It had been 6 and a half years since I last visited my father’s hometown of Hyderabad. Much too much has happened since then. I had packed the city into that semi-conscious portion of my brain; dimly aware of the changes, the rebirth, the bombings, and the undefined family that called it home.
My cousin and I set out the first day, however, to escape the city. We drove on what will eventually become a new Ring road around an ever expanding metropolis. One day, for it still is in actuality mostly a single lane carving of asphalt broken at the edges into jigsaw patterns that winds through fields of scrub vegetation and immense boulders. For one of the few times here in India I feel that there is space.
Water is an increasingly scarce resource in this part of the country. Lakes that serve as Hyderabad’s principal water source have diminished in size by a third, yielding up carpets of green, low grasses that will soon become brown like the land around them. Signs around the lakes, which attract those wishing to escape the city for a few hours, still warn of the dangers of entering the water. The dangers include crocodiles.
The government is rapidly in process of creating a massive expressway from what will be Hyderabad’s new international airport to the hi-tech city of Cyberabad. The expressway will cut across this open space, and bring with it construction and houses and an even larger city. Not yet, though. My cousin and his wife purchased a small plot of land out in this rocky parkland, and we visited the site of their future home. We parked the car as near we could and climbed onto two massive rocks. In the distance lay Golconda Fort, which seemed small in comparison to the stone beneath our feet. The home would be built out of and using these rocks, which seemed to have been rolled there by some large hand; awkward cast-offs from a game of marbles. We listened to the silence and to birds. Then, the rolling booms of demolition, as the government burst open the land with explosives, and opened the way for the expressway to come.