Dear Lonely Planet

Update before you read this: Lonely Planet seems to be in the process of editing their piece on Madras since this post. Some of inaccurate references are now gone, but the opening paragraph is still nasty and compared to Delhi, still a turn off. But all the same, thank you LP, for your quick response. I am hoping that the editorial team actually does some real research this time before finalizing the article.

Another Update: After a couple of days of random edits, looks like the article is back to its original craptasticity. No change in tone, still sounds like it was written by a poorly informed, close minded writer with a serious grudge against the city.

Dear Lonely Planet

I came across your entry for Chennai (Madras), and like a responsible citizen coming across a crumpled, empty packet of Lays chips on the street, I feel it is my responsibility to move it to the dustbin. But that would be rude of me, and Madras tradition demands that I invite you for a cup of filter coffee and a have a healthy discussion instead on the subject of urban cleanliness. As the person who originally pointed me to your article said, the problem with your piece is that it is about as far away from objective reality as Ramesh Powar is from Mutthiah Muralidharan’s world record. You romanticize the problems of other Indian cities while at the same time unzipping your fly and letting loose at Madras.

But wait a second. So I have a problem with one magazine’s portrayal of my city and I choose to rant about it online, eh? Too commonplace, and frankly, that’s not Madras’ style really. See, even in Tamil movies, when a hero is not given a chair to sit on, he does not immediately beat the shit out of everyone in the scene, but instead, fashions a seat for himself by the creative use of an angavastram.  I mean, I could take each one of your claims, and comment on them rather critically. Like for example

Chennai has neither the cosmopolitan, prosperous air of Mumbai (Bombay)

So, the 24/7 crowds at Saravana Stores in T Nagar do not represent prosperity because it’s the prosperity of the lower middle class, while swanky malls that sell cups of sweet corn for Rs 40 and theater tickets that cost more than a bypass surgery represent prosperity elsewhere? To paraphrase Rajini, rich-getting-richer and poor-getting-poorer is not prosperity, but slightly-poor-getting-slightly-rich all around is. And then we have

the optimistic buzz of Bengaluru (Bangalore)

Um, with no disrespect to Bangalore, a city I have lived in and loved, the only buzz I hear is the rumble of a million cars stalled in back-to-back traffic, and the pessimistic buzz of travelers waiting to get inside the city from its new airport that is practically light years away

difficult to get around

O really? You mean, more difficult than Bangalore? The public transportation system in Madras is far more comprehensive than Bangalore or Hyderabad. And to top off your first paragraph, we have this gem

Even the movie stars are, as one Chennaiker put it, ‘not that hot’.

Once I read that, I felt like a Mylaporean complaining about the quality of Idli in Darjeeling, like Michael Schumacher complaining about the lack of acceleration in an Ambassador. For starters, who the haemoglobin leaking four letter profanity  is a “Chennaikar”? An obscure opening batsman for the Mumbai Ranji team I did not know about? The only thing remotely resembling a “Chennaikar” is a Hyundai Santro. It’s Delhiite, Banglorean, Hyderabadi, Chennaiite (if you have to),  Calcuttan (or simply Dada) and finally Mumbaikar. I mean, who wrote this piece? A random amit who did not like the chapathi at Saravana Bhavan? Or somebody whose company forcibly transferred him to Madras? And I’m not even going to get the part about thermodynamically challenged movie stars.

Deep breath. Ok. Sorry. I had to get that out of the way. I suppose it’s because I lived in Delhi and Bombay before I settled down in Madras, so getting confrontational about trivialities is a bad habit I’m trying hard to shake off. So now, let’s get down to the Madras way to dealing with this. Let’s assume we are at Mylai Karpagambal mess (which you do not mention in your article) eating Keerai Vadai (which you do not recommend in your article) sipping on filter coffee (which you mention… dont, bloody amit) and I make the following observations

  • Hey, people who love the cities they live in love them very much. They will romanticize their every weakness (like you do for Mumbai and Delhi). So Delhi, while being filled with glittering gems and captivating ancient monuments, to quote your article, warrants no mention of its scary crime rate, while Mumbai has an “inebriating mix” of grinding poverty and swanky restaurants. How can grinding poverty be an ingredient in your inebriating cocktail?
  • People who hate the cities they pass through, like amits who work in the IT industry, will always ignore everything that is good about a city (like the beaches, sea food, ancient temples and cultural heritage in Madras just for starters)

So I propose to you that you cannot be fair and balanced if you only romanticize or severely criticize. So since you present an amit view of Madras, how about a Bihari view of Mumbai? Your article says

Measure out: one part Hollywood; six parts traffic; a bunch of rich power-moguls; stir in half a dozen colonial relics (use big ones); pour in six heaped cups of poverty; add a smattering of swish bars and restaurants (don’t skimp on quality here for best results); equal parts of mayhem and order; as many ancient bazaars as you have lying around; a handful of Hinduism; a dash of Islam; fold in your mixture with equal parts India; throw it all in a blender on high (adding generous helpings of pollution to taste) and presto: Mumbai.

How about we Biharize or Jharkandize that paragraph like this?

Measure out: one part plagiarized Hollywood, six parts car driving assholes who would like nothing more than to run us over, a bunch of feudal power-moguls, stir in half a dozen hate mongering Maratha morons like Raj Thackeray, pour in six heaped cups of grinding poverty that comes to Mumbai in the vain hope of a better life, add a smattering of swish bars and restaurants that employ us as cleaners and exploits us all the time, a handful of saffronized Hinduism out to slaughter the poor muslims among us, a dash of radical Islam out to terrorize the innocent, fold in your uncomfortable mixture with equal parts a callous India that couldnt care less for the labourers from my state, throw it all in a blender, spit in chewed pan, and add generous helpings of smug feelings of superiority, and presto: Mumbai

By itself, it would be rather unfair right? How about this view of Delhi, as seen through the eyes of a Madrasi?

Delhi, that festering pit of immorality, that hellhole of rape, corruption and violence, is a city that glorifies showines and materialistic consumption. But that apart, a good idli will set you back by Rs 70, which is ridiculous really. It’s also a bit like the US, in the sense that Delhiites rarely know that there is this rather large place called “The Rest of India” that surrounds the city in all directions. For example, they call Bangloreans Madrasis, which sort of pisses them off. Also, every guy in the city is named amit for some reason

You get my drift? Your piece on Madras looks like it was written by someone who hates the city. So how about you get a real person from Madras to write your piece (just like the ones that wrote for the other cities) and do my city the justice it deserves.

Thank you

PS: If you introduce me to the person who wrote this, I will gladly treat him to keerai vadai at Mylapore and then over coffee, we can discuss some of the nicer aspects of Madras he so unfairly ignores.

PS 2: If you believe Madras does deserve a better travelogue, the feedback link is here

PS 3: Don’t forget to follow @the_amit

PS4: For a more reasoned rebuttal of the Lonely Planet piece, read this

PS5: And for a real guide to the city, no one does it better than maami

PS6: It also turns out that Sharanya wrote about this almost 10 months ago, and Ravages pointed out pretty much most of what I did (and more). So there.

