secunderabad were of British origin and some of them still retain those names. For decades one could see English movies only at Secunderabad. There were three very popular ‘English Movie Theatres’ always full with the local people, Plaza, Tivoli and Dreamland. And at Plaza, till very recent times one could sip beer while watching a movie!
In the year 1806, the then ruler of Hyderabad State, Nizam III, Mir Sikander Jah Bahadur issued an order allocating a huge area to the North of Hussain Sagar Lake for the Cantonment of the British Army. This followed the signing of a subsidiary alliance for military and political cooperation between the Nizam and the British Empire. This area consisted of several existing localities and large unpopulated areas for the occupation of the British Army facilities. This entire area handed over to the British was named as Secunderabad after Sikander Jah, the Nizam. Below this paragraph, I am providing a picture of the Firman (Order) issued by Nizam III, Sikander Jah Bahadur to Capt. Sydenham of the British Empire on 3rd June, 1806.  An excerpt from it names it as “Secunderabad” with blessings and prayers. It reads as follows: “May God make this grant auspicious for all the well wishers of the State in general and for your Lordship in particular. By the grace of God this place has now been populated by the Regiments and Cantonment. It is therefore required that it should be given a name. On account of the unity and co-operation that exists between our State and English Government, SECUNDERABAD is proposed as its name and by this name it will be styled in future.”

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sweet Hellos! And Sad Farewells.

My son, Srinath started back to Birmingham, U.K., today night, after being with us for 16 days. His homecoming on 9th November was a big surprise and made us immensely happy, as I wrote earlier:  "Srinath's surprise homecoming". These 16 days were well spent with lot of partying and happy times with the family and friends. However the farewell today, was with a heavy heart. We wished that he could stay with us a little longer.
It is normal to go through a crisis when children leave home. It is not easy, even though we know very well, that it is we who are encouraging them to seek better education and employment. We cannot interfere with their future and prospects however far that may be from home. Their happiness is ours. Thanks to modern times and technology, we can see and be in touch with them wherever they are in the world, whenever we desire … and that is every day.
Four days ago, on 21st November, my nephew, Dr. Uday and daughter-in-law, Hina, also left home and returned to Al-Dammam, Saudi Arabia, after being with us for 17 days. I think it will take us a few days to cope with our “Empty Nest Syndrome”.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Political discussions have become commonplace, all around me.

Discussions based on injustices, exploitation, deceit, insults and ill-treatment of one province, by the rest of the State have become commonplace. I find such discussions taking place wherever I go, the young and elderly, at offices, at family gatherings, at social events, among girls, boys, students, while traveling and even at Temples. As a matter of fact this has become a very important and favorite conversational subject when two or more people of Telangana congregate.  They are all aspiring for a separate State.
I never start a conversation on this subject, but however when one does so with me, I participate in it very enthusiastically. Things go on pretty well as people of the same province and similar opinion meet. However, in such situations, when someone differs with my opinion I debate and get into arguments. I had experienced one such hot debate yesterday, at an after wedding ceremony. I have never been like this before, because I always believed that discussing politics and religion at any place and with anybody would lead to arguments and then hard feelings. Coming to this particular subject, I cannot remain silent, because I find people differing with me are doing so on misinformation and without knowing all the facts, figures and suffering of the local people. I counter every statement of them with facts, figures and my personal experience, to prove them wrong. I become emotional and raise my voice. I do this because I do not want injustice to rule Telangana forever. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Latest Family Photographs.

The above family photographs and those in my previous two articles "About today's Family Picnic" and "It's My Birthday Today" were possible with the homecoming of my son; Srinath, and my nephew; Uday Bhasker, from abroad, on a vacation. I am using my blog to store and cherish these beautiful moments.
There are innumerable moments in our life which stay etched in our memory forever. These are moments with our loved ones which bring a smile to our face every time we think of them. However, as time passes, most of these moments become hazy. But by capturing these moments through camera they are with us for a lifetime and future generations. We put them in picture frames, photo albums and these days in storage devices like CDs, Hard disks, Pen drives, etc., so that we can view them whenever we want to. Additionally I am posting them at my blog so that the family members and friends can see and enjoy them, wherever they are in the world, with just a few clicks at their computer. With this intention, I have posted over 3,500 photographs so far!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's My Birthday Today.

