Celebrating Women of African Descent

Hyderabad Life: The City of Pearls

DON’T try to change India to suit you, rather be prepared to change yourself to suit India”.

From the slums of Mumbai, to the pearls of Hyderabad, to the beaches of Goa, to the hills of Visakhapatnam, to the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore, Incredouble India coined by my Turkish friend and fellow TCS intern will jolt, intrigue, infuriate and excite you. You will love it or hate it, but you shall never forget the incredible sub-continent called India.

My Emirate Airways (EK 784) flight touched down in Mumbai on the 15th of December, 2010 at 8:40am IST with my 56k of luggage. A wave of disillusionment swept through me on the sight of Mumbai, I could see the slums, right from the plane. What have I gotten myself into, is this where I fought with my parents to come to, is this where I would be spending the next one year of my life. Even Lagos is not this bad, I thought. But I reminded myself that I was not there just to experience the business world, but for a cultural experience too. I had left behind everything and everyone to pursue this opportunity and I wasn’t going to be deterred by one city.

My two days in Mumbai was most definitely annoying and incredible, from missing my plane the next day because of the mad traffic and only to get to the Domestic Airport and informed that my flight was to take off from the International Airport, to having to pay extra 1500prupees for my missed flight. The next day, I repeatedly told the Rickshaw driver that I was going to the International Airport, only for the guy to take me straight to the Domestic Airport, after which he then asks for direction to the International Airport from the securities at the Airport.

Hyderabad, the city I have called home in the last 10months has been more or less wonderful to me. Hyderabad; home of The Charminar, The Makkah Masjid and the world largest integrated Film Studio, The Ramoji Film City.  In this city, I have cried, laughed, dreamed, made wonderful new friends and most importantly the city has awakened the soul in me. In the beginning, I found Hyderabad intimidating; I call it my city of dreams and possibility. I find myself comparing every other city I visited to Hyderabad and all these other cities always fall short of my beloved City of Pearls. I love the architectural landmarks, especially those in HITEC City; like every building is competing with the next; every building in this city tells a different story.

Adapting to my new life in Hyderabad was not as hard as I thought. India reminds me so much of home. Mumbai is a replica of my city of birth, Lagos. Hyderabad reminds me of the Capital City of Nigeria, Abuja.  The poverty, the dirt on the streets, the corruption, the weather, the bad roads and the auto-rickshaws I could relate with. To me India and Nigeria are twins located in different ends of the world.

The honeymoon phase in the beginning was exciting, I found myself signing autographs for school children, the locals were always eager to take pictures with us, my braids were being pulled and I had to satisfy their inquisitiveness of how my hair was made into braids.

As an English graduate from a country where a good command of the English language is expected; I was baffled by Hinglish, I kept wondering why anyone would ask me “why I am not lifting my call” and “if I am not keeping well”. With time, I have learnt to appreciate it not only from a cultural perspective but also as a medium to properly pass my message across.

For one who is used to the Nigerian night life starting at 12am, I was, just like every other night life loving individual disappointed to realize the clubs in India close at 12am with very few keeping their doors open till 2am. On my 2nd night in Hyderabad, a couple of foreigners and I got a Brazilian kicked out of his apartment. Our crime; playing loud music and disturbing the neighborhood at 2a.m. The door bell rang, and we were surprised to see the police at the door, and they just would not believe that a bunch of foreigners gathered in a place with loud music could not be doing drugs or something illegal. Fortunately, we were all in the country legally.

I love travelling but due to the bad roads and lack of safety in Nigeria, I avoid night travels and long distance travels. India has re-awakened the travelling spirit in me. Exploring the Southern cities of India has been awesome and makes me appreciate the forgotten beauties of my Motherland. The awakened spirit of travel also gave a soul to my interest in photography.

Despite the poverty, corruption and wanting public infrastructure; the people of India still consider their country the best place to live. I am also very proud of their creativity and determination in the face of what seems impossible circumstances and hardship. These emotions I find lacking in my people and I envy Indians for this. I wish and hope I and my fellow Nigerians would feel this way about our country someday.

India has been a great teacher; the experience has been the greatest adventure of my life. The nation has taught be to be independent, to recognize and believe in myself. Did I make a mistake in coming to India? No. It is one decision I shall always applaud myself for.  This life time decision has made me appreciate life, family, and my cultural background more.

  • Pin It
  • Share
  • Tweet

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


nine − = 5

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>