It is a truth universally acknowledged that on a weekday morning, more than at any other time, malls are inhabited largely by two types of species. The former is the shopaholic. She (for it is, interestingly and usually, a woman) is the well-off serious shopper, armed with enough plastic and plastic bags to be declared a health hazard to her own self.
The latter category, not to confused with window-shoppers, comprises a larger populace in the mall - that of 'lukkhas'. This is that particular part of the janta (again, interestingly and usually, young men) that has nothing better to do than while away their time in air-conditioned comfort.
City Center is no exception to this norm; on a sun-kissed Wednesday morning, beneath its skylight and amidst a love triangle of black marble, grey steel and off-white granite, more than a few young, er, couples (read men) lounged about or sat on pretty wooden benches, sometimes holding hands, while fewer shopaholics kept the escalators, and cashier counters, abuzz.
And for ardent shoppers, there is no dearth of stores at City Center where one can blow that moolah. In fact, this mall may well stock something for the accidental budget-shopper as well. For example, on the ground floor itself is a My Dollar store, where one can find inexpensive cutlery and knick-knacks for the home; particularly economical is the deal wherein you can buy hardbound notebooks for Rs. 100.
The next-door neighbor, Food Bazaar, is much better stocked than its counterpart at Hyderabad Central
. Regular shoppers inform us that the vegetables and fruits are fresher here, and the outlet also offers good discounts on various household supplies.
Also located on the ground floor are stores like Me N Mom and Revolutions By Liberty, sporting a window display worth being goggled at by window shoppers.
Taking one of the two glass elevators up to levels one, two and three, you find a continuation of the same. Branded stores such as Globus, Louis Philippe, Just In Vogue, Scullers (all on the first floor); Max, Mothercare
(the second floor); and Jockey, Pepe, Levi's Store (the third), selling their quality wares at rates that are sometimes competitive, sometimes discounted, but affordable mostly by those who perhaps live in the vicinity - Banjara Hills.
Proceeding to higher elevation, you find the pricing further elevated. Occupying a huge chunk of the fourth floor is Collection i: Ideas For A Good Living. This furnishings and interiors store sells, well, furnishings and interiors. Specifically, it sells desk lamps that cost Rs. 500 on the lower-end. Of course, such a lamp seems a reasonable buy if you have ever had the misfortune of taking a look at the palpitation-inducing price tags of the lamps at '@home', the furnishings store bang opposite City Center.
Once shopping/aimless strolling has been done, mall-mongers gung-ho about food can either head for the fifth floor, where you can choose to satisfy your palate at any of the BJN Group's three restaurants (IndiJoe
's is arguably the most popular) and a pub, Firangi Paani
, or take the, er, lower route to McDonald
's (beware that youngsters almost live here, not just hang around) or the rather pricey cafe at Crossword.
On the whole, City Center is a pleasurable shopping and dining experience. But whether its popularity remains intact is another question - it is not long before it faces stiff competition from the much-awaited GVK One mall, a stone's throw. Not to mention the six other malls reportedly under-development in several pockets of Hyderabad.