Rewinding in summers of Hyderabad
Though summers are detested for their unbearable heat and dust, they always make me rewind to indulge in memories of my school and college days, reminisces the writer V Harsha
It was basically the summers of 80s and the 90s which constituted my days of growing up. Life in the 80s especially was a lot simpler than it is now
When I look back now That summer seemed to last forever and if I had the choice Yeah, I’d always wanna be there those were the best days of my life
Well yes. Bryan Adams’s Summer of 69 is one of my all-time favourites (and not forgetting Donna Summer’s Love to Love you Baby song which injected that teenage heat in the 80s and 90s with her husky and sexy voice) and it probably best describes the essence of this write-up. No, I’m not going to talk about my experiences in the Summer of ’69, which were chaotic and troubled by the Telangana agitation, which put brakes on a year of our studies. But then, whatever I probably will be writing here is what I experienced and felt while I was growing up and in that way it’s quite similar to what Bryan Adams felt too. Summers in Hyderabad have been memorable for me. The scorching days greeted the arrival of summer schools and one is back home by noon.
During the 70s, before the arrival of ACs and electric gadgets, we used to get the natural cool comfort under water-soaked ‘tadikas’(bamboo-lattice). They had certain natural ‘musk’ fragrance and the cooling effect used to last till the evening. Another comforting summer special was ‘taati munjelu (Asian palmyra palm or Borassus flabellifer the botanical name) which gave real comfort to our parched throats. There were getaways to cooler climes, though in those days some, owing to the ‘strings’ attached to the wallet, preferred to stay indoors and spent their time playing indoor games like the carrom, Ludo, business or plain cards. Chess was another intellectually stimulating game which used to arouse passions and emotions between players.
The Hyderabad roads in the 70s and 80s were not crowded as they are now and the deserted streets and thoroughfares opened up for business only after 5 p.m. The present Kothi, Sultan Bazar, Badhi Chowdi, Chiikadpalli, Narayanguda witnessed less shoppers than what one sees now. Movie halls were another pastime with A/C theaters proudly proclaiming their ‘cool-cool’ touch to ward off the rising mercury levels. Summer nights taught us planetary motions and the clear night skies enabled us to see The Milky Way and the early morning mercury star which shone brilliantly just before the dawn. We were guided by our elders and books written about planets in the nights and their positions were explained in detail by the knowledgeable. No astronomer or a teacher of the present day could have explained better.
Ramagundam, Rentachintalla and Bhadrachalam were the hottest spots in terms of soaring mercury levels in those days too. AIR Hyderabad was the only source to know the intensity of the summers. They also had interesting summer special programs for women, workers and farmers. I remember the large B&W TV sets that stood for entertainment in our homes and Doordarshan in those early transmission days, along with the evergreen transistor/radio, made our summers eventful. I also remember the entry of colour TV broadcast with the ’82 Asian Games that were staged in Delhi. I was in my early job days and my first vivid experience of identifying a movie star was captured carefully with my first movie Ram aur Shyam in my school days with Dilip Kumar.
It was basically the summers of 80s and the 90s which constituted my days of growing up. Life in the 80s especially was a lot simpler than it is now. In my case, most of my early memories are from the 80s. Watching 1-3 movies in a month was a definite routine. Sangeet, Dilshad, Zamarrud, Royal, Sandhya, Sudarshan twin theatres were our favorite movie points. Language was never a barrier for choosing the film. Typically in those days Chitrahaar on good old DD used to be a big draw. Since watching TV in those days was a community phenomenon, there would always be people at home. My reading of Filmfare and other such magazines would typically be in a saloon or in some other friend’s home.
I was accustomed to listening songs on radio, especially on Vividh Bharati. Ameen Sayani’s Binaca/Cibaca Geetmala was my favorite and it certainly was the precursor to all the countdown shows which became popular on TV much later. Of course sports, especially cricket, soccer and tennis, were something that I really embraced and, thanks to DD, I would be glued to the World Cup Soccer matches, overseas Test matches, then followed by one-day matches and, of course, the Tennis Grand Slam tournaments. The center posters of Sportstar used to adorn the walls of my room and collecting them was a big passion as much as other hobbies that I was into like philately and numismatics. Though summers are detested for their unbearable heat and dust, they always make me rewind to indulge in memories of my school and college days.