Breaking Hyderabad

This morning I finally took a cucumber selfie. I’ve spend much of the past week wandering through rows of cucumber vines inside modular greenhouses built by Kheyti, the company I’m embedded with to report on.

It is too hot and dry to grow anything outside right now, although some of the farmers have begun sowing for new crops. Many of them have cows or buffaloes who give me grumpy stares as I assault them with the DSLR flash.

I’m finally friends with the street dog that likes to hang in the door sill of the Kheyti office. The other day he was chased away and I went looking for him because I was worried about the heat. Found him around the block with three other dogs who were more skittish of humans; but he was happy to see me and I gave him some water.

Prajay Waterfront, the community where the office is, looks like it is either half completed or half abandoned. If I were staying here I’d find it equal parts spooky and boring. But I’ve come to find the surrounding farmlands lovely; here and there you can find some rugged boulders or a Hindu temple.

Venkusa Estates, the neighborhood where I’m staying, is next door to a 400-year old mosque. Those photos deserve their own post so I’ll just tease that here. There’s definitely a more suburban flavor to this area, with kids playing tennis or badminton in the street, and some beautiful home designs. Nevertheless, the surrounding aesthetic is often “faded concrete” (see: water tower).

I found a hangout spot in Secunderabad, sort of by accident, called the “Coffee Cup”; it’s a western-style coffee shop, with some fun tropical decor, kitchen-sink style ice cream drinks, and a slow and inattentive waitstaff, which adds to the charm. I can sit and read my miserable climate change book in peace and nobody will bother me about needing to buy more food. It’s the kind of place I wonder about, in terms of its reception by locals, but I’ve seen couples out on dates and the youth of India playing board games.


My Monthy Python Barista Moment


Someday, I will say this to my son about my career in coffee shops:

Listen Lad, I built my barista credentials up from nothing.

When I started last year at Soho, I didn’t know the difference between an Americano and a pourover. All the bosses said I was daft to try and serve a latte, but I served it all the same, just to show ’em. I got fired. So, I got a second job at a coffee shop. That started badly, ended on good terms only because Koffee KGB was pleased that I was getting a useful degree, then I came back and Koffee KGB sank into the swamp. Or he was reassigned to deepest Africa. The third coffee shop was also pretty bad and I got fired from that one too because the owner wasn’t pleased with my floor mopping.  But the FOURTH ONE. THE (HYPOTHETICAL) FOURTH ONE. The fourth one I stayed on for twenty three years! An’ that’s what your gonna get out of me, lad; the strongest, yet subtlest cuppa joe in this world or the next, one with a full body of syrupy notes and fine foamy head of flower designs to boot!”

and he will say “but I don’t want any of that–I’d rather just–just—”

and it doesn’t matter what he’ll say next because I won’t begrudge him the fool’s hope of finding a real job.