Today is my Birthday. The day started with a visit to the Temple complex near our house. Then I was at home the whole day relaxing. I spent time reading, watching TV and at the computer. There were phone calls from family members, friends and relatives to convey birthday greetings.  There were a number of birthday messages for me on facebook and orkut, all from my young friends, who are perhaps half my age.  I am feeling happy that they have all cared to wish me on my Birthday.
In the evening the children hosted a Dinner Party at home.  They brought a Chocolate Cake, Rotis, Kababs, Chutneys, Mutton Biryani and Raitha for the Party. Our daughter-in-law, Hina prepared a tasty Chicken curry for the Rotis and Truffle Ice Cream for Dessert. My sons Srikanth and Srinath gifted me a 20 inch, DELL-Widescreen, HD/LED Monitor. The above photographs are of the Birthday Party.
November is a month of many Parties, in our family. In addition to the existing eight Birthdays and one Marriage Anniversary in November, we now have a new addition. My niece, Usha Rani, is blessed with a son yesterday (15th Nov). So it is going to be nine Birthdays and one Marriage Anniversary. No other month is closeby to break the record of November.

Monday, November 15, 2010

About today's Family Picnic.

My nephew, Dr. Sudheer organized a picnic today for all our family members at Garden Retreat Resort. This was to celebrate his mother and my sister-in-law, Smt. Vijayalaxmi’s birthday (actually, 5th Nov.) and to celebrate the reunion of the entire family, after a long time. We were at the Resort from 10:15 AM to 5:30 PM. The weather was quite good, and everyone enjoyed the daylong activities – Volley Ball, Shuttle Badminton, Table Tennis, Tambola, Swimming Pool, Dumb Charades, Swings, Snacks, Cake, Champagne and Lunch, as can be seen in the above photographs.
The Resort is 45 kms. from our house at Paradise, Secunderabad, on Karimnagar highway, close to Mulugu town. Our family went to this resort once before, in September 2008, about a week before my son left to UK for higher studies. My nephew Dr. Uday Bhaskar and Hina could not attend that Picnic; they came home a few days after the party. This time, Uday, Hina and Srinath were there. However my mother, sister and brother-in-law could not attend the Picnic today. My niece, Usha Rani is expecting, so all of them stayed back.
Today is my father’s birth anniversary, so as in the past, we have gifted books to all his grandchildren, Dr. Sudheer, Smt. Uma Rani, Dr. Uday Bhaskar, Ch. Sridhar, Smt. Usha Rani, Ch. Srikanth and Ch. Srinath and great grandchildren, Ch. Akhil and Ch. Sudhiksha. Usually, my mother used to distribute the gifts on this day, but this time I got my granddaughter Ch. Sudhiksha to do it, at the Picnic. You can see photographs pertaining to this event at the top. You may double click on the above photos to zoom in.
P.S. – 15th Nov. 2010: My niece Ch. Usha Rani is blessed with a son at 10:10 A.M. today. Congratulations! Blessings and Best Wishes to Karthik, Usha and the baby.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Weather is a great bluffer.

