British Deputy Commissioner of Telangana and AP Andrew Fleming recalls and reminisces his first day in the city
Bidding an emotional goodbye
He landed in Hyderabad exactly five years ago in 2017 and he leaves the city a changed man. British Deputy Commissioner to Telangana and AP, Andrew Fleming completes his tenure at the end of the month and gets emotional as he interacts with the media for what could be his last official interview.
He is easily one of the most loved diplomats the city has seen and welcomed with open arms. As a testament to that, Andrew mentions the ‘people’ of the city to be the single biggest thing he would miss as he moves on from Hyderabad. From sharing pictures of sweet little cups of coffee to magnificent locales, especially some hidden rocks and water bodies in and around the city, he is an absolute favourite of Twitterati and replies with the most humble yet funny responses on Instagram too.
Andrew says that while he’s happy with the work delegated to him, he wished the pandemic didn’t delay a couple of things. “Nevertheless, I go back with the joy of accomplishing what was expected of me. Right from trade and cohesion interface, to achieving the vision and visibility, reaching several goals and objectives surrounding prosperity agenda, community work, maintaining good relationships with all political parties of both states, and working towards things that truly matter — all of these would not have been a reality without my team,” says a humble Andrew.
Asked to name one commendable trait in her boss, Padmaja Konisetti, head of press and communications at the British High Deputy Commission, says, “I think I speak for others too when I say he’s probably the only one who cares about his colleagues’ personal growth as individuals. He isn’t making small talk when he asks me how I’m doing, he really wants to know.”
Andrew recalls the first two people in the city who took him out to see the resplendent Charminar, and for some scrumptious dinner in the first week that he landed. “My perspective about the city has grown and the city too has changed me for the better. It’s growing by leaps and bounds, especially in terms of information & technology. I was at the T-Hub launch and was proud of how far we’ve come. The city is also one of the very places in the world that shows something new each time you set out to explore —the innumerable monuments, trees, landscapes, parks, rocks, water bodies —the list just goes on. I only hope that while we look to expand on one end, we will be mindful of our cultural and historical building and spaces.” He then reaches for his phone to show pictures froma recent walk — huge, beautiful rocks with clear waters around them. He refuses to reveal the place for fear of overcrowding.
You’d think a foodie would mention biryani as their favourite meal in Hyderabad, but not Andrew: “I remember the yummiest of homemade idlis, vadas, dosas and chutneys that I had at some of the most senior politicians’ homes — MLC Kalvakuntla Kavitha, Mizoram Governor Hari Babu when he was in AP and Finance Minister T Harish Rao, who even served them onto my plate himself.”
Asked what’s the one thing he’d take home from Hyderabad, he mentions two: “One is a truckload of memories in the form of pictures on my phone and two, the traditional wear of Telangana. I find it so freeing and comfortable. I’m sure people back there will love it too — our typical jeans and formal pants aren’t always that comfortable, especially with such weather conditions.”The diplomat can’t wait to spend some quality time with his family once he gets a break. “I hope to be able to spend Christmas with my family and even visit my in-laws in Vietnam — it is long due,” he signs off.