It's pretty cold across India and that seems to be one of the main topics of conversation when talking to friends and relatives in various cities across the country. And Delhi is rather cold too with wind-chill, low temperatures, fog and rain. So a trip last weekend to Hyderabad turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Not only was it not cold - it wasn't uncomfortably warm either. In fact, there was a pleasant breeze all-day on the first day and the second day was cloudy bright. Evenings were a bit chilly - but very comfortable by Delhi standards.
But besides the weather, the trip had other highlights too. I was at Indian School of Business (ISB) - which has recently become India's first B-school which has got a global ranking. The Financial Times ranked ISB at 20th on a global scale. The seminar was on Asian business families and had very high profile speakers. From members of top Indian business families, to Kellogg professor John Ward, the seminar was very high on top content. The ISB campus is as good as many of the top B-school campus around the world.
Hyderabad had earned the title of Cyberabad under the former chief minister Chadrababu Naidu. It has, in fact, given competition to India's Silicon Valley - Bangalore in many ways. Hyderabad is also an educational hub and provides skilled human resources for the IT and IT-enabled services industry. With a large number of its residents going overseas, Hyderabad attracts a large part of the foreign remittances from NRIs and it is one of the Indian cities with high spending power among its consumers. A reason perhaps for the growing number of malls around town.
But there for no time to go mall hopping for me. However, I did go to Golconda Fort in the evening for a SOund & Light show. WIth Amitabh Bachchan as the 'voice', the show turned out to be awesome. The history of Golconda has tragic undertones and the sprawling fort is largely in ruins today. But the sound and light show amidst the darkness all around, brings it alive to the audience. And then there's the enjoyble experience of shopping for pearls. The beautiful strings of pearls - in colours ranging from grey to purple, pink and of course pearly white - are available in shops around the Charminar or at the more upmarket Punjagutta Road. There are big names such as Mangatrai Jewellers and Mamanram Srikishan. Besides pearsl, coral jewellery too is a specialty of Hyderabad. And finally, what's Hyderabad without its Biryani or the paans?