Thursday, January 7, 2010

New turn for Hyderabadi malls

I went to Hyderabad and returned without much ado. So what? Plain irritation at petty politics marred my trip this time. But this post is not going to be a detailed discussion on politics and the burning Telangana issue. Like I care! How does it matter to me if one State is divided into two or 20? All I care for is some peace of mind, and a piece of land I guess. Is that a difficult bargain in return to my services to the society?

Okay politics and frustration aside, I had time to marvel at the new face of Hyderabad. I guess the city never ceases to surprise me. Air-conditioned APSRTC buses were one of the first things I noticed while nibbling a garlic bread at Pizza Hut in Banjara Hills. I wondered if the special service is area-specific - but what do people in a plush locality with super-fast swank cars need air-conditioned public transport system for?

But apna Hyderabad has become really posh bhai! Isn't that a good thing? Just when I thought there were more malls opening in the city than the number of people who can afford to shop at leisure without the need to keep track of the crisp currency notes left in their wallet, GVK One opened with lesser fanfare but definitely more patrons.

That took time to sink in. And when I started taking in and getting used to the enormity, the grandeur and the spoiled-for-choices environment at this place, I was taken on a surprise trip to the new mall that opened in the vicinity of another plush locality called Hi-Tech City in a much closer proximity to many prominent IT parks.

There you are! Inorbit Mall! It was nothing like I've ever seen before in Hyderabad. It reminded me so much of superstores like Walmart and Nordstrom where I used to spend most of my free time during my two-month stay in Mountain View, CA. Only much bigger, with five storeys of floor space as opposed to the single storey of the US superstores... Wow, that's definitely not what I was expecting from Hyderabad. I was, in fact, praying that Walmart and Starbucks should open chain stores in our very own city.

Inorbit is so huge that I was quite tired after checking out the neatly spaced out and well-arranged stuff in the ground floor itself. And I wondered - much too aloud to the liking of the crowd around - who had the patience or the energy to check out all the floors before hitting the food joints on the fifth floor. I went straight to the topmost floor as I needed to appease my growling stomach. Though less than a tenth of the entire floor was opened, the choices of food - both snacks and elaborate meals - were mind-blowing and pretty promising too.

So there I was - on the fifth floor of Inorbit trying to choose between a McDonald burger and a Tibbs Frankie, taking in the rest of the scents, well... odors in some cases, and letting my eyes wander warily around the spectacularly spacious mall. I finally settled for a burger and kept munching on while I was discussing - okay, all right, it was a torturous dramatic monologue my poor husband was subjected to - (in a rather animated tone) all things I liked and didn't like about the mall.

What I liked:
  • The space was definitely something I loved. And also the neatly arranged shelves with much wider berth between them that let people shop peacefully without irritating other consumers while jostling for space. Definitely not normal for a Hyderabadi superstore!! And it definitely doesn't trigger claustrophobia-ridden panic attacks.
  • The other feel-good factor is the feel of the store itself. At least I felt comfortable, at ease and pressure-free. I felt no obligatory need to buy stuff.
  • Plus, there were things which would attract all kinds of customers from different strata of society. If one can get over the initial inhibition of entering into a mall of such magnitude, it's a nice place to hang out - just for the works or the food.
  • The ample parking space is another good thing about the mall considering the nightmarish parking experiences elsewhere in the city.
Things I didn't like much:
  • It's a bit too huge for anyone's liking. One tends to get intimidated by the space at times... especially on a New Moon night. Hahaha! I hope they don't get greedy and mess with the arrangement of the shelves (I did spot that greed at a few places on the first floor).
  • I do feel that they should have stuck to one- or two-storeyed mall philosophy, rather than the current five-storey structure, as they have space on their side.
  • Forgetting where you parked your car is certainly out! You need to keep track of the alphabetical order and the specific cellar floor unless you want to face the frightening prospect of getting lost and going around in circles to locate your vehicle.
All in all, I had a nice feeling about the place. This is one mall I might keep going back to - no matter how far away it is from home - the way I used to frequent Walmart without ever getting tired of it. When I broached the Inorbit subject with friends, they had mixed reactions. 'Too big and suffocating', thought a few, 'too good', 'very cool' were other obvious, anticipated reactions.

So here's three cheers to the undaunted spirit of Hyderabad - Telangana or no Telangana - and its umpteen new malls!

1 comment:

bhavani said...

There is also a garden which overlooks the durgam cheruvu. Sit there and you can marvel at the city that is expanding. And when there is a Telangana bandh, Inorbit is open. It is that tribute to the spirit of Hydererabad, errr sorry Cyberabad that I like.