Cakes and pastries can wait, try the ashrafi, phirni or some shahi tukda first. Minced meat can be had another time, go for roti pe boti. And hey, choco chip cookies are common, it’s the season to have Osmani biscuit dipped in some creamy irani chai.
While you are at it, ditch your regular franchisees and head towards these ‘food stops’ that have become synonymous with the city and its cuisine. Sans an AC ambience and pipe music, these eateries contain cutlery that is basic, but serial lights that match up to Dabbang set. Get in the festive mood and let your spirits go dhin-chak as the rows of serial lights blink and twirl faster than you bat an eyelid.
Online groups in the city aren’t just bonding over food, sites to click photos, discover Hyderabad and mak the best use of the holy month of Ramzaan; they are also helping everyone re-discover the city’s nook and corners and unravel some of the city’s well-kept secrets.
'We have always heard about the much-talked of places for haleem, but then one of us chanced upon this new place, that happened through the group. Now we are very proud to say the haleem from Cafe 555 is undoubtedly the best,' says Mohit, a food blogger and also a professional chef who’s currently enjoying a kitchen break.
Similarly, photo clubs are making the best use of the time to catch the moods and frenzy of shoppers and people around the city as the festive mood rekindles the moist atmosphere of the city. 'This is the best time to capture people in their element. People from across cultures throng the old city to be a part of the month-long festivities.'
As Sanjay Borra who specialises in capturing the city with his camera says, 'This is also the time to click the best picture of a united humanity. Families are bonding as they soak in the natural atmosphere; no one minds the rain. In fact families are not leaving children behind because they want to introduce them to a culture they will grow up with and this will stay with them for long.' The mood is easily captured in the photos (below) which Sanjay shared. Sanjay and his group of friends did a ‘photo walk’ around Charminar and saw it buzzing and glowing by night.
For newcomers this is the best way to get to know the city. Food and photo walks aren’t just about visiting the old city. It is about getting to know the city you live in. 'I wouldn’t have thought of having tea at an Irani cafe or walk at an odd place like Masab Tank. It is not in my radar of work. And while I was functioning within the radar, I found myself limited to my ideas of culture and places to visit. So I joined them and I am glad I did,' says Neha Kumar, a marketing professional. Rain and cycling could have been a damper, 'but not if you have the right bait. The bicycling group and ‘Bikeaffair’ are constantly looking at opportunities to arrange rides, so this weekend we decided on a ride and a route and named it The Haleem Ride. It was a fun ride — eat, burn and eat,' says Gokul of Bikeaffair.
So if you are not part of a group yet, join in for some fun in a group.