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Looking for a quick cup of chai after a walk around the Yousufain Dargah in Hyderabad’s Nampally locality, I spotted a brightly painted cafe occupying a part of an old building adjacent to the dargah. As I walked in, wondering if they also served Irani chai at what looked more like a small restaurant, I almost missed the group of men sitting on their haunches by the door. The sight was intriguing, for many of the men seemed to be dressed reasonably well to be beggars and their backs against the road confirmed they were not daily labourers either. Continue reading ›

Hasya Yoga Laughing Club, Hyderabad

The Hasya Yoga Club, a motley group of businessmen and professionals, meets at the KBR National Park in the heart of Hyderabad everyday with a singular purpose- to laugh. Between 6:30 and 7 in the morning, members of the group assemble at a small patch of open space inside the park and after a brief stretching session, laugh in different ways.  Like a lion, for example, though I dont recall seeing a lion laughing in all those Nat Geo and Animal Planet shows on TV. But I digress. All was well until the state Forest Department, concerned that the unnatural sounds made by the group might disturb the whatever few birds and animals that are left inside the park, ordered them to laugh elsewhere.

The club approached the AP High Court and got a stay¬† issued on the Forest Department’s order, following which OPEN wanted to do a small story. After almost a week of unanswered phone calls and pointless trips to the park, I got to photograph the group during one of their sessions. Interestingly the park’s entry ticket says ‘laughing and making noises inside the National Park individually or in groups is prohibited.’

Read the story by Anil Lulla here.