Panjagutta in the '70s was nothing more than two intersecting roads cutting across a dry forest (or at least that is how mythology has it), with just 2 oases in the form of a petrol pump and Hotel Shanbagh across the road. 30-odd years later, it still remains a jungle - only, a concrete one now. All the greenery that was a characteristic of this locality seems to be lost in the wilderness. Add to that a million-odd cars and their owners playing ducks and drakes, literally and figuratively.
And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, behold the entry of concrete monstrosities of mega-malls. Home Town, which stands alongside Hyderabad Central
at the Punjagutta cross roads today, is as imposing as its sister mall next door. In sheer size, this is truly the mother of all home decor stores.
The promoters of Home Town have taken the one-stop-shop phrase rather seriously. The problem with this brick-and-mortar home decor store is that it seems to have everything that you need to build your home under a single roof, including bricks and mortar. Are we being rather cynical about the store? It's just that we cannot imagine putting a 29-inch LCD TV and "mera wala pink" wall paint in the same shopping cart.
Enter the store, and you are bound to lose your sense of direction. There is something about it that gives you nausea. It's probably the dizzy heights you have to scale to pick up something like a screw for the broken furniture at home. While one has to admit the megastore houses everything you could possibly imagine, somehow there seems to be a greater emphasis on all the items that are needed to build a house rather than those objects which make it a home.
The store is divided into 3 sections - exhibitions, markets and services. In the exhibition section, you find furniture displayed in mock-rooms (living room, dining room, bedroom, kids' room, kitchen and bathroom), which are so designed to highlight the furniture options relevant to that room with suitable flooring and wall colors. You'll find a simulation for every room, and in each of them you'll find a good variety of exhibits. You'll sofa sets, teapoys and book shelves in the living room exhibition, modular kitchen sets in the kitchen exhibition, dining tables in the dining exhibition, colorful study tables in the children's room section, and lots more.
The markets section consists entirely of consumer products that can literally be picked up off the shelves, like utensils, decor items, curios, furnishings, utilities and moth balls. The markets section is classified further into the living market, dining market, bedroom market, kids' room market, kitchen market, bathroom market, home furnishings, mattresses & eZone (consumer durables and electronics).
Among the most impressive features about the store are the services they promise, labeled under various categories such as Mr. Carpenter, Mr. Plumber, Mr. Electrician, Mr. Painter, Tilewala, Design Centre, Best Wishes, Grihapravesh, Door Delivery and Installation. These are professional consultants who will assist you with all the nuances of home making.
The mosaic of offerings in Hometown are bound to leave you floored. These guys can do everything for you. If you do make the effort to buy a hammer and some nails from the markets section, just avail yourself of the services of the inhouse carpenter to inaugurate the same. If a bath tub floats your boat, the plumber will teach you how to pull the plug. However all this comes with a consultation fee. So if you think you will not need the AUTO CAD skills of the design team to help you draw a line, you may simply avoid the services section.
To sum up, this store will never give you the satisfaction of buying some good furniture the conventional way, like say Andhra Pradesh Furnishings
at Nampally, or give you some great window shopping moments like @home
in Banjara Hills, but it houses any item that falls within the realms of your home. For casual shoppers like us, we'd rather catch a movie next door at PVR
, pick up a book at Odyssey across the road, or have a drink at Sixth Element
to pretend as if this visit never happened. And also, we never said what we just did!