I was home alone. My parents had gone to Chennai on work. I was chatting online with some friends after a long time. Suddenly, I heard a lot of commotion outside my house. I caught only one phrase - 'Jai Telangana'. I rushed towards the front of my house. Through a window I saw about a hundred people with pink flags walking past my house sloganeering and shouting. Chants of 'Jai Telangana' rent the air.
I watched, not worried at all. They were not there for me, nor did I have anything to do with them. Suddenly, I heard a noise which sounded like a mild explosion. It was clearly just a few feet from the window I was at. I realized it was from inside my house. I was horrified. It was either a bulb which had broken or a stone that had hit a glass window. Immediately however, some people within the crowd shouted at one of the others. "Eh, Eh!" The crowd moved on.
I breathed a sigh of relief. Whatever it was, it had passed without much damage. For a moment however, I was petrified. I was dreading that more could come. Thankfully, it did not.
Mobs are not rational, right? Who could explain, indeed who would have an opportunity to explain to them that I had nothing to do with this. That I was not even from the state. The concept of Telangana and Andhra was completely alien to me.
On Saturday evening, I was returning from a hospital where I had gone to discuss something with a doctor. We had heard there that Section 144 was imposed in the city because there was some violence in Ameerpet and Punjagutta areas.
I passed by the Paradise bus stop. I saw about a couple of hundred people who had gathered at the bus stop. It was not an unruly crowd. It was an eclectic mix of the old and the young, men and women, children and adults. There was one thing common among them. Worry. They were all waiting for buses to take them home. Buses had been withdrawn because some unruly hoodlums had broken some buses during the violence that evening.
They had no means of getting back safely to their homes. Autos were either absent or were charging unaffordable amounts. They were all waiting anxiously hoping some bus would come and take them home.
I felt really bad for them. I have no idea how they went home. No buses plied that day.
Kartik is a software programmer. He has one major grouse. He says, "The only complaint I have had is that my Telangana dialect is not accepted by anyone around me, and as for the film industry they have come to brand it as a rogue dialect which saddens me." The Telangana dialect is spoken only by villains and comics. Never the lead actor.
It is this attitude which bugs the hell out of people from the region. Nobody likes to be made fun of. Too silly a reason for a separate state? Well, depends on which side of the divide you are on. There are other reasons too.
Two of South India's largest rivers flow through the region but the large parts still do not have access to proper drinking water. The basic reason for separate statehood is that the powerful Andhra people have systematically exploited the region and promoted their own kin. The rightful owners of the region's bounties have always got a raw deal. You can read more about the history of the demand for a separate state here.