Smugly I await questions from audiences in seminars on whether the City of Hyderabad is a global brand, or merely international – pretending simultaneously that there is a difference between the two, and better, I know it. “We are an international brand of a city, a bit like Kuala Lampur, or Dallas, or Rotterdam, but not global enough to be a London, New York or Sydney,” I say.
Therefore I was stumped when a little bird called my ‘pretend-to-be-expert’ ease by asking – ‘give me one idea by which we can become truly global?’
Dah! Never allow young people to ask questions in seminars ever again – they lack the hypocrisy disguised as political correctness of middle-aged people, and don’t seek to have a scratch-a-back quid quo pro on the go.
“Only when your food is craved for globally, by people of different nationalities while they are in their own cities can you say we have become global,” I holler with some satisfaction. “You see, when our own people travel to different parts and eat biryani there, we are international. When people from other countries come to Hyderabad and eat biryani while they are here – we are merely international. Global is when Italians and Americans cook and serve and sell biryani to Germans and Canadians in South America, like Noodles. Or Dim Sum.”
“How can we make biryani global, then?” the little bird continues to rattle me.
“Easy. Put the biryani inside of a bun, wrap it in a paper; and give two slick pouches for a new-improved raita and salaam. You have the biryani burger. Only so packed and ready for an explosion through franchisees can our delicacy become global. Meeting global needs of easy packaging, familiar format, and acceptable shape-&-size.”
Go for it, Hyderabad. Let us get out of our international-is-global conceit, and deceit. Let us give ‘em worldwide our biryani in their between-them-buns style and become truly global.
TAILEND: Heard this joke. Elon Musk is about to visit Hyderabad shortly. Someone apparently told him that instead of spending $200 million on developing a new surface transport system for Mars, he can get it already in action system at nearly no cost. And that Hyderabad can supply Mars-terrain-ready vehicles and trained drivers anytime – they must have had our autorickshaws in mind, surely.
THIS PIECE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS