Chennai: Among the more livable cities

When it comes to quality of life, I really do believe we citizens of the fair city of Chennai have it pretty good (despite the traffic!). Consider: Most places are within relatively easy commuting distance; drive for a half hour or more and you will be in the far flung suburbs, or depending on the route, on your way out of the city. Add to that a fairly efficient suburban and MRTS rail system, a fairly comprehensive & efficient bus system (with an aging fleet that needs to be replaced as Prabhu pointed out) and a decentralized layout with a mix of residential and commercial areas.

Chennai has a very rich cultural scene: a vibrant Carnatic music scene, Bharatanatyam schools & performances, various dance schools, many theatre groups putting on plays & musicals, and the unwind centre to foster rock and other forms of western music. We get the best of the Tamil, Hindi and English films here at good theatres. We have an active foreign diplomatic corps with performances organized or co-ordinated by the US, British, German and French consuls that add to the city’s life- leave alone the Alliance Francaise and the Max Mueller Bhavan.

The economy is growing robustly with a good mix of manufacturing, services, exports of granite, clothes, leather goods, finished goods and automotive parts. We are the fastest growing city for IT services and BPO, second in the country after Bangalore. The Detroit of India with many of the major car or truck brands having their manufacturing facilities here. Now emerging as a major centre for telecom manufacturing both at the network equipment level and for handsets.

There is a large expat population add to the life and economy of the city in many ways. There are now good Korean, Japanese restaurants and Italian restaurants, as well as French, Mexican, Continental restaurants and even an American Diner! There is the American International School, as well as many foreign students enrolled in other schools who add to the cultural diversity of the city. Stores such a Nilgiri’s, Spencer’s Daily and Food World offer a range of vegetables that include things like Broccoli, Celery and other vegetables that are not at all typical of the Indian dishes. As well as salad dressings, toppings, sauces and the like which contribute to the choice of cuisines available.

Chennai also has a number of the top ten colleges in the country and some very good schools and universities, and a growing number of good business schools. Probably the most engineering colleges in any one city in the country in addition to the IIT Madras. Some of the best hospitals and clinics in India, emerging as a centre for heart, diabetic care and orthopaedics. Residential areas and complexes that are well designed and of better quality than many cities-although they may lack the glitz and price tag of a Bangalore or Mumbai though we’re (unfortunately) gettiung there! And fairly good infrastructure when it comes to roads and power. Water has always been a problem as we depend on the monsoon with no perennial source of water like the Himalayas.

The icing on the cake is the recreational options for Chennai citizens. A number of amusement parks in and around the city: Little Folks, Dizzee World, Queens Land, KishKinta and VGP. Beach resorts along the ECR, as well as integrated sports and amusement complexes like Maayajal. Places like Pondicerry and Auroville which are just a few hours away by road. Overnight to hill stations like Kodaikanal, Yercaud and Munnar. And many locations for treks, adventure sports and go carting close to the city. Leave alone the many clubs that offer tennis, squash, swimming, rowing, cricket, sailing, badminton, table tennis, horse riding and flying!

Not bad, huh? I can’t think of many other cities that pack in that kind of a combination. Guess we should count our blessings now and then to really appreciate Chennai!

6 Comments so far

  1. vinod (unregistered) on July 25th, 2006 @ 10:40 pm

    I’m fully with you on this. Chennai is probably way ahead of the rest of the country in many parameters and I can only see it becoming better. I strongly believe that we must stick to our values and keep the culture of the city intact in the coming years.

  2. AB (unregistered) on July 26th, 2006 @ 2:01 am

    We need a top class Management school too.

  3. Ravi (unregistered) on July 26th, 2006 @ 11:18 am

    Inspite of Chennai holding a good mix of old & new, traditional & western, good & bad and all the goodies mentioned in the post, importantly it does all these *quietly* – yes Chennai does not hype, boast or advertize its credentials, thats another “Chennai-like” quality – isn’t it?

  4. nithya (unregistered) on July 26th, 2006 @ 11:38 am

    But chennai is the most prudest city. Most conservative city where moral policing madness borders on hypocrisy. Eve-teasing and misogyny are its hallmarks.

    yeah, celebrate chennai…

  5. Leela (unregistered) on July 31st, 2006 @ 5:52 pm

    Chennai is truly cosmopalitan – it’s got class, culture, couture, cuisine, cutting-edge technology, congeniality and charm, among a lot of other goodies. It certainly has it’s share of irritants, but the good outweighs the bad and ugly.

  6. Krishnan (unregistered) on August 6th, 2006 @ 2:44 am

    I am truely impressed at the list of “c” words for Chennai. The other “C” words must be those irritants: Crowds, Coovum, Crap on the streets

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