PS7:  More research here on Dilip’s blog


506 thoughts on “Dear Lonely Planet

      1. A good idly should not cost more than Rs 5 and the best ones not more than Rs 2. Follow the lane along Kapaleeswarar temple.

        1. I agree. It kills me to eat dosa here in Cal for Rs. 25. Without masala!

          Of course, the street stalls will sell me one for Rs 10 or so, which is sort of reasonable.

      2. 40 Delhi rupees you mean. It’s still 70 Madras rupees.


        Madras is the most underrated city. IMHO its the most reasonable cosmopolitan taking culture, education, hang outs, crime rate into picture..

    1. Dear Krish – you may not belive this. I am fighting with lonely planet on the same issue & I’ve got some cold replies from them. I’ve roped in Deccan chronicle to do a story on their cold attitude towards chennai. Great job! I got a really cold reply from this guy called Dan ( from their melbourne office. I infact I do remember telling them that I won’t be surprised if this piece was in deed written by an Indian – (Read as North Indian)

      All credit to your the mail you sent them while I was probably not very objective in my notes to them. You won’t belive how elated I am to that you actually made them change their stand. I think we should continue the fight till they get a good guide done on chennai.

      Would love to join hands with you in this effort. There is sub-editor from Deccan – Bijoy who is working on this story and do let me know I can introduce you to him.

      Once again… really happy to see this dude….!

      Ps: let me know if you are ok to share your email id..

      warm regards

  1. Sooooo well said! I always thought they were bluddy unfair to our city.

    “So how about you get a real person from Madras to write your piece (just like the ones that wrote for the other cities) and do my city the justice it deserves.” hear hear. you would do a better job, no?

    btw, I somehow don’t think it’s a Delhiite or Mumbaikar who wrote that either…much LP stuff always sounds to me like a random white person who’s been visiting India (and carefully sticking to the white tourist haunts…)

  2. I didn’t find his post too negative other than the first paragraph and it certainly doesn’t sound like an Amit-writeup. Amits will have hatred for Madras where as this writer has lack of information, probably a guy who has been in Chennai for half a day or less.

  3. That Amit article was one of the most spectacular turds in the history of turds. But then, you can’t really expect low-IQ barbarians to appreciate Bach, can you?

  4. *Sigh* the biased view of cities. If a Madrasi reviews Chennai, its bound to be prejudiced because s/he will love the city. If a Delhi-ite reviews – itll be prejudiced because s/he thinks any city apart from Delhi is scum. And so on.
    The city wars will keep waging till we have diverse populace and many cities.

    The post however, was hilarious! 🙂

    1. Umm..not really. I am a Chennaiite, but if I was not from Chennai, I would not consider living there.

      It is not a very hospitable place for outsiders (this from the various comments my friends make when they come to visit from other cities). They get short-changed by auto-drivers, leered at by roadside romeos, struggle with the extreme heat and sultriness, and get bored with the lack of entertainment options.

      Don’t get me wrong. I love Chennai, but I can also understand that it takes time to love the place,

      1. No offense meant. But lack of entertainment options? Thats some statement you make…I was a Chennaiite for some 10-12 years and at no point did I feel that the city was boring. And I just wonder how the other metropolitans improve on the entertainment option! Chennai has its share of malls, pubs, multiplexes, beaches etc etc…The basic idea that I get atleast is may be you have not explored the city much!

      2. As an outsider who’s been popping into Madras at regular intervals for the last 6 years, I’ll beg to disagree. And yes, I’m a Bong who calls AP home so those are two ‘good’ reasons for me to dislike Madras. 😉

  5. I couldn’t help cheering your article on line after line till the last word. Somebody’s gotta set the record right and I’m glad it was you with this resounding article! 🙂
    *Raises filter kaapi in silent toast*

  6. my attention was turned to this article by Nadhini who has decided to statcast it (put ur link up on her status msg exhorting on its virtues)…Awesome post…considering I was stuck in mum for 3 weeks (ask Geetha for more abt that place :P) though I have fond family connections (Mom grew up there, granny aunts and cousins live there, etc) I still dont wanna end up in that place living with 12 guys in a two bedroom place (a place with two rooms called bedrooms!!!) and call my place spacious :(… and Ashok, the muzhagai bajjis with tea are not so bad either 😀 (in my case with a kings :D)

  7. Well the article speaks it clear . This place sucks big time. Everything from people, facilities(Travel sometime in the City bus), nonsense rates of the autowals, no respect for the National language . Being 4 years here for education and unluckily got a job also here, I can tell that I am still alien to this hostile place.

    Talking about the culture, if you have been to North India you must have seen how we celebrate festival there. These people have no sense of celebrating at all, any arbit day they will start burning crackers and make noise.Sometimes it looks they celebrate Karunanidhi’s passing by the road more than their festivals.

    Let’s come to the night life and the quality of Drinks we can purchase from these Tasmac shops. Dude you always mock upon Bihari’s even small shops there serve better quality drinks than what we get here.

    You may boast that Chennai people are hard working people, dude they are very hard working , i can see thousands of them on roads near these wine shops.

    Overall i say that the article speaks right, though this may appear as a critical review but this place sucks except for the Dirty Marina beach .

    1. Bachcha,
      Is your name amit? Anyway, Yek Chennai gao me yek intolerant laduka raghu thatha..
      Have a nice day, and I wish you best of luck in finding a job in a city you can tolerate 🙂

    2. @Bachacha

      To add…if Im correct the Rashtrya Bhasha is not followed in calcutta either. I speak from experience monsieur Amit_123 or in ur case Amit_9 and btw…if u knew any english u can survive here…the autowallahs know that atleast…and ur chances of getting killed for 3000 Rs or for policemen to show u as an ‘encounter’ are much less in chennai…oh btw if u didnt knw the beach exists from marina to Pondy(ECR? heard abt it?) and as for booze…dude get a life a place called burma bazzaar exists where u get Absolut/ JD/ etc else drive down to pondy once in a while and stock up…we prefer indoor pleasure instead of outdoor sleaze…and hence we dont have our version of salman khan or industrialist bulldozing ppl sleeping on pavements incidents…cheers…and get a life

      1. Oi, of course we speak Hindi in Cal. We just have our own version and it’s not our fault if nobody else can follow it. We know what we are saying.

    3. u must have real mental problems if you dont have a small amount of compassion to the city which gave u education and job..

    4. and wtf?? national language?? ignorane.. go check the indian constitution.. there is no national language defined.. two official languages for inda.. english and hindhi.. so fuck anyone who says hindhi is r national

    5. @Bachcha

      Blog Tip 1: Reply to comment else its difficult to figure out the thread of thought.
      Blog Tip 2: If u dont have data to substantiate ur remarks, refrain from comment (STFU for short). P.S. Holds good for life’s golden moments as well

      1. small observation. Considering that u attended marriages ‘here’ that too ‘twice’ Im assuming ur social circle has been restricted to marriages. And ur version of fun is far different from ours(lets leave it at that) . Therefore commenting on a culture with a direct comparison to yours without taking into account the nuanced differences and innate beauty of subtle events should be taken with a pinch of salt. A person from here going to Mumbai will definitely take some time to adjust, but he will. BTW atleast u dont get beaten up here because ur not from here. thats true inclusiveness

        Ashok : Nash. Chill. Relax. Holster your weapon and laugh at them instead 🙂

    6. Baccha, thum abhi thak maa ka doodh pee rahe ho. Thume kudh se ek gaon ka ek kisaan banna padega. Hamare chennai managaramme thumare jaise laundye ke liya milking opportunities kam hain. Laloo Prasad jee se mil lo. Thumhare liye ek naya gai khareed layenge. Besht of luck.

    7. Go find a job in bangalore call center run by bihari’s. Probably convergys or something. You would rather eat the rotten and stale moong dhal and suffer from stomach cramps compared to eating simply idly & chutney and have a peaceful life not being scared to death of your everyday 6 hour ride back home from office amidst the traffic.

    8. Mr. Bachcha, let me ask you what “quality” you expect from an alcoholic drink? Its the same wherever you buy it from.

      And dirty marina beach? have u tried besant nagar beach?

      do u know why u are tryin to make a career here, of all the other cities in India?…

      Im not saying the city is flawless, but think twice before making unfair judgements…

      P.S: im a big fan of the way north indians celebrate festivals…got too many friends from up north 🙂

      1. “Mr. Bachcha, let me ask you what “quality” you expect from an alcoholic drink? Its the same wherever you buy it from”

        Vicky, I think he is whining about the unavailability of certain brands.

    9. oh my god! he’s a real amit! i thought bachcha was spoofing amit_123s !
      sorry bachche. lay off him’s not fair
      now i’m actually sorry this amit_123 became so popular.
      It’s not becoming to be intolerant of intolerance, you know! There is sense and wisdom in absolute silence..these things usually become clear to amits in Time. i feel guity for all the smart ass comments; we have too much of one kind of ammunition and they have too much of another. We’ll never hit each other.
      Maybe we should try hitting ON each other and make lurrve not war as they say.
      God, am i feeling like a goddamm ocean of compassion or what after all that mysorepak and marinddhu that i’ve eaten all day
      heh heh
      happy deepawali/diwali peeps!

    10. bacchha is being himself really…typical non chennaiite trait of cussing and putting others down. Obviously he will find it hard to blend into apositive environment. I feel sorry for him that he is not able to realise that chennai is the only place that offered him a job and he is not even thankful for that courtsey afforded to him. I wish God blesses him with a job elsewhere soon so we can make chennai a little cleaner.

      1. Bachha,
        What makes u say hindi alone is national lang of india, can u quote anything supporting ur claim from indian constitution?
        And when majority forces their choice on to others its considerd vulgur by enitre cultured human race, when u guys going to realise this,(P.S -STILL NON HINDI NATIVE SPEAKERS R MAJORITY IN INDIA)

    11. You talked about the national language, culture, and buses, and transportation here?
      You also talked about beaches.

      Let’s discuss 🙂
      What, according to you, is the National language of India? Hindi? Did you learn in Hindi – “‘ Hindi hamaari rashtrabhaasha hai?” Well, they mean official then. Along with English. It’s so irritating to see people talk in Hindi, when they know there are others who don’t understand, just because they are so full of themselves they don’t know facts. Like, for example, Hindi is not the national language. There’s no national language for a diverse country like India 🙂 🙂 Though the North Indian (Hindi speaking) politicians tried a lot, they didn’t succeed.

      My parents have been born and brought up in Bihar (now Jharkhand). (I love the Bihari people in common, they are very simple people, I will talk about whom I don’t really like soon). I know about the bihari -bhang Holi ‘culture’. And some ‘gundas’ on a train, burnt a part of an uncle’s body since he wore some expensive rings, and refused to part with them. The gundas were traveling ticket-less, of course. Such things don’t happen in the South (I’m from Hyderabad by the way, but I’d like to take a stand on what I know).
      I am not complaining about Bihar or things which happen everywhere, btw… this is just to get back at you. Not to mention the summers, which were so extreme.

      And if you say the quality of drinks here is bad, what were you doing outside the wine shop? 🙂 Why don’t you quit your job and go back to where you came from? Is it because there are no jobs there? 🙂 Also, instead of being thankful for your education, you should have remained illiterate and spoke our ‘national’ language (none).

      I understand that people in Chennai talk Tamil a lot, but have you tried talking to them in English, rather than talking in Hindi in a state that doesn’t care about it (you do know English right?) I can understand why they are still hostile to YOU, after 4 years.

      I have also been to Delhi, just love the city for its historical monuments. Hate the place for its people (yes, these are the people I don’t like too much), who think everything else and everyone else is utter shit. Like they say, “Ignorance is bliss” 🙂 It’s just plain annoying though. Delhi taxi drivers are no different than the ones in TN. They are the same everywhere, it’s their job. Atleast, do you, with an education, which I’m sure got you the job, have to comment about them here?
      By the way, Delhi has extreme climate as well, both summer and winter. So much for your love of climate 🙂

      Mumbai has some of the worst beaches and worser traffic. Not to mention, the pathetic living standards of a majority of poor people, with a few rich living on posh bungalows just nearby. And the cost of living.

      By the way, its not ‘arbit day’ , it’s ‘arbitrary’ 🙂 As for the festivals, yes, we don’t celebrate each festival partying all night, drinking and dancing with unknown people. 🙂 🙂 Yes, that’s not our culture 🙂
      And if you know Hindi, its ‘autowallah’, not ‘autowals’ ..
      And ‘sense of celebration’, not ‘sense of celebrating’.
      Wow, looks like I’m correcting English in addition to correcting your wrong facts 🙂
      And dirty Marina beach? What about the beach in Mumbai?
      Just which part of the world do you come from, who experts the entire world to be perfect, when you, of course aren’t?

      I don’t like cribbing about other cities, but since you just had to be so negative, I had to be. I respect the diversity of each and every city in India, I am not a big fan of Chennai either, but atleast I don’t crib about a place which makes my life better and gives me a living.
      You know, the problem is not with the cities, it’s with you 🙂

      By the way, thank you for your compliments about our hard work and dedication. 🙂

      1. Ha!!! Tried to survive South India with watever little english I knew…. didnt help…. madrasi english is a language of its own.. mutilated grammar and the mashallah pronounciation….
        U guyz shud start madrasi english coaching centres…. wud be a lot of help….

        1. “Tried to survive South India with watever little english I knew”

          Maybe that is the problem. Your English isn’t that good.

