I have a love-hate relationship with Hyderabad. I started living away from home & working in this city. I have a nice shelter here and am living in comfort that the average Hyderabadi doesn’t enjoy. And i love the Islamic heritage of the city. What I hate is the hostility & the weather. The common man on the street is very hostile compared to any other place. I feel this the moment I interact with someone in some other place. Winters are great but they are awesome everywhere else too. Summers are crazy and it barely rains in the monsoons. If it does, the city gets flooded too easily.
Towards the end of 2008 I realized I had travelled 26 weekends out of Hyderabad city. I told myself I can easily do 30 in 2009. Actually even 35 seemed reachable. After a week or so, as the idea grew in my head, I felt I could touch 40 with some effort and what if…. What if i hit 50 or better still… go all the way, travel all 52 weekends outside the city?
It is human nature to disbelieve, resist and discourage all extremes. This is mildly extreme, but most of my friends have the faith that if there is anyone passionate enough and crazy enough to do it, that they know personally, its me. Of course, its straining relationships with some, who feel I am not giving them enough time and abandoning them on the only days I could spend with the, but I am sure they will understand, that travelling for all 52 is important for me. Some have actually joined me or have made plans to join me on some of my weekends. If there is any one year of my life when I can do it the most conveniently, 2009 feels like the one.
What about health?
Will test my fitness and help me get closer to my body and undertand its limits and needs. I have already realized the importance of drinking enough water and eating fruits everyday.
It seems you’ve got too much money to blow?
Nope, I earn a very middle class salary and have expenses & savings to take care of. The weekend travels are almost always budget trips and often the intention is to keep the expenses minimal. Even if all my trips cost me Rs.1000 each, it would be Rs.52000 at the end of the year. This is a very modest and a super-optimistic estimate, I feel Rs.75000 is more realistic. I have made a couple of basic rules, travel only by Sleeper Class trains and avoid buying as much water as possible. In the summers, I might travel in AC and there will be thirsty times when I will purchase water, but will be conservative. Of course, I stay in backpacker lodges & guest houses or sometimes even a dharamshala to cut down on rents.
What about your job? How do you get so many leaves?
I have a 5-day week, and I work 60+ hours in those days. I deserve the break. In case I come late on Monday mornings or leave early on Fridays, my managers are kind & flexible Also, 2009 is filled with long weekends as multiple public holidays fall on Fridays.
Are there really 52 places to go from Hyderabad?
I doubt, please suggest me some. There will be inevitable repeats like Bombay, as that is my home-town.
What do you do on your trips?
I like to see places and meet people. So, I click photos, talk to strangers and eat great vegeterian food. Sometimes, I also couchsurf.