Thursday, 13 May 2010

Adventures in Hyderabad: Handi Biryani & Extreme Sports

Arriving in Hyderabad was a breathe of fresh, errr slightly less polluted, air. An organisation called Gray Matters Capital flew me in but there was some issue with accommodation over the weekend, so Shabnam and her mates very kindly put me up for a couple nights.

I stayed in Banjara Hills, which seems to be the heart of the ‘new’ city with every glass fronted and shimmering American brand you can imagine, and drove through Jubilee Hills where all the ‘Tollywood’ stars live. Turns out there’s a massive Telegu film industry. Who knew?? There’s also a lovely lake in the city and Hyderabad is overall reasonably pretty. Nicer than I expected. Sadly I never made it to the Char Minar, which is in the old city, but I did get to one of the low cost private schools out there, and also to a traditional biryani joint.

Handi Biryani

Chicken 65 is THE snack for Hyderabadis, but Handi Biryani is the main course to eat. The specialty is chicken rather than meat, probably because chicken is generally cheaper to get hold of. You usually get one large piece of chicken and a humongous portion of rice, some kind of curry, raita, onions and lemon. You can get family packs for 4 or 6 which would feed a small army rather than just a family.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Adventures in Bangalore: Banana Leaves & Lost Friends

I arrived in Bangalore a couple of weeks ago on Sunday 18th April and headed straight into a heavy meeting with the Ashoka team. We were trying to work out the practicalities of creating and mobilising large scale confluences of people who care about the same issue. This is the new premise behind Ashoka’s development in India. I think we got pretty far with it, but it was heavy going out as I’d picked up some viral bug in Bombay and was in pretty bad shape at the time. Took me a whole week to recover. Since then I’ve been rushing to catch up on projects and work. Hence the latest gap in blogging :)

Still it was good to catch up with Ashoka crew at Clara’s. Will catch up again with them in Delhi in a week’s time.

Ashoka India, Vishnu, Solomon and Clara

Also got to hang out with Vinit, one my oldest school friends, who now manages a large garment business. Come a very long way from causing mischief at the back of the class together to special treatment in his office as General Manager! I got a tour of the superb factory he set up from scratch. I bet like me, you don’t realise quite how much human labour actually goes into producing the clothes we wear. Pretty much everything is done by people using small machines, rather than any form of automated production technology. From the design, to cutting, to stitching, finishing and even the final ironing. It is hugely labour intensive and I will never take clothes for granted again.

Vinit Mehta Vinit Mehta

P1030441 P1030443

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