Today, It's been two years since I came to Hyderabad. I still have some memories of that day.
After a 26 hour train journey from Kerala, I landed here on a Sunday evening at the Secunderabad railway station.
Of my 7 years of existence in Chennai, I was always told that the Auto wallas in Chennai are the rudest and cheats of all. And also I was told that everywhere else auto wallas come on meter. (Even now people say that:-). So as a very happy auto commuter (auto commuters outside Chennai are happy), I told the auto walla in front of Secunderabad station to take me to Hotel Athithi Inn in Ameerpet.
A distant friend had told me that it would be around 8 Kms distance. And presuming that the guy would start the meter(as this is not Madras) I got into it. And then he says "Saab 200 lagega". Ahhh! Then I say "yaar mein kerala se 350 Rupeye mein aaya hun". Then he says "Nahi saab Nai aata" in that typical Urdu kind of Hindi slang. So I go to the next guy. This goes on and finally I settle for 150 which is by no means less than Chennai standards. And there were no prepaid counters too at the station.
It was very exciting to see my first office on the way!
Apart from the kind of work here another major reason I convinced myself to come to Hyderabad, was that I was under the belief that Hyderabad, being and considered to be part of South India, would definitely have lot of those Udupi restaurants.
So after I checked-in at the hotel, had a bath and started out for some food intake as I had none till that point that day.
Assuming I would come across many of those Ganesh Bhavan, Vignesh Bhavan, Murugan Idly kind of outlets, I walked, walked and walked for nearly 30 minutes in the busy Ameerpet area. All could see is a busy market road, some Irani tea shops, and a few Chinis restaurants (yes spell intended). All I know is no-one here!
Till that point in life, I had managed to avoid eating even Vegetarian food at hotels that served Non-Vegetarian food. That evening I was extremely distressed that I would have to finally give up on that:-(
The very next day, on joining my office I asked my colleagues out there for Udupi restaurants around this place. And one of them told about one Anand Vihar opposite to Airport. Since I met lot of new people that day, I don't remember who told that, it was a better place. Over the last two years, I have had my breakfast at the same place, everyday- Idly.
But my search for proper Udupi restaurants (those Ganesh/Vignesh Bhavan, Ambuja Vilas types!)is still on.
Tried almost every available option in Hyderabad, from the duplicate Saravana Bhavan off PG road to the expensive not so tasty Chutneys!
Now two years down the lane, I am no more new to this city, have moved around every part of this city and explored lots of restaurants and also started liking this city.
And for the critical Idly issue, now I make better Idly at my home. The chef in me can now make excellent "Kushboo Idly", "Sreya Dosa" and more recently "Namitha Biriyani".