For a North Indian to settle in Chennai is tough as people believe. I moved to Chennai from Delhi and I have noted the key problems that people from North face in Chennai. Also, I discovered some myths associated with people of Chennai and Tamil. To live in Chennai is not a bad decision. You need to remember some points before you relocate to Chennai or when you are in Chennai. A job in Chennai or a business trip to Chennai is often the reason and I suppose this article will provide you some tips to relocate or spend time in Chennai.
If you are planning to settle in Chennai, there are some myths you should be aware of:
1) Everyone in Chennai knows English
As a person I know Hindi, English, Marathi and Punjabi. I was very confident that English will absolutely work in Chennai. People (older ones) always told me that in Madras (now Chennai) all of them know English. This was nothing but a myth. When I was looking for house on rent in Chennai, this was a major problem. Even the brokers would say, "Sorry, only Tamil, no English".
However not all of them would do that.
I got a landlord who knows both English and Hindi. Luckily he understands Marathi as well. There are every kind of people in Chennai but not all of them know English and particularly the rehriwalas just don't know it.
2) People in Chennai are rude:
People in Chennai are not rude. Of course there are every kind of people in every city or state but that doesn't let you categorize in general. The only problem we faced was with the auto rickshaws. Most of them are rude and might try cheating on you. Again, not all autorickhaw drivers would do that. People in Chennai are good until you make fun of their language or culture which is justified if we apply the same to us. We would also be rude if someone tried to cross boundaries.
3) No one knows Hindi in Chennai:
It would be hard to believe but believe me, there are lots of Hindi speaking people in Chennai. In our office alone there are people from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. I did not see much of Sikh community where I live or work. Even those who are fluent in speaking Tamil might belong to a different area so just speak up, you never know if that person if from your area.
4) Tamil speakers or Chennaiites do not know Hindi:
This is another myth. Many of them don't know Hindi but you never know if someone knows. I was in an auto when I was talking to my wife in Hindi. We asked the auto in Hindi and he pretended not to understand then we switched to English which he was most comfortable with.
On the way I said (in Hindi), "Is gali mein hamara ghar hai" (our house lies in this street) and the auto driver said (in Hindi), "to yahi utarna hai kya". He thought we trying to take him the long way although we had to go somewhere else.
In some schools Hindi and Sanskrit are optional subjects. They watch Hindi movies and also listen to Hindi songs in Chennai. They can understand Hindi very well but may be due to low confidence they would sometimes hesitate coming up in Hindi.
Here are some tips if you want to relocate to Chennai.
Avoid insulting anyone in your language. They understand Hindi very well even if they pretend not to be.
People in Chennai are good if you behave well with them. They like to follow the rules. There is little crime. Women feel safe. Just that there is no westernized fashion here but you will see lots of Gold rush here. The showrooms and their sizes are beyond comparison to any showroom in any other metro city in India.
5) It is very hot in Chennai
Temperature is never very hot in Chennai if you compare to Delhi. It is just that there are no low temperatures here. Woolens are not required normally. Chennai is a coastal area and the temperatures generally go slightly over 40 degree Centigrade. In Delhi the temperature is higher. Humidity could be an issue in Chennai but that is also in Delhi and Mumbai. It doesn't rain here (or I should say rained here) as much as it did in Mumbai when we were there. But people say the Monsoon here is the returning one and it rains in October, November.
Looking for House on Rent in Chennai - Here are some tips:
We were strangers when we stepped in here for the first time. The only means of getting a house was to look for advertisements in property websites. Unfortunately none of them proved fruitful for us. In the office people suggested to look for advertisements on internet and such websites which was of no help already.
The consultant who arranged for the interview told me certain things which were the real tips to find a house in Chennai:
a) try looking for a house within 4 km from the work place as the traffic is horrible.
b) don't consult the broker. Unlike Mumbai and Delhi, in Chennai you can get a house on rent through the landlord
c) look for ads in local newspapers rather than websites
d) although it will be written that the security is more than 1.5 lakh but most people will settle from 80,000 to 1,00,000.
e) the budget in posh area for 1 bhk and 2 bhk would normally vary from 15,000 to 25,0000. In 20,000 INR you can get a reasonable floor area in a good colony.
Overall, Chennai is a good city to live in. There is little pub life, discos and other such nightlife stuff as compared to Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai but more of temples and religious feelings. Chennai is a peaceful city that often gets decorated and full of security due to some Minister's visit.
I would be glad to help you if you are planning to relocate to Chennai and have some questions. Please post your questions in the comments section.
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