          “madrasi english is a language of its own”

          Whaaat toooo doooooooo yaaaaaaaaaaar? 😛

        2. Learn Tamil. We learn your language when/if we come to your states. Try and reciprocate the favor with whatever inkling of work ethic you have by learning our language. Simply put: Don’t be a douche, aka an amit.

    12. Bachha,

      “This place sucks big time”

      Your loss. Couldn’t care less.

      “Everything from people, facilities(Travel sometime in the City bus), nonsense rates of the autowals, no respect for the National language. Being 4 years here for education and unluckily got a job also here, I can tell that I am still alien to this hostile place”

      With this attitude and poor knowledge of facts regarding our own country, you have to thank your lucky stars that you have luckily got a job.
      If you have any notion that Hindi is our national language, then you are wrong. Get your facts right bachhe, there is no national language. And we respect all languages unlike you. There are in fact languages other than Hindi which are spoken in India.

      “I can tell that I am still alien to this hostile place”

      No surprise. You feel that you are an alien any place outside the cow-belt.

      “Talking about the culture, if you have been to North India you must have seen how we celebrate festival there”

      Yes, I’ve seen how you celebrate Onam, Pongal and Vishu. These festivals sound new to you? Of course, I am not expecting you to celebrate our festivals but don’t you fking dare say that we don’t have culture! You are broad minded!! Kudos!! (Sarcasm intended bachhe, don’t throw a party!!)

      “Let’s come to the night life and the quality of Drinks we can purchase from these Tasmac shops”

      There is not much night life here, that is because we have culture. Gotcha!!

      “Dude you always mock upon Bihari’s even small shops there serve better quality drinks than what we get here”

      Better English please!!

      “You may boast that Chennai people are hard working people, dude they are very hard working , i can see thousands of them on roads near these wine shops.”

      That includes you as well dumbass. Bachhe, you are still a bachha to figure out that some people who work hard drink too.

      “Overall i say that the article speaks right, though this may appear as a critical review but this place sucks except for the Dirty Marina beach”

      I’ll eat my hat if you can prove to me that Juhu beach is cleaner than Marina. As far as your feedback is concerned it is light years away from a review, let alone a critical review.

      I’d like to sign off by saying quoting a popular saying in Tamil : “Kazhuthake theriyuma karpoora vasanai?”


  8. Got me pissed off first thing in a morning !!
    Written to the editors on this. Hope they take a note of this article now, if not my email at least!

  9. *Sigh* the biased view of cities. If a Madrasi reviews Chennai, its bound to be prejudiced because s/he will love the city. If a Delhi-ite reviews – itll be prejudiced because s/he thinks any city apart from Delhi is scum. And so on.
    The city wars will keep waging till we have diverse populace and many cities.

    The post however, was hilarious! 🙂

  10. me a madavidhi guy..and what a worst the article is.. clearly someone who doesnt know a fuck about chennai wrote it..nathari varavangalum kedukaran..initially reading it..kovam thaan

  11. @ Nash : Dude this is not just my personal view everyone cribs about Chennai because it deserves so. Regarding Pondi: Much civilized and autowalas understand Hindi there.
    Meanwhile had twice the opportunity to attend marriages here, seems like it is more of a condolence event.

    1. Oh please grow up! Learn to tolerate but hindi too! Vadivelu sollara maadiri “chinna pulla thanama illa irukku” (puriyaliyaa? ask someone who knows the language to translate it for you)
      And like all the other million people who’ve already asked you to, get a life! 🙂

    2. I’ve been working in North India (delhi to be precise) for a project and im going back for another month now. People dont believe im a south indian (madarasi) because i speak good hindi and my skin tones are very light and im not dark. That says lot about amit_123’s dont it? I get called a fool for trying to fool other ppl that im a south indian. wow! racism is everywhere and it works the same the other way around too. dont just come around and brag some shit to instill hatred on peoples minds. get a life, grow up. if u ever visited the endless number of beautiful temples and ecr drive’s u would not complain so much about chennai.

    3. oh being a recent visitor to pondy…do u knw the minimum fare there is Rs 30? much higher than chennai…and btw u will find junta speaking hindi in mahabs as well…thats because they are places called tourist spots…u need to knw multiple languages to survive.

    4. @ Bachaa: Saare…Ongaluku Ghindi paesara Auto waala chahiyevaa? Lets be practical here…Not all the auto waalas are literate or rich enuf to go to a private convent like u Angrej saaheb..They are the ones who make a living based on what they have! IF those guys dont speak hindi y dont u spare time and learn some Tamizh? Might help you in bargaining with those fellas better…:P

    5. Bacchha:
      Learn from history for God’s sake….Tamil is a dravidian language which has no roots from Sanskrit. Infact Tamil is the only language which is sans sanskrit and the dravidians are the original natives of the palce you call your own today. We have let go, and have blended in very well. Infact the biggest monetary donations to and the most number of people who died in the kargil war was from Chennai. When we are in other parts of the country for most part we do not shy away from learning hindi or any other language of that state – we may not be the best at it but definitely we do not crib and cry that no one else speaks our language or hindi, we accept the state language as prime and respect it unlike the hindi speakers who come to Tamilnadu and cry no one speaks Hindi……..Please get real. Grow up.

    6. Bacchaa:
      Much the same way I felt at first about marriages in Delhi where it feels like a few drunkards dancing to obscene cinema tunes behind a famished horse on which the bridegroom is placed in colorful clothes before the slaughter – very tribal experience – but I didn’t complain, instead appreciated that it was different culture and I learned to enjoy it and be part of them and made them feel good. My tamil culture does not allow me to bash other cultures just beacuse I didnt grow up doing what they did or speak what they spoke.

      Again for your information the constituition of India clearly states there are 2 official languages of the Central Govt. of India – English and Hindi. No national language.

      The only reason I even write this is to let people like you know that even if you don’t like something have a more dignified, sophisticated, a more cultured and more civilized in your response. Rather than being quick to call an auto walla uncivilized and base your opinion of a whole city based on your interactions witha few auto wallas who ripped you off or based on the fact that someone did not talk to you in Hindi, think how you can be more civilized in your own responses….atleast a little better than the average auto walla !

    7. Bachha, I believe you are racist too. Its no wonder that people like you piss off Aussies down under.

    8. @Baccha or Bachchu or wateverrr…
      Your problem if you can’t open your fly and learn to pee…
      Don’t expect to someone open your fly and help you..
      Get my point ya hindi mein samjhaun??
      Not at all “civilised” man…

    9. Oh please, give me a break!
      Your comments remind me of the trip I’d taken last year to Kolkata with my parents. There I was, waiting for the lunch hour in delicious anticipation, imagining gorging on full Kolkatan fare, when my parents stubbornly insisted on eating at the local Southie restaurant! Heavens! After the meal, my Mom had the temerity to say, ‘The food was not as good as in Bangalore’. KMN!

      Oh, what fools we mortals be!

