Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hyderabad- A Home Away From Home

On the Yacht
Goodbye from me until mid-September.  I’ve been asked to go to Washington for a five week assignment, and will take a little time off while I’m in North America, so I won’t be in Hyderabad for some time.  While I’m away, my colleagues will serve as “guest bloggers” to keep this blog alive. 

I have mixed feelings about such a long period away from my Hyderabad home.  I look forward to spending some time in the U.S., and getting a feel for the difficult political and economic environment I’ve been reading about in the press.  I’ll be seeing family and catching up with some old friends, although this trip is much more work than vacation.  But I know I’ll be more than ready to get back six weeks from now.

I certainly don’t feel I need to get away to find recreational opportunities.  I’m a dedicated golfer, and Hyderabad is blessed with some excellent golf courses and a very congenial community of golfers.  I know many people view golf as an elitist activity, and racquet sports enthusiasts often tell me they think golf is for old people.  I love golf, though, and think it has some unique advantages.  Although golfers participate in competitions where winners are identified, golf is really about competing with yourself, and trying to achieve the best score your skill allows.  It’s a game that men and women can play together, and relative beginners, as soon as they learn the rules and etiquette, can play with experienced golfers without affecting the latter’s enjoyment.  At both the clubs where I play there are excellent teachers and numerous aspiring junior golfers, so I’m sure golf has a great future here.

On July 9 I had a chance to sample another sport that a growing number of Hyderabadis are becoming passionate about: sailing.  I was invited by the yacht club of Hyderabad to participate in the Monsoon Regatta on Hussain Sagar.  It was inspiring seeing some 75 sailboats out on the lake when I arrived, with a junior race underway.  I was privileged to participate in the regatta alongside some of India’s most skilled sailors.  I’m afraid I wasn’t very helpful, but my boat managed to win the second celebrity race despite my getting in the way of the crew every time we shifted course.  If I didn’t already have an addiction to golf, I could certainly imagine becoming a dedicated sailor. 

I’m starting my trip in Vancouver, which the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) says is the world’s #1 most livable city.  I don’t think the EIU includes Hyderabad in its survey, but with a growing number of excellent golf courses, and a beautiful lake in the middle of the city (which HMDA is working assiduously to make clean), Hyderabad is surely climbing by any measure of livability.

So, goodbye, Hyderabadis! I’ll be back in September.

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