Hyderabad and Flood

26 September 2016

Sitamgar mahina, is how old Hyderabadis refer to the month of September in commemoration of the September 28, 1908 floods. There was an unstated reference to that in many conversations in the past week in Hyderabad. Will we see a reenactment of the great Musi flood on September 28th ? The reference has mostly been to the rainfall. How easy it is to forget that even if the same amount or even more rain falls, it is not going to be on the same Hyderabad as it was in 1908. The¬†Hyderabad of September 28th, 2016 is one where the agrarian landscape has been broken, fragmented, erased and forgotten. The people who live in this new urban landscape have no idea which way the water flow when it rains. They do not know what terms like foreshore, command area and surplus weir mean. For the denizens of this land now, katta maisamma and the mazaar are annually recurring events of blaring loudspeakers. Property boundaries of houses and apartment complexes are unlike boundaries of farmlands. Bowlis and kuntas – (step wells and percolation tanks) are now cellars and parking spaces, streampaths are now roads, and covered stormwater and sewerage channels. The only way they can protect themselves against rain is to line up sandbags and cement bags to divert water, pump out the water and throw it into the neighbor’s property, remove manhole covers to banish the water underground. We wonder whether these techniques and tactics adequate to take on the challenge of climate change. But we already know how to deal with climate change. Blame it on climate !!

Smart City and Blind Policy

14 July, 2016

“The vision of the smart city, while alluring, is unlikely to serve the needs of the majority of urban dwellers. As India prepares for its urban awakening, it may be time for the government to stop dreaming.” Nikhilesh Sinha, the author of the piece, is a Fellow of Hyderabad Urban Lab

Click here for the whole news report:

Pre Monsoon Action Plan

16 June, 2016

Meet the men and women who keep you safe from overflowing sewers in the monsoon. Year after year, GHMC and HMWSSB undertake pre-monsoon clearing work in storm water and sewerage systems of Hyderabad. The work is carried out by teams of young men and women engaged by contractors. This particular group of workers commute every day from Karwan to work in Ahmednagar ward. Say ‘Thank you’ to them when you run into one of them.

Photos by Vilasini Kailasam & Prathyusha Madapathi

Window to The World

11 March, 2016

Sridhar Potlacheruvoo

A narrow opening in the wall,
That is my window to the world.
Blue azure is the constant sight.

Is it near or is it far?
It appears to be near,
But is always out of my reach.

Is it empty or is it complete?
It appears to be empty,
But encompasses everything.

Viewing the vast expanse,
Through such a small opening,
Should I be sure of my perceptions?

Note to Self

5 October, 2015

Note to self: Next time you get into an autorickshaw or a cab, ask the driver if he uses pay-per-use toilets in Hyderabad. (You should do the same when you run into a GHMC street sweeper.) Someone pointed out to me this morning that autorickshaw drivers cannot afford to leave their vehicle on the street and go to relieve themselves. The same applies to hawkers. They cannot afford to leave their wares and go to relieve themselves. In other words, they can only relieve themselves when there is someone to keep an eye on their belongings or when they can keep their wares in view even as they go to relieve themselves.

J J Hindustani

30 September, 2015

We came across this man parked on the road and dusting the lamps on his auto-rickshaw and asked, why he has decorated it this way?
He said, “Dil bola is liye. Dil se badhkar kya cheez hai?”
Aapka naam kya hai?
“J J Hindustani. J for Jay Jawaan. J for Jay Kisan.”
Photo le sakta hoon?
“Haan! Ruko.. (He switched on the lights) ab lo. Facebook par dalna.”

Urban Spaces

23 August, 2015

Neha Vaddadi

Urban spaces have specifically peculiar details that we don’t tend to notice in our everyday hurry to get from point A to point B. Sitting in my car one morning, waiting for the signal to turn green so I could turn left onto First Lancer Road near Masab Tank, a large flock of pigeons flew out of Khaja Mansion, as they must do almost every morning. Seeing this I immediately had the urge to sketch this lovely scene, which nobody seemed to be noticing except me!- Neha Vaddadi

Young Pathways

Neha Vaddadi

This beautiful visualization – is extracted from a series of biographical interviews with young people. Neha Vaddadi, HUL researcher spatializes the respondents accounts of how they relate to the city at different scales- home, neighborhood and the broader city.

Summer Sweetness

11 June, 2014

The sweetest moment so far this summer at Hyderabad Urban Lab happened yesterday. Sarayu Nandakumar, one of our interns, a second-year college student, concluded her reflections on the internship by telling Pullanna Vidyapogu, a PhD student in the University of Hyderabad that she looked up to him as a model of dedication and hard work. She said she hoped that one day she would be able to work like him. Pullanna, a good ten years her senior, responded to her saying that he looked up to her as a model for multitasking capabilities and hoped that one day he would be able to work along so many different tracks simultaneously like her.