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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hyderabad Calling #2 - Travelling

I divide this post in two parts: Modes of transport and.... Roads of transport.

Modes of transport:

I proudly say that I took almost every mode of transport that people use in Hyderabad.

Hyderabad has autorickshaws (called 'autos' or 'aatoo' in the Hyderabadi accent), most of which have dysfunctional meters. If you are looking around with a confused expression, the rate quoted would often be twice the actual amount. The difference between the Mumbai autowallahs and the Hyderabad autowallahs is prominent. While a Mumbai autowallah runs only according to a meter (which are allegedly tampered.) the Hyderabadi autowallah prefers a muh-bola daam. Secondly, if you tell a Mumbai autowallah that you do not have change, he will look at you with contempt that will match only a raging bull's anger for the red colour. Ditto if you ask him to come to Irla from Andheri station they look at you as if you asked them to take you to the centre of Arabian sea. The Hyderabadi autowallah pleads and is apologetic if he cannot take you to the place you want to go to.

By the way, I sat in a share autorickshaw (meant for three people) with eight people excluding the driver with glaring Emran Hashmi songs playing! I stared at the rear-view mirror without saying anything. Quite a first for me. One pays half-return fare after 8.30 pm which took me by surprise.

There are these larger autorickshaws too which people generally use for larger distances. They would ideally accommodate ten people excluding the driver. Here too, the people actually travelling were more than the capacity. Not a very good thing to be doing.. but the drivers want to make as much money as they can - so they stop every three minutes and shout out the name of the place they are going to.

There are many rental car services that have come up in Hyderabad these days - Green car, Meru and others. They are pretty good - reliable, give you a receipt and comfortably point-to-point. One can get self-driven cars or chauffeur-driven cars for a day-long tour. That's what I did. I did not go for a 'well-known' company - but just a contact that I found on the sulekha website. The person was polite, terribly impunctual (turned up 40 minutes late on both the days) but decently safe.

Roads in Hyderabad:

The Charminar area - Laad bazaar is extremely crowded and the best way to tread these streets would be on foot. The shops are small but have an amazing variety of stuff on offer.

I observed that the speed brakers on Hyderabad roads are unusually small and high. So, if you don't wait, you are sure to feeel a bump in your bump.. oops, bum. That explains why almost all vehicles that I travelled in almost came to a halt two inches before the speed braker - as if the speed braker was a speed stopper.

The Hussain sagar road is like Talaopali of Thane on a larger scale and a Bandstand on a much smaller scale. A good place, though.

At the end, I would like to mention a funny sign that I saw on a long Hyderabad road - with a high divider separating the lanes of the street going in either directions. The sign had a 'u-turn' sign saying 'Hitech city' - as in, "If you are taking this road to Hitech city", you are going in the opposite direction dude!" And if you try to take a U-turn rectifying your mistake, there is not place to take a U-turn until fifteen minutes later. Funny indeed.


  1. nice piece but i had an absolute opposite experience....the rickwala didnt understand hindi, didnt know the place we wanted to go, didnt help find the directions, kept going round and round on the same route for 30 mins and yet stared at us with no expressions at all whn we blasted at him......grrr....


  2. Nice post.

    My experience with auto drivers over 1 year in Hyd was a bit diff.
    The auto guys are bloody rude. When they dont want to go - even a respectable distance for which the fare by meter is 40+ they would say no in a disgusted manner. As if I had offered them a dead rat or something!
    Incidentally, they don't have defective meters - they just refuse to switch them on - even the electronic ones - coz they have so much political clout the cops dont do anything.

    I thought Hussain Sagar was quite lame - especially compared to the various Mumbai sea faces :-)