I hate …… Chennai

I needed that opening to hook you in :-). Now that I have your undivided attention, let me clarify what I meant by that line.

I hate that Chennai does not get its due share of credit from the “national” MSM (MainStreamMedia).
I hate that good news on Chennai often gets sidelined while moral-policing news hogs the limelight.
I hate that condescending attitude on the part of many clueless-about-Chennai armchair pundits.
I hate that Chennai often gets labeled as regressive because it is conservative (and the two not being the same).
I hate that non-Thamizh outsiders to Chennai who partake in its wealth and prosperity still harbor notions on why its Thamizh-character is uninviting to the general masses of “Hindi is the national language” zealots.

I hate that the only top-of-the-mind awareness items on Chennai for people who don’t feel an affinity to it are things like the hot-hotter-hottest weather, the water problem, the quintessential fleecing “Madras auto-kaaran” and the Coovum. In other words, not the following labels – “Detroit of India”, “medical capital of Asia”, “best for education with very good schools and colleges”, “international ports – land, air and sea”, “hard-working residents”, “intelligent people”, “finest quality movie industry with excellent post-production work, animation and technical skills”, “mecca for retail”, “highly qualified and talented labor pool with a history of harmonious industrial relations”, “second longest beach in the world”, “least polluted metro in India”, “safest metro in India”, “cheapest living costs among the metros in India”, “good blend of the traditional and the modern”, “variety of culinary delights”, “robust public transport and infrastructure”, “least traffic congestion among the major Indian cities”, “gateway to the South (with its better-preserved culture and heritage)”, “base of classical music and dance” and so on.

I LOVE THAT CHENNAI IS WHAT IT IS even now and doesn’t give a damn to what the world thinks of it :-). Its name does give a good idea of the quality and caliber of its denizens.

Chennai, you rock!

14 Comments so far

  1. Shalini (unregistered) on March 30th, 2006 @ 2:00 pm

    Agree with you. In fact I think I’ve had the same arguments with all these “Northies”, who keep saying Chennai is so boring. All I have to say to them now is “Pongada”

  2. Varun (unregistered) on March 30th, 2006 @ 3:23 pm

    Chennai, though being all the good things you have muttered about is BORING. Its not because of Chennai being an overgrown dusty town (I belong to a small town and I like it), not of Chennai lacking number of joints, discs, pubs, or any other things which people associate with Metros. Its not even due to lack hard working, sincere & educated people. Chennai can boost of having a huge number of people who are ready to toil for endless hours. As a businessman, its heavon for retail as people are too much crazy about Jewellery, sarees & foreign goods. You can sell anything here, anything, just put a logo ‘made in America’.
    So, what made it boring? Its the attitude of people. I am not generalising this for everyone, because I know many chennaites who are good sport but that number is too small. Overall attitude towards non-Tamil speaking people is what shalini said ‘Pongada’. If you can’t speak tamil, you are out. I am not talking about just autowallahs and all, even aducated people share this attitude (I think Shalini is also one of them). Go to Bombay, (sorry Mumbai), you will find people from every side of the country, they also have many problems, people fight, shout, poor roads, traffic jams, even they have small ‘Maharastrian movement’ but that is just hype and politics. Bombay people are most warm and far more accepting. Though, if you go outskirts of Bombay, people have that similar feelings against non-marathi people. Delhi, again have a huge mix and nobody care about that. Kolkatta, though comes closest to chennai but still with its huge number of non-bengali people living in there, that feeling is little bit more subdued.
    I have nothing against Chennai, as some of my friends say that its an ok town if you have a family here but for singleton its pain. In delhi,bombay, banglore or pune, you can still go out and find some friends (old and new) but in chennai, its more like you are roaming around shouting, dark machines with no sense of life.

  3. Prakash (unregistered) on March 30th, 2006 @ 4:44 pm

    Thennavan I could feel the vibrance of Chennai on reading your post.Shalini, Northies everywhere have the same attitude.(I’m from Cochin).They come down here and flourish in their business,have an affluent living and still would scream that life is boring.

    Varun,I see you blaming that its not possible to make friends in Chennai.But that isn’t true. Its always that the other side of the river is green and makes you feel cities like Mumbai,Bangalore and Pune are epitome of friendship.

    To have a handful of genuine friends doesnt require comparing cities .Its only the mindset, when you decide to make friends with an openmind you definitely see good number of friendly people.

    To have friends venture out just try attending blogger meets, Barcamp try joining some small courses like Toastmaster Speech club,you make friends when you go for a french class or a musical instrument class, a library and a regular joint ..the list is endless

    For a guy like me in Cochin only thro phone contacts I could garner a good number of friends in all the cities.

