An Unexpectedly Pleasant Surprise

I woke up at 5:30 to the upbeat alarm ringing from my brand new iPhone, and I got ready to go outside with my family. It was a chilly morning, and the sun was rising just above the lake, and I really wanted to go down for a lazy stroll, but time wouldn’t allow for such pleasures just then. We had a place to go to.

We barely gobbled down our breakfast, and we hurried out the door to leave for one of the most iconic locations of Hyderabad: Ramoji Film City.

You would have heard of this place, for being the largest film studio complex in the world, spanning a total area of 1,666 acres. That’s a lot of land! Built in 1996, this studio, which includes 47 sound stages, 2 hotels, a bird sanctuary, an amusement park, and various permanent sets for prominent Indian movies, was set up without cutting down even a single tree or removing a mountain. At least that’s what an executive said.

We started from home at around 8 (much to the annoyance of my dad, who wanted to leave by 7:30) and began an hour, 72 km long journey to the famous Ramoji Film City. I even had the chance to create an impromptu On The Road playlist, which you can find HERE.

At around 9:30 or so, we finally reached the place we drove that long for. This was a place that I wanted to go to for a long time, but I never could, and so you can probably imagine my excitement as we entered through the majestic arched gateway.

Anndddd…

With that, we were jolted back into the uncomfortable, absolutely unpleasant world of reality, when we proceeded to buy tickets from the online ticket counter. Words can’t be used to describe how appalling the situation was. Words shouldn’t – those would be some really dirty, foul and insulting words.

In the end, it took us 45 minutes just to get tickets and another 15 to get inside. By 10, my spirits were completely deflated and had no interest in exploring this place anymore. I had made up my mind that this was one place I would never visit in my life ever again, unless if I were with my friends, who I could (probably) vent my anger on.

We were then told to get on a bus that would ferry us to the centre of the complex, and I felt kind of scared. I felt like this was going to be the start of a very bad day. But still, the scenery outside was one worth capturing, so I took the time to chill out and gather myself.

Soon, after having a few refreshments, we got into- you guessed it- another line. That was it. I lost hope that this place could have anything to please me anymore, with its childish playgrounds and the sound of children screaming everywhere. I WAS TURNING INTO A GIANT SQUID OF ANGER AND I WAS LOSING MY MIND ( AND WHY AM I WRITING IN ALL CAPS?).

Little did I know that this was going to change.

We got into this really dim-lit room where, on a screen, Ramoji Rao (founder) was telling us why this place meant so much to him and why he created it in the first place. And once the video was over, a cute and funny man took us to a stage and told us how for a film’s success, everyone plays an equally important role. He chose a girl to play the role of the protagonist, and I volunteered to be the sound technician. You know what I did? I made the sound of moving horses. With rocks and coconuts. The end video was pretty spectacular, here it is:

I think that was when I realized that this place wasn’t really as bad as I thought it was. That was a good feeling to have.

We got on another bus which was going to take us on a complete tour of the place, and honestly, I felt excited.

Now that we were in a better mood than before, we felt more lively about the whole experience. And I started doing what I had come here for in the first place.

I started taking pictures.

Cue the picture diary (I’m gonna stop talking now):

img_6168.jpg
The road to Ramoji
A jaali in one of the many sets over there
Imagine one of those in your room at night – actually, don’t
#twofilters
Hi!
There was a FAKE RAILWAY STATION. WITH A TRAIN.

This is way better than actual railway stations in Hyderabad
A snapshot of the Japanese-themed park. Nice, no?
“I got my shoes wet!”, I said to my dad after this shot. He was not happy.
This place deserves more appreciation than it gets
Hi, bespectacled mom!
Hi, bespectacled dad!
This place is a VERY BIG DEAL.
Scene 1
Scene 2

That is one majestic looking horse
How is this place real? It’s so beautiful!

It took my mom 7 tries to get this perfect shot
eh

If you don’t find this picture cute, you have no emotions
’cause why not just take pictures of my feet?
or my sunglasses?
QUACK
Cute little trees
This place just makes me feel happy
Autumn sun in Hyderabad is always beautiful
#PortraitMode
Night lights before we left

In the end, what I thought was going to be an absolute disaster turned to be one of the best moments of my holidays. Going to Ramoji Film City wasn’t just a cool experience. It was one of the weirdest, unexpectedly great experiences of my life. When I look back, I realize that at no point of the trip did I ever feel overwhelmed by the chaos or complete joy of being there. Being there was enough.

Cheers,

Udita.

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