After a long journey from Goa via Hampi, we arrived in chaotic and congested Hyderabad. For most foreign visitors to India the qualities of chaos and congestion might seem quite obvious, but Hyderabad is extra special in this respect. It is a pedestrian unfriendly place with rubble-strewn, broken pavements and walls stained with piss and betel juice. Where traffic horns incessantly, moving at intimidatingly high speeds and passengers spit out the windows of passing buses. The city of pearls and biriyani, mosques and high-tech, polluted rivers and ponds, with endless streets of wonder and little alleyways packed with commercial activities, spices, overly-sweetened tea, smelly ditches and colourful dyes.

The approach to likes and dislikes here can sometimes seem inconsistent; while little compassion is shown towards dogs and pigs, thanks to their alleged lack of cleanliness,  feeding pigeons (or flying rats) who leave faecal trails and other germs wherever they land is apparently fine. The irony is that this pigeon fancying often takes place in at places of worship, where people walk bare feet and are asked to be clean before entering. It might be true that Hyderabad has its unique charms, but they were not so forthcoming to me.