      I’m from Bangalore and I get super pissed off when I hear my Northie friends saying ‘Autowale yaha sab Kannad mein baat karte hain yaar’.
      Number 1, its Kannada, not ‘Kannad’. And 2, it’s a gross exaggeration; Many rick drivers do understand Hindi/English, but they speak ‘Kannad’, because they love it and since YOU are living in THEIR city they expect you to know it a little bit. You’ve a problem with that?
      It’s the same in every city.

      Here’s a tip: When you’re going to visit/live in a place, learn some of their language. It’s respectful, people warm up to you faster when they hear you speaking their tongue, and when that happens you’ll start liking the place. That should solve your problem. When in Rome, my friend.

  12. Machan there is a much better word for amits. Abeys. From their habit of exclaiming abey for everything from a wedding to a flashy new sherwani.
    I know that Amit has a solid theory backing it: it is the most common name in North India, as the most common culture there is agriculture. But still, I strongly recommend the use of abey, as I like to classify species by their mating calls.

    1. A similar case could be made for “yaar” as well, so I propose abeyaar as a hybrid solution. I further propose that we merge our nomenclatures and declare a new species Amitus Abeyaarus

      1. Amitus abeyaarus. Riotous! 😀
        And it would be very nice if you can increase the number of allowed nested comments. 3 is sort-of breaking conversations.

        1. There is another suggestion for a name for them.. CHOMs.. Read: Chapatthi Oriented monkeys! They always go.. “Kya yaar.. Yahan humara roti subzi, Aloo paratha, Gobhi paratha, blah blah nahin miltha ” tch tch.. all the time! My answer, Hullo choms, there is nothing stopping you from going to ur UP/bihar and getting ur CHOM food.. Please go.. If you are still here after all this, there has to be a reason, which is not there in your under civilized societies…. Understand that! For god’s sake, stop complaining!

          1. Brother:
            Please do not loose it for this bacchaa…lets keep our cool…he is trying to make us like him…please do not get trapped.

      2. dude… I think u guyz shud get a life instead of this bachcha guy…. For all u know, he might just be another foreign anti-Indian element who gets cheap thrill out of seeing Indians fight among themselves….
        He could well be one of ur thambi trying to heat up the blogosphere (for want of anything better to do)….

        Look at how much hatred u are filled with , U Tamil ppl…. one lil comment and all u shanthis, sujathas and Amiths are ready to launch a full blown anti-north Indian/anti-hindi attack….

        Hail Karunanidhi!

      1. oh btw…just because he has a “H” in his name doesnt mean its a spello 😛 u guys are H challenged or what??? it says Krish pretty clearly..

    1. Pls note Im pasting my own posting from another forum
      “chennai city sucks to u( people from north) is bcos mainly of this attitude of not respecting other language and culture in India other than theirs they think they are THE Indian only their language is The indian thing rest r auxiallry units connected to show their”broad mind”, so if a guy come to chennai for job first thing one will get is(FOR ANY PERSON WHO VISIT DIFFERENT PLACE) kind of home sick for the first 6 months will hate that place like anything as its new and not the same as their home place or the places where they where before at this juncture ur attitude makes the rest of the thing like here they dont speak ur language nor appreciates what u say about movies stars(bcos they don’t follow) so ur home sick kind of emotions makes u wear the mask of hatred and every thing looks bad sucks, its bcos ur attitude sucks, if u see through hatred n non acceptance u will see every thing sucks bcos u sucks( HERE U MEANS NOT U IN PARTICULAR MR.Unknown) .
      If you are with true indian feel as one very elaborately advice others then first thing you wont considered chennai as different place the moment u live in chennai ur the chennai guy , you wont lamely ask others to change things in city which u thing wrong so that u can come n enjoy its ur city(as india doesn’t have dual state citizenship, yes according to the same Constitution from which many of u wrongly quote hindi is only national lang, if u respect indian consitituion they u should consider the city is urs not others ) frankly speaking to me the most irritating problem with chennai is those heartless greedy auto rickshaw guys, they charge 2-4 times the charge when compared to rest of india), they wont move their ass to find return safari and ask u to pay that also and their attitude suks and irritate all including locals not just u ) apart from it ur complains r biased, either those problem exsist in all places or ur attitude is closed mind. SO DONT HIT ON A WALL AND SAY WALLS HITS U “

  13. @Bachcha- There’s got to be something that’s keeping you there, isn’t it?
    I’m not a big fan of Bangalore where I stay after growing up in Delhi- but at least I acknowledge the city for its plus points.

    And what, you seriously can’t speak a word of English? If you’re so rigid about your cultural prejudices, and cannot find a single good thing to say about the city you live in, why stay there at all?

    Old proverbs about Romans and Rome come to mind.

    1. @bacha..amit.. u hate the place and yet u cant find a job in your kingdom of heaven..what does that say about that place.. or maybe its just u..

  14. Great article, too bad I can’t view YouTube at the moment, that angavastram trick is something I’d love to learn.

    And I’ve always thought it’s Chennaiite, Chennaikar is just weird.

    1. abeyyaar!!!!
      can’t you say anything without abey, and yaar, abeyaar? Seriously , yaar? Can’t you watch your english and stop sounding like such an expletive deleted? You dare call chennai a village when your own command over grammar could be matched by a offensive similie?

      1. Looking at the pride the Chennai guys shower on Chennai, I feel that if there were no VISA for USA, the entire of Tamil Nadu would be sitting in America the following day! And of course half of North Indians too ;), but definitely the entire of TN. Sorry for my bad English – I denied an offer at NYC’s largest IB to live in India 😛

        1. Hi North Indian, this discussion started and ended two years ago. Some of us have grown up. You haven’t.

          Good you rejected your offer. Please do make sure to mention it in every thread you can, relevant or not.

  15. Superb! Absolutely

    And Baccha you north indian expletive deleted….there is no national language in this Country…and Vishwak….English and HIndi are official languages of the central government not of the country of India…..’national language’ someone napalm north india for me….pleeeeease

    All the amits come here and complain about people not speaking Hindi. I have not gone to North India and complained about auto drviers not speaking Tamil (although I had a surreal experience of a tamil speaking jat taxi driver who had spent some years in Chennai).

    I agree the auto drivers are the worst in the country, and the weather is not great (better than delhi though), but otherwise Madras is a lovely city. I am from Kerala, I’ve lived in Bangalore, Bombay, Delhi and now in Madras, and Madras is easily my second-favourite city after Bangalore, and my No.1 city for live-ability.

  16. @Kris : The Iron Maiden’s will never come to Chennai man because of the F…ing
    AmitH’s here , between seems that you people have a habit of inserting H in your names na ?

    1. yes, bachcha, we have a habit of inserting an H because we happen to understand english spelling better. When you realise that the letter ‘T’ has never been pronounced with an aspiration (thats the H for a expletive deleted like you) you realise that u need to add an H where you aspirate it.
      Of course, I understand that your insult deleted won’t understand what an aspiration is. Except a cow’s moos.
      Moo. Thats an aspiration too. the snort, thats also an aspiration.
      Go read Godaan.

