Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Good Hyderabad - The Kites!

Sankranti Festival - The Kites are all over the city. And everyone is atop their terrace to fly them. An entire city in hysteria. It may be difficult to see throught pictures, but try to imagine thousands of kites in the sky all over the city.Beautiful and Colorful are the women. Puneets sisters-in-law and friend, dress up in traditional Hindi garb. They were more of a sight to see than the kites!
I have learned how to fly kites from none other than the greatest kite flyer of them all: Puneet. Puneet is said to be the best. He can cut a kite from any distance. Watching him fly a kite is quite a spectacle, indeed. Even Ojis, just to the right of Puneet, takes fancy at imitating Puneet. Again, he is quite the entertainer.
Night Kite flying was a trip. As the Sankranti festival was my last day/night in Hyderabad, I spent it all day and night flying. Flying high were the kites in the misty dark night. The lights were shining upwards, and the kites so colorful. Thousands of kites were up all day and night, with no time for breaks. A great way for my time in Hyderabad to come to an end.

I wake up the next morning - 5am, to catch a 27 hour train ride back to Delhi. Fun

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Good Hyderabad Part 2

New Years - I suppose instead of the traditional new years kiss, its the traditional smash the cake in the face. Face has never tasted so good. Lots of dancing took place. The picture below is of Puneet dancing with his mother, one of my favorite pics. We had a great time on new years. Lots of dancing, and the dancing was not grind grind, much of it was choreographed dancing by Puneets cousins. This woman, Puneets neighbor, is probably my favorite woman I've met in India. Everytime I would walk by her shop, she always greeted me with her hands together in the traditional Nameste position at her heart and a huge smile. Sometimes she would even sneak me a candy. Though she doesn't speak English, and my Hindi at the time consisted only of Namaste and Dandivad (thank you) our interactions were kept at the simple hello, smile, head nod, smile again, and thank you, even though we would just be passing by eachother. Nonetheless, everytime I did pass by her, I would feel as if my day was complete.

Well, one bright and early morning, one of Puneets cousins and I went to the country side to drink from the earth. A beverage that you wouldn't find in any local markets, called Kallu, the name varies from place to place, comes straight out of the tree - a Palm or Coconut tree. In the picture below, you can see the farmer climb the tree and extract the Kallu straight from the tree. This drink, once it ferments, turns into an alcoholic beverage. It is best served in the early morning just after being extracted from the tree. In this case, you drink it before the fermentation process begins. If you drink this in the afternoon, you may get the much anticipated buzz. In the morning, it is said to be good for your stomach, for your digestion. I have found that lots of things that I have taken in, whether food or drink, is good for digestion. I find it delicious, and drink more. I dont feel any alcoholic daze, as said, but I enjoy, nonetheless.

Good Hyderabad Part 1

After a 24 hour train ride from the Taj Mahal, I make it to Hyderabad, one of the main reasons me coming to India.Well, I suppose it didn't take too long before my first play of cricket! At my friend Puneets familys place in the city, Puneets cousins and I gather for some indoor cricket. Puneet and I used to work together, and he graciously invited me to stay with him and his family in Hyderabad while he was visiting, too. I have been learning much about the sport, and at this point, I have a good enough idea on how to actually play. Inside the semi-narrow hall, with concrete walls on each side spreading maybe 10 feet wide and expanding at a length of maybe 30 feet or so, we begin. This frightens me just a little because when the cousins bat - they were up before me to show me how its done - they swung for the fences! And being that the fences were so close to the batter, the fielders were also real close to the batter. This meant - watch your face because the ball is coming, and coming fast! Well, in my 2 or 3 weeks in Hyderabad, there was only one minor bruise when a ball zipped through and nailed one of the cousins in the arm. I felt like he may have needed some assistance, but I suppose there had been worse in the past. Luckily, by and large, we all went by unscathed.
This shot is at a museum of creative manmade bicycles and automobiles. This bicycle made in the guinness book of world records for the largest bike in the world - or so Im told. I wanted to climb up and sit on the seat, but I couldnt let the sketchiness get the best of me. I was fine simply standing at the wheel while the rest of it towered over me.Sarah Rappaport, this ones for you. This is Ojis, one of Puneets cousins. Here, Ojis and I grabbed hands and pushed eachother back and forth while maintaining eye contact, creating a mind boggling, well, mind. Little Ojis provided hours of entertainment with his laughing and dancing. Even at the age of 8, Ojis is a star dancer.

Playing dress-up. Some of the cousins enjoyed entertaining themselves by dressing me up in Indian style garb. This is a traditional Indian garb that men would wear for their wedding, called Sherwani. They had some good laughs at my expense, but its ok, but I was laughing at myself as well. Dont worry, marraige is still not just around the corner!

Paul Rohr and Timmy - This ones for you! The ultimate Indian mullet. I had to sneak this picture because as a foreigner, people sometimes stare at you in manners one would not like to be stared at. But, as a foreigner, I suppose you get used to it.