A friend and I were talking about traditions and rituals recently as one does during many new year celebrations (Bihu, Vishu, Tamil new years), Easter and Eid from a few weekends ago. I was remarking to her that growing up in Hyderabad meant that Ramzan was a special time of the year for me. I would travel to different parts of the city and eat some of the best food in the neighbourhood – comparing and contrasting which Haleem was better. Last year, I moved out of Hyderabad a few weeks before Eid, but I still had the opportunity to see the celebrations in the city.
This year, being away from Hyderabad has meant that I have been reminiscing about the city, its culture, food and other things that brought me joy. There was Hyderabad throughout the year which had its own pace, feel and habits but Hyderabad during Ramzan is a special time of the year when we can witness some of the heart and mood of the city. In a conversation with Conde Nast Traveller, Yunus Lasania, founder of the Hyderabad History Project, spoke about the best places to go and eat in Hyderabad during Ramzan.
This piece (and my own nostalgia) reminded me of our own conversation at TCC with Yunus and Serish, a journalist and a history nerd, released a couple of months ago. In the podcast both of them reflect on our relationship with our cities and what makes this relationship deeper, better and long lasting.
In his famous book, Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino writes: “With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.”
It is on this journey that we at TCC embarked on many years ago, to think of and reflect about what makes our cities buzz and how can we nurture the many things that work within it and transform or shift the ones that cause harm. During this month, I have been thinking about this more and holding onto the hope and desires within me and within the spaces I inhabit.
I hope you have been holding up okay and if you celebrated a new year recently, I wish you joy and comfort in these new beginnings.