Sunday, 10 May 2009

Chennai makes a comeback

After all those Chennai hate blogs and all the propaganda about Chennai being the most conservative and least cool metro, Chennai seems to be making a comeback. I myself was surprised when a 'northie' first told me that he preferred Chennai over Mumbai. This is a guy who's job posting would be either in Chennai or Mumbai (it's still not decided). When I told him that he should choose Mumbai, he surprised me by rooting for Chennai. And, he gave me quite a lot of reasons.

First, he is basically from Bihar. After the recent MNS - sponsored Marathi manoos campaign and the consequent increase in the anti - bhaiyya attitude, he didn't want to live in Mumbai. According to him, Chennai was no longer 'anti - Hindi'. Plus, it has a lower cost of living. He can get a better standard of living with the same salary. Point taken.

Soon after, another 'Bihari' also rooted for Chennai. This one claimed that in spite of all the negative image that Chennai has managed to accumulate over the years, Chennai was 'not really a bad place to live and work'. His claim was supported by economics alone - more fun with the same salary. Plus, everything that was there in Mumbai is now there in Chennai too. Chennai too has multiplexes that screen Hindi movies. Chennai too has some bars that serve good liquour, though you may have to hunt around a bit but he was fine with that.

I dismissed both these instances as arbitrary occurrences with no correlation and that the average 'northie' still considered a Chennai job a punishment. But, when another guy from small - town North India (not from Bihar or UP) used exactly the same words as Bihari No. 2 about Chennai 'not really being a bad place', I was convinced that these 3 occurrences were not one-off. And, there was more proof with each bus ride that I took. And each one told me that Chennai does seem to be making a comeback, slowly and steadily.

Now, when I travel by buses, I see some of the conductors using the one or two words they know in Hindi when they see a 'northie'. Some others speak in English and help them with directions. And, even 'northies' don't seem to be averse to Tamil. They reply to the conductor's broken Hindi in broken Tamil and then both exchange smiles. And, the average 'northie' thus learns to adjust in Tamil land.

No comments: