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Present And Future of Hyderabad

Hyderabad stayed a more-or-less also-ran city of India until the late 1990s, when Chandrababu Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party took over as CM. An ambitious visionary, he caught on to the wave that was changing the world, and attracted the world's best software companies to set up bases in Hyderabad - Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Infosys, Satyam, TCS, Wipro, Vanenburg, D E Shaw and just about every big name was in Hyderabad, sky-rocketing it to the Silicon Valley of India.

Lakhs of youngsters from the city have seen their lives transform with the revolution, and their earnings and dignity manifold compared to those of their counterparts of a decade earlier who would get to sit in musty purchase offices of family-owned mid-tier businesses with a BSc degree and see life atrophy with gutkha, or get onto a shopfloor with a B Tech if they were not lucky enough to escape abroad. Naidu also helped set up world-class institutions in ISB and IIIT that put Hyderabad firmly on the global map.

A city known for Irani tea, Charminar and pan stains was sporting swanky offices where you had to swipe cards to enter and got free soft drinks, more and more youngsters had suitcases with international airline clearance labels that they understandably would not take off for a while, and soon there were multiplexes that charged thrice the normal fares as local theaters, and ran full shows all the time.

Hyderabad's transformation over the 2000s has been astounding. Sleek air-conditioned malls, plush movie theaters, global marquee brands with dedicated outlets, slick new restaurants opening every week, coming of age nightclubs, swank multiplexes, full front-page ads for gated communities, and a growing expatriate community are symbols of a one-way street.

Land prices have understandably sky-rocketed, in a sure sign that the city is reaching the business end of its history. In 25 years, Hyderabad will probably showcase an overindulgence in SUVs, accessories and McMansions. As for the traffic, it's a small price to pay for that. We're enjoying the ride.

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