    Varun what was said above was in a genuine intention because I’m a singleton and I had the same feeling when I had come down to cochin initially and after seeing things in a right perspective I could make myself happy

    Regards Thennavan,Shalini&Varun

    Bye Prakash

  4. Varun (unregistered) on March 30th, 2006 @ 5:19 pm

    I was in Bombay before coming to Chennai, so, offcourse, I compare Chennai to Bombay. As you said rightly Prakash ‘mindset’, just read again your first lines
    “Northies everywhere have the same attitude.(I’m from Cochin).They come down here and flourish in their business,have an affluent living and still would scream that life is boring.”
    Instead of jumping on defense directly, its a better idea to keep an open mind. I have many friends in Chennai but the point is when I go anywhere in Chennai, I don’t feel being welcome there. The attitude, I was talking about is also present in mumbai (you have some pro marathi people) & Kolkatta (bengalis also have this strong sense).
    Speaking in simple terms, Chennites, mostly (not all) are so much insecure that they feel afraid of any thing not in their daily routine. Hopefully, this feeling will get diluted as more IT people come to Chennai but it’s there right now. And as an evidence, check both of your comments Shalini and Prashant.

  5. Anand (unregistered) on March 30th, 2006 @ 5:21 pm

    Egad! Now Chennaiites are pround of being jingoistic north-bashers? So are we supposed to kick out these ungrateful foreign leeches who drink our sacred Tamil ‘pal’? hmppfr! Analysis I can understand… juvenile nonsense… no!

  6. SamY (unregistered) on March 30th, 2006 @ 8:38 pm

    gud one thennavan … enna oru rage :D … chk this out – http://www.hindu.com/mp/2006/03/27/stories/2006032700100100.htm

    and let it not be too publicized … for its ours to savour ;))

  7. Prakash (unregistered) on March 30th, 2006 @ 8:50 pm

    Thanks for the comment I’ll take your point fully on mindset because throughout life success process has always been attributed when we take a headon on our preconceived notions.

    The prevailing cultural differences might make people unhappy. But at the end of the day if we decide to be happy we can be. And one more point Varun I felt I should share Its just an observation(Might be Incorrect). Generally people in Bombay amidst a hub of huge activities when they go in for making a living ,their approach in day today life would be to have a living with minimal disturbances.I felt that the warmth or the reception thats seen may be with the intention of not running into problems .Why express and land up into problems.I’ll give you an example. Keralites are very expressive ,’ll have absoulute opinion on every aspect. but when you see a long timer Keralite in Mumbai the attitude ‘ll be different

    Still this point can be counterd with the same logic “Mindset”

    Anyway ,Just think it over and my earlier comment wasn’t intended with any offensive motive.


  8. Shyam (unregistered) on March 31st, 2006 @ 12:48 am

    I love Chennai too.. no doubt about it… but, this post is just a piece of jingoistic crap… and far from doing any good… it just serves to reinforce the “conservative Chennai” opinion…

  9. Tamizh (unregistered) on March 31st, 2006 @ 3:20 am

    You lost me at C – Conservative. A simple skim of the dictionary will tell you that it means ‘resistant to change’,’opposed to liberal reforms’ and so on. No wonder with all the positives you’ve mentioned, we are still known for all the negatives. Not enough we open our doors to the world. We have to open our minds.

  10. Shyam (unregistered) on March 31st, 2006 @ 4:18 am


    Good catch… I just noticed that last part… I did not even get to that part when I read the post first..

    Seriously, what a crappy anagram for CHENNAI… N for Nice.. hahahaha… a third-grader could do better…

  11. Varun (unregistered) on March 31st, 2006 @ 11:49 am

    Love Chennai for its beaches (though its crowded like mumbai’s local trains), for booze (cheap, though, there is better option of going to Pondy), for babes (though most of them keep in their hidings), for coconut water (thats..hmm..no comparison), for people crazy about west (its everywhere), for mad people about movie stars (that’s also little bit everywhere but Chennai, offcourse tops the list, I had really hard times criticizing any Tamil movie with my tamil friends), for shouting autowallahs (many are trained from Mumbai only, but shouting is ingenious), for huge rock temples (sometimes it really feels odd while making what the hell were thinking, wasting all their resources, sweat, time in just carving one rock..may be that rocked for them at that time)….u can continue the list…
    but yeah Chennai is boring…no doubt about that..

  12. Nilu (unregistered) on April 1st, 2006 @ 7:33 am

    You haven’t really developed the habit of noting the author’s name down, have ya?

  13. thennavan (unregistered) on April 1st, 2006 @ 8:21 am

    Hi everyone, thanks for your comments (and for taking the trouble to read thru and add your opinions here). However what I would like to say to the critics here is that as is wont with your own human foibles, you are prone to misinterpret and pass value judgements on someone without really analyzing what they say and since you are all entitled to your opinions as much as I am entitled to mine, I’ll leave it at that i.e. let’s agree to disagree :-)

  14. ram (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2006 @ 5:49 pm

    if ur saying we are conservative then yes we are wats wrong in that.

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