Chennai is a wonderful city and a great place to live but many north Indians who go there to study or work, find it hard to adjust to the dramatic change in culture and language. There are some wrong perceptions about Chennai and south Indians in general that make the north Indians feel scared of moving to a city like Chennai. The truth is that Chennai is just like any other city of India.
Here are 10 tips that will help you fare better in Chennai.
1. Don’t Keep Any Preconceptions
When you go to Chennai don’t go with any prejudices that you might acquire from things you hear from your relatives and neighbors. Go with an open mind and don’t judge people just because their skin is darker and they speak an alien tongue.
2. Don’t Blame Locals for Not Knowing Hindi
Many north Indians feel that just because everyone in north India knows Hindi, that everyone in Chennai should also make an effort to learn it. Tamil is their mother tongue and they are proud of it. South Indians don’t come to Delhi and call out people for not knowing Tamil so don’t do it when you are there.
3. Learn Tamil if You Can
Do you know any south Indian living nearby? Can they speak at least a little bit of Hindi? Most probably they can. They do so to fit in better in a strange land and you should do the same when you visit Chennai. Try to learn at least a little bit Tamil and also learn to read the signs.
4. Try Out the Local Cuisine
Many north Indians complain about not having good food in Chennai but that’s not true. You just need to be open and try out a little of the local cuisine. It can be an acquired taste and if you are going to live for a long time in Chennai then you better acquire it. If not, there are many places in Chennai where good north Indian food can be had.
5. Beware of the Auto Wallah
The auto wallahs of Chennai, just like in any other city in India, are always looking for some easy money. If they realize that you are a north Indian who has no clue about where he’s going or what he’s doing then they will not hesitate in hustling you out of some money. So take autos that will go on a meter or take buses. Learn to negotiate with the auto wallahs.
6. Find a Place to Live Near Your Office or College
A lot of money, time and headache can be saved by getting a place near to your office or college. You could try a paying guest situation or get together with a few like minded friends or colleagues and get a place on rent.
7. Don’t Make Fun of Tamil Cinema
It might seem funny to you but you shouldn’t make fun of it in public as the people really worship their film stars over there.
8. Don’t Discuss Politics with Locals
They are also very passionate about their politics besides their films. No wonder many of the film stars later become politicians. So don’t discuss politics with the locals and don’t try to enforce your views on them.
9. Respect the Local Culture
Many local people in Chennai think that north Indians are too bossy and disrespectful when they visit Chennai. Make sure you don’t fit the stereotype of the typical north Indian. Be respectful and you’ll find that you’ll get respect back. If you are sincere and humble, the locals will help you in every way possible.
10. Visit Local Temples and Sites in Your Free Time
When you have some free time, don’t hesitate to explore the city. Chennai is a rich and colorful city that has a lot to offer for those who are looking. Don’t restrict yourself to a few malls and the Marina. Try out other small places and the many temples of the city. If you stay for a longer period try out some places nearby as well.