Of my childhood hometown… 1


Was just reading a post someone posted on sixteen reasons why they are proud to be a Hyderabadi. Saw the heading and obviously couldn’t resist following the link – hum Hyderabadiyan aiseech hain – no praise of our native city is too ott (over the top) for us – it is THE very best! In fact, I’m not sure that all the Rajnikant claims doing the rounds (originally Chuck Norris jokes, you say? Hah!) were originally about the city of my birth. Wanna dispute that? How about these then?

God created heaven and earth in six days. Then he rested and created Hyderabad – the next week – he learnt from his mistakes and that’s why it’s so perfect!

Why do the Himalayas rise every year? Because Hyderabad is in the South and levers it up!

Why do tornadoes never hit India? Because Hyderabad stands in the way!

Once a Hyderabadi became the coach of the Indian cricket team and that year India won the FIFA cup!

Munni badnaam hui… Hyderabad ke liye…

Beginning to get it? We Hyderabadis are also very patient with slow learners (it resonates with us!) so it’s okay even if you begin to get it only in the middle of the night!

So… back to this article – the title is tempting but the content was less so – basically a list of the tourist attractions in Hyderabad – any tour operator will give you a more comprehensive list 🙁

But as I scrolled down to the comments, things begin to get really interesting and all the things I identify with my beloved home town surface… plus some of my own…

…like how good-humored we are as a race (in general!)

…like our proclivity to put off till “tarson” (the day after the day after tomorrow), what needed to be done three days ago! We have raised the art of procrastination to a high level of sophistication…

…like our ability to laugh at ourselves… I miss this sorely in Madras! (As a  Madrasi, sitting beside me and reading it over my shoulder as I write, my daughter raises an objection here – I tell her she has my Hyderabadi genes!)

…like how we have biryani corpuscles floating around in our bloodstream while the rest of the world… well, you know… shrug, shrug…

…about how the art of pehle aap (you first – the highly cultivated courtliness of a true Hyderabadi), means that you may never end up doing business with a potential partner there but you will make a friend for life instead – you takes your pick! Being a businessman or woman is too mainstream, being a friend is just that bit hatke (left of centre!) to be the “right” thing to be!

….how we need sweet tea five minutes after dessert!

…the Hyderabadis advice to Alexander’s world-conquering ambition would have been, light le le miyaan (take it easy, bud!)

…how you can compete with both a traffic cop and a signal and stop traffic by holding up a hand! Traffic signals are guidelines only rather than actual rules – woh kya hote hain baap? (What on earth are those – genuine puzzlement!)

Altogether the most charming of cities… and finally about how baingan (eggplant) is a curse word in a city which loves the vegetable to pieces! Used like this: baingan ke bataan (meaning useless stuff)!

Here’s a non-Hyderabadi baingan ki recipe (we are also very eclectic and borrow the good stuff from every culture – it’s a different matter that we don’t always give credit to that culture for what we borrow!)

Presenting the simply delicious Bengali…

BAINGAN KA BHAJA OR BEGUN KA BHAJA

  • Large eggplant – these should feel heavy for their size. Light ones indicate overripeness and are likely to have a lot of seeds – 1
  • Besan/chickpea flour – 1/2 cup (or quarter cup each of chickpea and rice flours)
  • Chili powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1 pinch
  • Asafoetida – 1 pinch
  • Jeera powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Amchoor (raw mango powder) – 1/2 tsp – optional
  • Salt
  • Oil to shallow fry

Slice the eggplants into thin 3 mm thick slices and soak in water.

Mix together all the other ingredients except the oil. Remove the eggplant pieces from the water and pat dry. Aplly the masala powder on top.

Heat a flat pan and sprinkle a few drops of oil on top. Place three or four baingan pieces on the pan, NOT overlapping.

Pour a few drops of oil around each piece. Cook till golden brown and turn over. Cook again till golden brown on the other side. Remove and plate. Repeat till pieces are done.


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