      1. @Karthik (Galeejnus)– Thank you so much da. It took me years of living in Delhi to figure out that the Abeysaales have their pronounciation/transcription fundas konjum ulta to ours! I came dangerously close to renouncing the PoV you’ve put down here… Anyway, teek hai…

      2. Let me guess, let me guess. The first expletive is ‘expletive guess deleted and the second is yet another expletive guess deleted Right? Did I get it right? Or was it scatalogical reference deleted somewhere? Expletive (Damn)!

        Godan was written by Munsi Premcand, right? Was it that slow book? I slipped into my second coma while trying to read it in school. The first was during “PaDosan” and the last was during “What’s your raash-e-e-yet-aNother-e?” whence I am yet to emerge.

      3. Hi Karthik,

        I too, like this baccha character, am from IIT Madras and graduated over 5 years ago and have seen more than my share of whining northies complain (both while in college and now at work in my hometown of Hyderabad) about the South. Most learn to adjust within a couple of years but I guess he’s the rare persistent idiot who nurtures prejudices long after they’ve outlived their homesickness-alleviating, ego-massaging utility.

        I guess I’ve sobered with age so I just ignore them or subtly counter-condescend to them when they least expect it.

        I’m all for ribbing these baccha types till they go crying back home to whichever village 300 km from Delhi they’re from. But, as a bit of a pedant, I must insist, that if you have to drag phonetics into the process, you do not drop terms without fully understanding them yourself.

        The conventional Roman transliteration for various phonemes varies quite significantly from one language to the other in India. At best, all languages are equally idiosyncratic in their conventions of choice.

        I guess you’re familiar with the pancham varga, or the 5 rows in which the consonants are traditionally grouped. Each row groups consonants based on place of articulation (velar, palatal, retroflex, alveolar and labial). In each row, the first two consonants are unvoiced (e.g. ka, kha), the next two are voiced (e.g. ga, gha), and the last is nasal (e.g. nga). Of the five, only the second and fourth are aspirated (e.g. kha, gha).

        Since the Tamil script does not have any aspirated consonants, and only one voiced consonant (ja, added as the grantha character), the overloading of d and t that happens in other languages more directly derived from Sanskrit does not occur. That leaves t for the hard retroflex Ta and th for the soft alveolar ta.

        In using t for both ta and Ta and th for tha and Tha, the convention prevalent in Hindi-English transliteration is actually truer to the h-for-aspiration principle that you erroneously invoked.

        Telugu tends to be rather inconsistent in its use of h, sometimes using an h even for the soft unaspirated alveolar consonants. I’ve observed, though, that it’s more common to use th for ta than dh for da.

        I’m guessing Kannada’s convention is somewhat similar. Malayalam is quite complicated, with t and d being interchangeable in some cases, use of h being inconsistent between the alveolars and retroflexes, and using doubling of t or d to represent the hard retroflex consonants.

        Make no mistake, I’m on your side of the argument. Baccha and whoever is defending him are idiots and deserve everything they’re getting.

        Where you can regain your credibility in this argument is in gracefully admitting that your rebuttal was based on an entirely flawed notion and then returning to ripping these idiots to shreds.


        1. Hey Rahul, thanks for the excellent explanation. I looked at my own post, and knowing myself, I think I was making stuff up that Amits usually are at sea with. This was two years ago too! 🙂

          I can’t quite understand your argument, could you explain with stuff like tha (as in Karthik), i mean provide examples?

          Th transliterations seem equally pointless to me in both Hindi and Tamil. Hindi speakers use Th to indicate an aspirated alveolar T (as in Tea! said by a brit), Tamils use it to indicate the th in Karthik. However, the th in Karthik is arguably aspirated, it has to be, because of the rhotic r that forces a stop in the airflow. Besides, r is voiced, and so is the vowel after th, again forcing a slight aspiration. Given that, it makes sense to have an ‘h’.

          Not trying to justify my earlier stance. Obviously, moo is not an aspiration! 🙂 . Just trying to get under their skin with just enough erudition to pass muster (i thought) but you have proved me wrong, thanks.

          Would you like to collaborate with me on a weird project: creating a universal transliteration system that is human readable unlike the horrid diacritics used for Sanskrit transliterations? Let me know !

    2. Iron Maidens????? You expletive deleted you. It’s Iron Maiden. It’s not enough that you insult Madras you want to insult one of the finest British heavy metal bands also? Get a life….go back to offensive reference to home.

    3. Bacchha:
      Seems like there is 1 too many h’s in your nick name?
      By the way try to say these h less tamil names correctly for practice:


      Get a real job my friend. Grow up for heavens sake and for the betterment of your percieved civilized state of birth. God!

  17. hi man.. its the original anon.. great response! just a small point.. devanahalli (bangalore airport location) is on the opposite side of tamil nadu border from bangalore.. must get facts right for perfect kalais..

  18. And you expletive deleted, you don’t attend a ‘marriage’, you attend a wedding. In order to ‘attend’ a marriage you’d probably have to sort of hover around a married couple for years observing their activities and commenting on their sex life and so on.

    How the hell did anyone give you a job when you are expletive deleted

    1. One’s vocab cannot be too good. It can be exceptional. and it is hard to be a moron with an exceptional vocabulary.
      Whats the betting that this baccha is just krishashok messing with us? This baccha seems too good to be true.

      1. Nope. Bachcha is link to profile deleted Sorry for ratting you out dude. You might wanna exclaim “vada poche!” 😀

        1. No kidding. It isn’t Krish. Presenting link to profile deleted. Sorry about the previous link (not that much of a tech geek you see).

    2. Please don’t waste your precious time here, Bachcha. If you need any support, you should contact Raj Thackeray He will surely support you. Mebbe even invite you to Mumbai – the land of parties and drinking and wide roads and small houses. Go ahead. We know you can do it!

  19. damn…..apologies……. i was enjoying the name calling. But I put it to you that “amit” is far more insulting than the words i’ve used.

    1. No No Amit, You confuse literacy with ‘expertise’. And thank you for the offer, but I think I’ll take a raincheck on attending your ‘coaching’. Btw tell me, if I were to open a ‘coaching’, wouldn’t I be doing the teaching? How do you imagine I would let an “expletive deleted” like you teach at my “coaching” ? You could however teach Hindi to my cat. But I don’t have a cat. Now I’ve gone and confused your amit brain haven’t I?

    2. the yaar goes on….yaarn…yawn…oh btw monsieur Bachcha u still haven’t come out of ur self inflated egoish cocoon containing remnants of the place u wanna be in…oh I forgot! that place is no good and didnt have any colleges so you came here to make a living…you know its ppl like u who make Raj Whackerays be happy ur here criticizing chennai instead of criticizing say a nagpur? or Pune? or Mumbai? if u did u would probably have a few saffroned mercenaries beating the living daylights outta you…we at chennai are peaceful…we prefer damaging a person’s reputation so that his comments carry no value…btw did u mistake this blog for rediff? I have seen many amusing comments of ppl of your mentality(notice the non regional reference here). and seriously WHAT AN AWESOME NAME!! abe yaar tu “bachcha” hai…yeh sab tu nahin samjega.

