Every city has its eccentricities. Recently, I came across a hillarious article about Hyderabadis. From what I have observed in the past year, its mostly true.
(Authored by Priya Ramachandran and published in Hyderabad Times, supplement of Times of India, dated 22nd September, 2011.)
Think of the worst catastrophe to ever have struck mankind. And then place a Hyderabadi bang in the epicentre of it. You will probably see him enjoying a siesta there, without a care in the world. And when he wakes up to see absolute pandemonium and chaos around him, he will probably shrug his shoulder in the way made famous by Hyderabadis, and with a wave of his hand say those hypnotic words — “take lite” (‘take laaaaaaite’, if he’s feeling particularly lazy) . Or if this Hyderabadi in question, is of the Telugu and Hindi variety — “lite teesko” and “lite lo”. This all-purpose phrase is Hyderabad’s magic mantra — it helps us live stress-free, makes the ugliest of situations bearable, lets us feel like everything is in control (when it’s not) and most importantly, it is who we are. “Lite” is not just something Hyderabadis say, it is our way of life.
Haan, baap ka road hai
We are almost proud of how we are on the roads. The way we think our vehicles can be driven in a minimum of five directions from the point we are in, regardless of dividers, red signals, passing vehicles, pedestrians and ruminating cattle. There’s nothing that we don’t do on the road. And if a purist as much as tries to raise an eyebrow at our ways, we have just one thing to say — “Lite teesko anna”.
The Indian Standard Time may be notorious, but pakka Hyderabadis take things a notch further. In a classic case of “take lite”, when one of us say “subbah subbah office ko aatun”, it is safe to assume we mean 11 am. It’s not like we didn’t mean what we said, it’s just that we have our own time zone. And when we finally get there braving Nawabs of our own kind on the roads, no work begins without the auspicious chai. Before you even settle down in your seat, it’s lunch time already. And then it’s chai time. Lite lo. Hum aise ich hai.
Hyderabadis have mastered the art of doing nothing. We stand on the road, looking at the world in wonder. We have all the time to stop and stare. At the road fight that just broke out. At the couple who are holding hands at Tank Bund. At the sky too, if it particularly pleases us that day. So, what if you have a meeting to attend, people to meet or errands to run. Take laaaite! We can always tell the ones who are waiting — “just 2 minutes mein aatun” even if we are hours away. But why does it matter? After all, hum Hyderabadi hai.