From Village Hut to Jubilee Hills
Jubilee Hills is Hyderabad’s most coveted address, and a drive past the mansions here reveals why. Some houses look elegant while many are hideous, but all are quite large. Jubilee Heights, the lavender-and-pink apartment block on road number 86, is not imposing. Neither is the first floor duplex apartment, the home of Mannam Madhusudana Rao. There is a stuffed toy tiger and a doll in a blue dress on a shelf. A picture of Shirdi Sai Baba hangs on the wall, below a flat-screen TV in the living room – familiar kitsch found in many a middle-class home. Yet, the house is a powerful symbol of having arrived.
“I had come to this area earlier, when I was in the eighth or ninth grade, to help my brothers who were working as masons at the house of the Nagarjuna Constructions chairman (AVS Raju),” says Rao, founder and managing director of MMR Infra Projects. That’s when he started dreaming about living here, his assistant Kumaraswamy interjects. Rao corrects him. “I decided to live here only now. When I was working here, I could not even dream of it,” says the soft-spoken entrepreneur dressed in an ill-fitting brown jacket and trousers with a slight sheen and a pale yellow shirt. He says he got the house “cheap” four years ago, paying “2.5”. I must have looked puzzled because he immediately adds, “2.5 CR (Rs 2.5 crore), madam.” The house measures 4,000 square feet, he says, with a hint of pride.