  20. Now I noticed you removed “north Indian” while replacing it with “expletive deleted”….. THAT is satisfying 🙂

  21. The first thing I did when I landed in Bangalore (from Kerala) was to learn how to ask for cigarettes in Kannada. I thought it’d be better for me to learn their language than for all of them to learn my language. As they say, when in Rome…

    1. Ooh we’re into “reference to genitalia removed”-waving is it? You went to IIT? Congratulations man. I am so proud of you. I half considered doing some “reference to genitalia removed”-waving as well, but I couldn’t figure out a way to do it without coming across as an obnoxious “expletive removed.” But feel free to e-mail me and I’ll tell you where I graduated from 🙂

    2. Paraphrasing a popular phrase with uncertain origin “are you really a retard, or just acting retarded” *gentle smile*

      Or maybe you are just a bot after all! *gentler smile* . The whole process of you conversing with others have an uncanny similarity to how A.L.I.C.E [1] bot spits out its (or is it her?) answers ?

      Any one game for ‘Amit bot’ ? The major task will include populating the AIML entries [2].


  22. Baccha!!! dint realized u r so fucked up with IIT life that u will rant it out in a such way………there is a story in insti about u getting violently offensive verb deleted by tam junta in ur freshie year personal data deleted

    anyways heard that you are working somewhere on the IT corridor with your flat on OMR road… you unfair reference to personal weaknesses removed

    waise in hindi there is a saying “jis thaali mai khaatien hain, usmai chhed nahin karte”

  23. Dude, hilarious article! When I was a kid I used to love visitng Chennai just to get that awesome dosa, and those dancers at the beach! No Indian city has that stuff.
    If you compare Chennai to any other city that would not be a decent article about the city in the first place would it? Can any city in India compare with bangalore over weather, but that does’nt make it better or worse does it?
    People like bachcha would never understand that not every place should be like home, otherwise whats the point of home to begin with?

    Although in Chennai humidity is a bitch! Worse than Bombay 😀

  24. Krish:

    a job superbly well-done. You really told off nicely — cut one, pieces two.

    It is really annoying to have these half-assed lonely planet drivel articles as ‘guides’ to a city. Why can’t they just to data and not try to write all this crap of how to make a Mumbai? Why would anyone want to MAKE a Mumbai??

    More than the lonely planet yobbos, our northern Indian brethren need the education about southern India (not south India — that could border on separatism), especially when they migrate and live here.

    Interesting site of cultural resistance. At the Brahmins’ Coffee Bar in southern Bangalore, at breakfast one morning, a northie chap came to the counter and peremptorily ordered “doh wadaa.” Personnel behind the counter literally slammed a plate with a vaday on it, poured some chutney on it, and snapped, “Wadaa illa, vaday idhey!” and shoved it at the offender.

    The cheek! I mean to say!

  25. i LOVED reading this! I too have lived in many cities in India and abroad but Chennai is where my heart is. Kudos to you and to our Chennai! I’m glad to see so many people defending singaara chennai!

    1. Exactly Roshini:
      No matter what anyone says anybody with a half a noodle in his brain and an open heart will love the people of chennai and singara chennai. I personally studied and lived in Bangalore for 4 years, lived in Trichur, Trivandrum and Thiruvalla, lived in Delhi, and Mumabi, Lived in Toronto, Montreal, and Washington DC Metro area but no place like singara chennai….nevertheless I only take home great experiences from each of the palces I lived in and only gave the best of me and my culture to each of these wonderful places and people of these places.
      One jerky bacchha doesnt change this equation a wee bit.
      It’s the multi cultural, multi racial, multi lingual and multi religious aspect of India that works in harmony that makes India so great. Trying to impose ones singular beliefs is what will worsen it and it is people like Bachha who the Chinese and the Pakistanis are looking for to make us loose this very essence of Indianness and eventually make us a weak nation. So let us be wiser and keep away from name calling and infighting.
      Jai Hind. Jai Bharat! Long Live India!

    LOL!! That was ruthless, merciless, audacious AND thoroughly enjoyable!! 😀 😀
    I love Madras a whole lot and it always irks me when people go “yaaar, khana bakwaas hai, ladkiyan acchi nahi hai, kitni garmi hai”.
    Sheeeesh!! If food, girls and weather had to certify the quality of living in a place all these “yaaars” should probably go to Brazil and settle down!! Bah!! 😐
    Loved reading this. Off to read it again!! 🙂

  27. As a resident of a region just south of the Vindhyas, and a speaker of the same language as the guy who wrote the actual article, I am really enjoying this.
    It’s enjoyable to see sweeping generalizations about ‘the other’ err…sweeping through the comments. Hey, isn’t there anyone yet exhorting everybody to ‘give up our regional differences’ in the name of ‘National Integration’?

    Also, it’s funny that when Raj Thackeray insists on using Marathi, people get upset and talk of how Mumbai is cosmopolitan etc., but it’s OK when people from Chennai get irritated about Hindi usage. ‘Hate mongering Maratha moron’ indeed. (OK, I really, really don’t support Raj T’s methods, but perhaps nor do I see him come up with political solutions, all I’m saying is that I see some double standards here)

    1. Nandan,

      Dont get me wrong. Hating a language is ridiculous, but expecting locals to speak one’s language is equally so. As for Raj T, there are guys like him in the south as well, regional satraps with no vision beyond narrow identity politics, but at the moment, there’s not much exhorting-the-masses-to-violence-against-outsiders kind of nonsense.

      1. True.
        The common ground is that many people from a certain region/community face bias or discrimination. In Mumbai, many Maharashtrians (including myself) have faced/do face it. Which is funny, because Mumbai, (to many people’s surprise, I’m sure) is actually the capital of Maharashtra. And quite often, I find perpetrators to be from North of Vindhyas. And till the time this discrimination remains, regional satraps with narrow identity politics like Raj T will emerge, and what’s more, will become popular as well.
        That said, the BIMARU states face a huge issue and migration will continue (both unskilled and skilled) to greener pastures down South. Which will lead to more identity politics. The problem, perhaps looking at it in another way, is that amits cannot become engineers/call center experts etc. and stay in the north, because there aren’t enough opportunities. The moot point is, will amits be able to appreciate the culture of their ‘adopted’ land?
        The other question is: Why is there a really weird monster next to my name? 🙂

