For an outlander, the idea of being in Chennai is not likely to excite him so much as charismatic Mumbai or cosmopolitan Delhi. It’s a city bound by its routines and can be best described as a melting pot of the rich South Indian culture. The city act as an oasis to millions of job seekers. It is in a way, it is what Mumbai is to migrants from Bihar and UP.
During this wet, cold winter of 2011-12, I was finally able to fulfill my strong desire to do an internship in Chennai; to experience the forbidden land for many of my North Indian friends for whom South Indian khana starts with Dosa and ends with Iddili.
Let’s get to the point. While I was interning, I came across a lot extraordinary experiences and some incredible sights which evoked amusement in me to the extend that I cannot help but to share it with you. These lists are neither critical nor appreciative but a categorical compilation of the features of Chennai that I witnessed.
Things that one wouldn’t find anywhere else but in Chennai
- Truly Helpful Natives. You can count on every random guy to guide you to your correct destination including the bus number and nth number of station that you need to get down.
- Not to be surprised if you happen to come across a fully grown man, taking bath in the most crowded of streets at around 10-11 in the most barbaric form of clothing ever.
- You can’t throw a stone without hitting a tea shop in Chennai. But interestingly, in spite of this enormous number of tea/coffee shops dwelling in and around the city, you’d still find newer ones erected every other day.
- Don’t get overwhelmed by the fact that all those people whom you meeting with is addressing you by ‘Sir’ or ‘Boss’, it just their way of life. Nothing to with respect or obedience. Duh!
- Pungent smell of Saffron and Turmeric paste will follow you everywhere!
- Exemplary and Affordable Bus Service.
- Exotic Tourist Locations in plenty. Rather than making reservations for popular spots, there are a lot of unexplored ones. Refer to http://tinyurl.com/82uwt34
- A trip to Chennai is never complete without a visit to Saravana Bhavan, a well-known Chennai restaurant chain.
Things that you would expect to see in Chennai, but won’t
- Never expect Bars/Pubs/Buses to remain open after 11pm. Despite the fact that after Daroo/Thanni/Kallu is one of the most consumed products of the state and elevated itself to an intricate part of their popular culture.
- If Gujarati citizenry are famous for their acumen in trade and business, it is work ethic of Tamilians that would stun you. They’ve simply taken the adage ‘Work is Worship’ to their hearts.
- Auto-Rickshaws that run on meter charges. Not in a Million years!!!
- Don’t expect the restaurants to serve you cheap Dosa’s and Iddilis everyone. All good ones are really expensive.
I apologise to all the Chennai natives for the content by once again asserting that it is very personal view, given if they find anything offensive at all.