My travel timeline comprises more of the overseas destinations as compared to the Indian locations. Spanning from the Middle East to the ‘land down under’, i have savored various cultures – the Emirati, the multi-ethnic veneer of a western cosmopolitan metropolis Singapore and the British-derived culture of the Australian continent. But when Cognizant Business Consulting (CBC) happened, it was my chance to visit the southern part of my own country and witness the much talked about differences between the north and the south.
From Chandigarh to Chennai – the transition showed me a lot of differences – from Lassi to Rasam, from Paratha to Dosa and from Daal to Sambhar. Though I am still sticking to the former, this does not mean that I do not like the latter. It is that I am programmed to give preference to the former over latter. We all prefer the things we are programmed to like. If i talk about the similarities, the only similarities I found are the first two alphabets of the city names and the nationality of the residents.
I liked Chennai as i have liked any other city in the country, of course except Chandigarh – there is no match to that place. I have felt both apprehension and excitement. The nightlife in the city is quite decent and at the same time it is pretty high on culture. Speaking of food, i have had my favorite Kadhai paneer at Sri Gupta Bhavan in Velachery which tasted exactly the same as it did in Chandigarh. An another interesting observation – any query asked to a stranger preceded by Anna/Akka will definitely bring you some sort of positive response.
The only challenge for me is the language in casual conversations here sometimes. Thankfully, the professional ones are in English – that is a relief. Otherwise, in all the conversations I have with folks here have Tamil words amalgamated with the English vocabulary (I have no clue what any of those mean). But I have no interest in learning Tamil.
I have seen several articles trying to depict that one part of the country is better than the other one. In my opinion, both have their pros and cons and each item in the list tries to outweigh its counterpart. The attitude of the people is a striking difference I have witnessed. In Chandigarh, no one in my proximity cared to ask from where the person is and there was no concern about asking other’s opinion about the north Indian culture. However, there are people in Chennai who have tried to pull me in the conversations where they are hell bent on hearing my opinion regarding South Indian culture. Specifically, why the ‘northies’ ‘loathe’ the south people. And my only response – “Dude, I consider everyone as equal. No differences for me. Unless you say or do something that will make me ‘loathe’ you”. 🙂 But that is quite subjective and can not be generalized – be it north or south.
Overall, I have had a nice experience with the city till now. I am still exploring this fine city and finally I got the literal meaning of “Namma Chennai” of the live experience throughout my stay….!!!!