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Hyderabad loses shine to coronavirus; Old City retains its charm

Hyderabad loses shine to coronavirus; Old City retains its charm
Both the vendors and the purchasers seem to be high spirits at Charminar. Photo: Mohammed Hussain

Nihad Amani and Mohammed Hussain

Hyderabad: Right from the phone ringtones to the traffic signals the government is constantly bombarding with warnings to be cautious with the presence of the dreadful virus in the air.

Amazingly the blitz appears to be working in the New City while its effect in the Old City seems to be minimal.

Hyderabad loses shine to coronavirus; Old City retains its charm

In the Old City, the siasat.com was once again faced with the same response that in a way defines the attitude of the people there. They were heard saying ‘baigan bhi faraq nahi padta’ and ‘Allah Miya ki marzi’ (in polite terms it means, it hardly makes a difference and It is God’s wish).

Neither the face masks nor sanitisers nor any other protective gear is seen in the walled city which is said to be as old as perhaps Charminar. In other words 0ver 400 years old. This is seen at a time when the awareness campaign has been launched with a full blast.  

Chabutra (gatherings at locality level) sittings was still prevalent in the city. Even worse, the people are enjoying the awareness campaign for its innovation but not to follow any instructions. Youthful Bollywood sensation Kartik Aryan’s long monologue on the subject is being enjoyed and at the same time the small innovative messages on TikTok.

‘Bees (20) ke du’; ‘sao (100) ke char (4)’ echoed lanes and by-lanes around Lad Bazaar, Madinah Building and Charminar. The vendors were selling artificial jewelry especially the malas or necklaces. Both the vendors and the purchasers seem to be high spirits. The buyers, mostly from the New City, were swarming these sellers as if they would never get these deals again in life.

Moreover, the government decided to lock down the entire city on Sunday, small scale businessmen have multiplied in numbers around Charminar. They say they have to have money for today as well as tomorrow the entire city will be closed. The Saturday in a way appeared to be a Sunday market.

Moreover, tens of tourists were also spotted at Charminar to explore, enjoy, shop and witness the happenings at the Old City Centre.

As a contrast to the swarming of the market by the small businesses, the regular bigger shops in the market were closed down.

The chuski (a sip) of Irani chai, Osmania biscuit, Biryani, sugarcane stalls, all small and big hotels were seen open with a number of people enjoying the newly found open spaces.

Meanwhile, the scenario in the New City presents a contrast. Here the roads are as empty as on a Sunday. Some even say it is ‘curfew’ like situation.

The roads which are usually going chock-a-block such as Lakdi ka Pul, Mehdipatnam, Khairtabad, Tank Bund, Banjara Hills, Masabtank, Ameerpet and Abids were mostly deserted.

The shops at Jagdish Market that was selling electronic gadgets like hotcakes until yesterday were closed; shops on Chapel Road were all almost shut out.

At the same time, big name Super Stores and brand names like Neerus, Kashish, Gehna, Meena Bazaar were opened but with no public.

“Sawari nahi hai saab (there are no customers),” stated auto-rickshaw drivers at Koti, near Andhra Bank.

The always busy lanes of Tolichowki and Mallepally Bazaar were seen also seen deserted.

The supermarkets and Kirana shops (general stores), on the other hand, were seen doing brisk business.  People out of apprehensions that the City is moving towards a lockdown went out in large numbers to buy groceries and other necessary items.

The Hyderabad, on Saturday, was not the same it has always been.

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