I went to Chennai this weekend i.e. from 19th Jan 2013 to 21st January 2013. The occasion was my brother’s training. My father seized the moment and planned a ‘family’ holiday which was the first so-called holiday in a long, long time.
We started from Delhi at 7 am on 19th Jan and landed at Chennai at 09.40 AM. I stayed there for two complete days and in those 48 hours was enough; I managed to find out how different Chennai was from the national capital, New Delhi.
1. No ‘sardars’- For me, I think this was the most glaring differences. Living in Delhi and that too in a full, hardcore, Punjabi colony; I was too habitual of seeing surds all around. In fact, the only surd in my office, sits right opposite me and inadvertently, my stare do drift towards him every now and then. And then in Chennai; the only sardar I saw was a board that said “Sardar Patel Road”.
2. Cops with sunglasses- I must say, I found a policeman at almost every crossing and intersection in Chennai. And they all had something common about them- the sunglasses. In Delhi, I have seen various policemen- tall and short, dark and fair but rarely with a sunglass on. I don’t know whether the pollution demanded it or was that Sir Rajni effect but seeing everyone of them with black phantom-kind shades that matches so very well with their dark moustache was kind of funny.
3. Cars stop to give way to autos- This is something you will never see in Delhi. Here, even the cars race with cars; so who gives a damn about the autos. But I was totally stunned when at an intersection without lights without a cop, a Toyota Fortuner stopped for our auto to give it a pass. That itself said so much about the people of Chennai.
4. Amit is ‘Murugan’- Which is the common name you will find in Delhi? Amit, Raju, Rohit, Rahul? In Chennai, it all boils down to one name- Murugan. Murugan Idli shop, Murugan Taxi Service, Murugan Hotel, Murugan Snacks- you can find Murugans in every business there.
5. Every girl in bindi- Well, not every as the ‘modern’ ones are not following the trend but majority had a bindi. On this side of the Indian half, a bindi normally symbolizes a married girl; there it was not the case. So beware before you think about proposing someone in Chennai; she might turned out to be an Aunty.
6. No road rage- Can you believe it? I could not. Due to heavy traffic, a scooty rider hit a motorcycle (by mistake, obviously). In Delhi, you would have expected the following scene- swearing from the biker, reply in the same vein by the guy in scooty and ultimately, a brawl which would have entertained the crowd and a money making opportunity for the cops. Nothing happened there. The biker looked back, the scooty rider gave a wide smile and both went ahead. Before I went to Chennai; I have heard a lot about the timid nature of the Chennai-tes. This was the prime example.
On a whole, I loved the city. Yes, there was a language barrier. Yes, the colour of the people was not what I was used to but the people there were exactly what a human should be. They were eager to help. On many occasions, we have to ask the address in tooti-footi English. But it was all well. A stark contrast from what I am used to in Delhi. And maybe, this society can take a cue from the humble Tamilians.