Back in 1912, Sarojini Naidu described the bazaars of Hyderabad beautifully.
In The Bazaars of Hyderabad
What do you sell, O merchants?Richly your wares are displayed.Turbans of crimson and silver, Tunics of purple brocade, Mirrors with panels of amber, Daggers with handles of jade.
What do you weigh, O ye vendors?Saffron, lentil and rice.
What do you grind, O ye maidens?Sandalwood, henna and spice.
What do you call, O ye pedlars?Chessmen and ivory dice.
What do you make, O ye goldsmiths?Wristlet and anklet and ring, Bells for the feet of blue pigeons, Frail as a dragon-fly’s wing, Girdles of gold for the dancers, Scabbards of gold for the kings.
What do you cry, O fruitmen? Citron, pomegranate and plum.
What do you play, O ye musicians?Sitar, Sarangi and drum.
What do you chant, O magicians?Spells for the aeons to come.
What do you weave, O ye flower-girls? With tassels of azure and red? Crowns for the brow of a bridegroom, Chaplets to garland his bed, Sheets of white blossoms new-garnered To perfume the sleep of the dead.
What do you code, O ye developers? In Ruby, Python and R.
What do you sell, O ye Apple Store? The iPhone 11 is a star.
How are you, O ye Hyderabad? The traffic runs amok. The air quality isn’t great. But we are in luck. ‘Cause it’s better than Delhi’s. So nobody really gives a fuck.
Not withstanding my poor rhymes things are getting better in my original hometown. The metro is running which has taken some traffic off the roads and most importantly the busiest streets aren’t dug up. The air is better at least around Diwali time. And the younger generation does give a fuck.
With Jo and my style of no-planning-ahead planning, we could have ended up anywhere on Diwali but we really did try and it worked out. The kids were here for Diwali back in 2011 when my Dad was still alive but they don’t remember that any more.
The sheer quantity of firecrackers are a fraction of what they used to be. They pollute the air so the next generation of Hyderabadis are using them sparingly. The noise is a sheet of continuous rolling thunder for hours instead of days. The sky is lit up in flashes now instead of solid mid day at night. The air, while cleaner, is still full of celebration. We started the morning with Laxmi puja and ended after midnight at Kali pujo.
The Choudary’s gave us new traditional clothes for Diwali. Partha helped Evan set off firecrackers. Jo played DJ and showed off her cool moves, aided by a nice bottle of wine. The kids convinced Sharath (pretty easily) to buy them Budhi-ki-Baal (old lady’s hair, or cotton candy) at the midnight Kali pujo fair. And Messi is the only dog I’ve known who didn’t give a shit about fireworks exploding everywhere.
Happy Diwali to your family from ours. May your days be filled with light and happiness.