I’m currently sitting by the backwaters in Alleppey, Kerala. It’s so peaceful and quiet, all I can hear are the very many birds swooping up and down the river and the rickety fan above me spinning away. This is worlds and worlds away from Hyderabad, if only a 2 hour flight away. I am now beginning to unwind, digest and process my crazy six weeks in Hyderabad and I am wholly committed to finishing my weekly blog posts on the experience!
So…Week 5 begins in the most explosive, colourful and vibrant way possible. Monday is a public holiday for all, Holi! Although we learn this festival is more celebrated in the North, we were determined to attend a holi party. Dressed in whites, we make our way to the Golconda Resort and Spa Hotel on the outskirts of the city, not knowing at all what to expect. In fact our Uber breaks down en route so we are helplessly left on the road looking like rather ridiculous wannabe spiritual-gurus (or something of the sort). When we eventually arrive we walk on to the lawn where multicoloured fabric is draped above the tent, making the space look rather spectacular. The coloured powder comes out and everybody is chasing and throwing colours at each other. It’s such exciting and uplifting fun. Before we know it the party turns into something like a Bollywood movie. The music thumps, the showers turn on and the rain dance begins. It’s so much fun!! Dancing, followed by an unlimited buffet of lovely Indian food and beer. Life is good!
Back to work on Tuesday, I learn lots as Prashant and I begin to brainstorm and test some ideas of solutions to the problems we have identified. It’s feels good to know the solutions we are coming up with for improving the marketing and communications are really tailored to the conclusions we have made from the customer research. I also have lots of fun using Canva, the free graphic design software I have discovered!
This week our workshops are led by Sharon from Israel and Elise from France. They are perfectly reflective and in tune with it being our last week of workshops. Elise’s workshop is on Business Chemistry, a behavioural/personality type test led by Deloitte. It’s a similar process to Myers-Briggs and the workshop aids in me reflecting, giving me confidence to know that although we may draw naturally to one certain ‘type’, I do have the ability to adapt my style to the situation. Sharon’s workshop is based on our mental mappings of Hyderabad, it was interesting to hear everyones perspective and experience of the city. I have really loved the Wednesday workshops on the programme, learning from each other and sharing our knowledge.
As the group come to realise its our penultimate week in the city we try to squeeze in all the restaurants, cafes and sites we have not yet seen. On Friday morning we awake at sunrise as Mohan, Madhavi and their 15 year old son Pranav have kindly offered to take us on a tour around the Old City. It’s such an interesting experience to see the original city, as we acknowledge just how much Hyderabad has sporadically grown in its modern, hi-tech ways, the places and ways in which we have been living for the past month. This part of the city is heavily Muslim, with narrower streets and unassuming restaurants and shops. There is not a construction site in sight! We stand drinking Iranian chai and biscuits in front of the famous Charminar, standing tall above us. Afterwards we also visit the Qutb Shahi Tombs. It’s quiet and we nosy around admiring the beautiful architecture.
Our last weekend together is a pretty chilled one. We hang out at Olive Bistro, an oasis up in the rocks overlooking the lake, chatting and singing to an eclectic mix of music including a bit of Paul Simon, George Micheal and Wet Wet Wet (!) On Sunday night I am back at Lamakaan as ex frontman, Rahul Ram, of Indian Ocean whom I have only discovered whilst being here, is playing! It turned out he talked politics, economics and life in India more than singing but it was still a very lovely evening.
Time in Hyderabad is soon coming to a close as I set in to my final week here. What an incredible adventure it has been so far…