I am writing this in context with last week’s cyclonic storm “Jal” and weather forecasting. The Indian Meteorological Department reported of a ‘Depression’ in the Bay of Bengal Sea on 1st November and as days passed by it was named as “Jal”. This was covered by the media very extensively. In the next 7 days, the first reported Depression was upgraded to ‘Deep Depression’ and then to a ‘Cyclonic Storm’ and then into a ‘Severe Cyclonic Storm’. The forecasts kept changing the intensity of the storm, its direction, its speed, the time of its hitting the coast and the level of destruction. This ‘Severe Cyclonic Storm’ was to hit and cross the East Coast of India between Nellore and Chennai. The expected high tides, heavy rains and strong winds at speeds higher than 140 km/h were to bring about large scale destruction and losses.  
Andhra Pradesh, especially the coastal areas have previously suffered due to heavy rains this year. There was severe flooding in many towns and villages causing loss of human life, loss of crops, cattle and property. Now the threat of “Jal” being reported hour by hour stating that this Cyclonic Storm would cause immense destruction was very disheartening.  The forecasts helped in evacuating people from storm prone areas, in positioning rescuers and making relief arrangements and warning fishermen and closing down schools. But ultimately by the time “Jal” touched the coast it weakened into a depression causing heavy rains. There was flooding once again at many places but luckily no destruction on the lines predicted for almost 7 days.
The turns and twists in forecasting during these 7 days give a strong impression that weather forecasts still have their limitations despite the use of modern technology and improved techniques. During normal climatic conditions the daily weather forecasts may be dependable and sometimes very accurate but at other times, the turbulent times and especially with the medium and long range forecasts the results may totally go wrong. This gives us an impression that the weather indicates something to the weathermen and then behaves in an entirely different manner, always trying to bluff its way and enjoy its ways.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Srinath’s, surprise homecoming.

My youngest son, Srinath, surprised us this morning with his unexpected arrival from Birmingham, UK, after two years. Just a few days back I wrote in this column that we missed him a lot for Deepavali festival, as he was the only family member away. I also wrote that my son wanted to come home this month to attend his cousin’s marriage on 18th November. But as he could not get permission for long-leave he preferred to come later in December when he would have a month’s vacation.
Subsequently he changed his mind, he thought visiting us now would be better when the whole family could be together and also attend the marriage. He kept this to himself and went ahead with his travel arrangements. As I wrote earlier, my nephew, Udhay is also at home, he has come from Saudi Arabia for Deepavali and to attend the marriage in the family and a number of November - birthday parties. Udhay has always surprised us by coming home unannounced or by misleading us, since his college days. My son seems to have been inspired by him. About ten days back, Srinath told us that he is visiting Paris from 8th November, for three days. And on 8th morning as he was getting ready to leave for India, he called us to say that he is leaving for Paris. He said his Cell phone would not be operational there, so he would keep in touch through landlines. I advised him to visit as many places as possible there and send us photographs. And to everyone’s surprise he reached home this morning. Since then he has been surprising few friends and relatives by mostly visiting them.
A visit after two years and his sudden presence has made everyone happy and at the same time emotional. I wish and hope he will have a very pleasant and satisfactory vacation.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Deepavali - 2010.

The above photographs are of Deepavali celebrations at our home, today.  In the morning we had Harathulu followed by traditional breakfast consisting of a sweet called Garijalu. My sister and brother-in-law could not join us for Harathulu for the first time in several years. As I wrote yesterday, my nephew Udhay and his wife Hina are here for the festival. After breakfast we got busy for sometime in arranging the festoon lamps at the entrances of the house. The ladies of the house were busy preparing lunch and with Puja to the deities at home.  Then we had a festive lunch, starting with a traditional sweet called Peni. After lunch I had a nap, but my wife was busy arranging Bommala Koluvu. After snacks and tea in the evening, we got ready for the evening functions.
This year, my sister-in-law’s birthday coincided with Deepavali. Hina surprised her in the evening with a cake she baked in Al-Dammam (Saudi), the icing was done here. Everyone enjoyed the Cake and the Birthday party. This was followed by Laxmi Devi Puja. Later we burst crackers intermittently until dinner time and little beyond it. Our five year old granddaughter, Sudhiksha is still frightened of crackers and this year her fears escalated as my eldest son, Srikanth mildly injured three of his right hand fingers as a sparkler misfired. He is still in pain and his mother had to feed him dinner. But this incident did not dampen the Deepavali spirit of Srikanth or the others, everyone enjoyed bursting crackers.
My youngest son, Srinath who is in Birmingham kept calling the whole day to enquire about the celebrations. He was worried about his brother’s injury. We all missed him today. He has asked me to send the festival photos at the earliest and that is the reason I am rushing through this photo-post and including a number of photos.
Hope you too would find the photographs interesting. You may click on any photo to zoom in and you may click on underlined words to go to articles on them.

Today, 10th December is Human Rights Day.

December 10th is Human Rights Day, a United Nations (UN) campaign that calls for people to know and push for their rights no matter ...