Indiana Daily Student

Column: Hyderabad: Building up and out

Before the sun rises over India tomorrow, I’ll be on a flight home to the United States.

I keep wondering if I would even recognize Hyderabad if I visit five or 10 years from now.

Construction is constant here.

Some friends and I traveled to Kerala last week. When I arrived back to my neighborhood, two buildings near my flat that have been under construction for months were almost complete.

The terribly potholed road was partially repaired, too.

It’s amazing how quickly things are built, considering how they’re constructed.

Wooden poles rather than metal scaffolding bear a building’s weight from floor to floor.

Layer upon layer of cement is added from the foundation up over the course of several weeks.

I have yet to see a hard hat or safety goggles around any construction site.

In Hyderabad, and presumably around the rest of the country, builders live hand to mouth.

To put it another way, they eat, sleep and work in the buildings they’re constructing.

Laundry hangs out to dry as workers mix cement or saw metal to support interior columns during the heat of the day.

Given the circumstances, it’s not surprising building collapses are fairly common.

In September, 61 people died when an apartment building collapsed in Mumbai.

The Guardian reported more than 2,650 people died in building or bridge collapses in India last year. But lack of building regulation and oversight is a story for another day.

Hyderabad isn’t just building up. It’s also building out.

University of Hyderabad is located in Gachibowli. When it was founded in 1974, the spacious university campus was at the outskirts of the city.

Now, it’s almost part of the hustle and bustle of Hyderabad. HITEC City, the information technology hub, is right next door.

I’m excited to see what’s in store for the city I’ve grown to appreciate during the course of these five months.

Looking back on my time in India, I hope to remember both the mundane and the exceptional.

I want to remember the dusty walks along the side of the road to school when I couldn’t manage to catch an auto, as well as walking up to the Taj Mahal in Agra.

The sound of the paperboy shouting up from below our balcony every morning is just as vivid in my mind as the sight of the tea plantations in Munnar from 2,200 kilometers above sea level.

Life here can be a sensory overload. I expect living in the U.S. again will feel unusually calm.

These columns have been a way to process, reflect on and remember my experiences in India. Thanks for sharing the journey with me.

­— kmthacke@indiana.edu

Follow columnist Kate Thacker on Twitter @KatelynThacker.

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