    2. Aah..this is a person I can debate with…far removed from the bachcha tirades….see we dont get irritated with asking ppl to speak hindi. In fact there is a debate in the central government about asking all schools across India to learn hindi which is great. Over the years politicos have made it as a point to exhort their devotion to the language than the people thereby depriving most of us here of an opportunity to learn the language. In fact nowadays in schools, etc an emphasis is being placed on learning hindi(private ones atleast) however to classify a city as unlivable for frivolous reasons like, “I dont get booze”, “autowallahs dont know hindi”, “Its hot”, “Chappatis here suck”, etc are unreasonable. When you describe about a city in a well read and trusted guide like LP we expect some amount of equanimity to be shown. Hence the tirade. Frankly I’ve grown sick of ppl complaining abt a place they hardly know about! And giving up our regional differences is kinda far fetched. At most we can do is promote regional harmony and acceptance of cultures. After all, India is Unity in Diversity with a few bachchas thrown in unfortunately 😛

      1. @Nash: i realize i’m 3 yrs too late for a reply, but after reading all the MINDLESS n fanatic RANT typed out by our BACCHA&co and equally mindless n Fanatic replies by my south indian brethren. i find this reply of yours is the only one which can be termed as EDUCATED n DIGNIFIED. I am a Kannadiga and I have tried explaining the same to my fellow Tamil friends that knowing HINDI aint like surrendering to NORTH INDIAN supremacy, it’s a middle ground u can take as most of the other INDIANs are already familiar with the laguage, so take a step forward. If u can learn ENGLISH (a foreign language) and not feel like u’v surrendered to west supremacy them why the feeling towards hindi?

        All the other points abt food/ rickshaw/ Raja babu/ heat etc are not discussion worthy if one is worth his salt as an INDIAN.

    3. I disagree. Actually I should be sitting on the fence for this one, because I live in Mumbai, have relatives in Chennai and study in Singapore (where I might add that north – south bhedbhav and hindi-tamil separation is very strict), so I have seen provincialism of even the globalised kind. The main thing here is about how Chennai is still considered some kind of long regressed ghetto, like the Corsicans in France.
      I think Raj T is worse than any politician in Chennai, but Mumbai is still considered cosmopolitan. This is becuse of the stereotypes still in people’s mind about Chennai. So what if they don’t want to speak a language whose people consistently disregard them as some sort of inferior race? South Indian racism, still unforgivable, is always reactive. In singapore a fair Indian (read north indian) is more likely to get a job because he looks posh and groomed. the racism here is cheap even by the standards of racist discourse.

  28. err…last line to be read as “OK, I really, really don’t support Raj T’s methods, nor do I see him come up with political solutions, all I’m saying is that I see some double standards here

  29. Amit all this, I see you managed to besmirch the ‘Man’ of ‘What a’ fame:
    //To paraphrase Rajini// lol

    Regarding Hindi though, we need to remember that apart from ‘thrusting’ there were homegrown efforts to reach out. Just that they fizzled out due to expected poor response

    Goundamani singing in Kovil kALai
    GM: (soft) mErE thErE dhujjukO diyA (high pitch)mErE thErE dhujjukO diyA
    S: ennaNNE idhu ?
    GM: indhi dA
    S: ippidi ellAm paadunaa vara mAttaanga

    1. Haha. Goundamani is hajaar gawd maama.

      As for reference to our cine industry:
      Yes, we turn out crap. Law of large numbers. Much like evolution.
      We have the best actor in the country (by some distance. the khans and AB can come kiss his ass), the best director in the country, the greatest music makers in the history of the nation, the best comedy there is ever to be had, the best cinematography.

      We will not deny you “hawtness”, you prudes. Is that your claim to fame?

    2. How abt Gounder’s another classic kavidhai in Hindi

      “Ek Vishwanathan, do Vishwanathan, ek do Vishwanathan.
      “Theen Vishwanathan, Chaar Vishwanathan, Ek Do Theen Char Vishwanathan”
      “MS Vishwanathan”

  30. I met a Delhiite on a train once – who then nonchalantly proceeded to ask me if Madras was in Trivandrum
    I rest my case. 🙂

      1. I was just reading this post aloud to my friends. One person from Mumbai asked me if Chennai was the capital of Karanataka.

  31. There is just one correction to this whole piece and I don’t expect anyone to know it – it is not Chennai-ite but Chennai-vasi (how else can the Thamizh “thaniththanmai” be shown? :)) (It’s Delhiite, Banglorean, Hyderabadi, Chennaiite (if you have to), Calcuttan (or simply Dada) and finally Mumbaikar.)”

  32. Quoting you ,”The point was to say that if people wanted to only look at negative aspects, one could easily do so” – and you are doing exactly the same about the article – This is what I was about to say before reading the lonely planet article.

    Now that I’ve read the article I’d say “WTF”. The whole act seems like the writer owns some tourist company that has operations only in Mumbai , Delhi and Calcutta. Either that or it was that time of the month when he wrote about Chennai and Bangalore.

    PS : The Bangalore Airport is to the North of Bangalore and hence in no way closer to TN than Bangalore itself.

  33. Very funny… This Amit Baai is so Super Funny that all my friends are reading this blogpost and also his tweets and ROTFL… Thanks for letting us laugh at you Amit. You need to grow up…MENTALLY!!!

  34. @rahul is’nt that like saying all americans are dumb.
    Once I met an autowaala in Chennai who told me to get out of his country, so I did get out of his auto!

  35. Is it just my imagination or has baccha succeeded in the impossible? actually increase visitors to this already superpopular blog?

    1. well It just shows… u south Indians are so full of hate that one (most probably) fake person’s comment/blog can get u all together and spew venom all over the place.

  36. Hi, I came across this post because a friend sent me the link and I must say … this is THE BEST review I have ever read about Madras! As a Madarasi myself, I love everything you have covered about the city! Thank you 😉

    1. Missing the point pearls ….read my posts please you will see what the people of chennai are getting at. We love India as a whole but we are just highlighting how any body could write any crap about any city leave alone Indian cities……but the fact of the matter is Chennai has taken a brunt of this from hindi speaking brothers and we only want them to pen thier eyes to how it would feel if they looked at reality from a different perspective..

  37. Hey..Krish
    1st of all..

    1)I have been following your blog since long as I like your style of writing.
    2)I am neither from northen part nor from southern part of India.

    But this blogpost and the following discussion has made me really sad. we all love our place. And we all become defensive when somebodysays something negetive abt it. But to do that we need not put others down. cos then there wont be any difference btn us and the other person. Right!

    Sure , the comment section became a stage of chakravyuha for poor Bachha with fifteen replies to his single comment. All fine! It was his choice!

    But when people started digging about his facebook profile and his address(was it a threat??), I think they have taken it too far and too personal. You continued to delete expletives but you remained silent on that (profile and address)comment.

    Was that right on your part??

    Please think abt it.
    You are a very respected and much-followed blogger.

    1. Since I managed to dig out his facebook profile (not much digging actually, poor bachcha shares his email ID on his blog, and hasn’t bothered checking his privacy settings on facebook – anyone with access to the internet and a profile in facebook can see his complete details), I would like to clarify: it was not a threat (pardon my being naive, but I didn’t even think from that perspective).
      Plus, I’d interpret that as a way of revealing how vulnerable one is online – I got a whole bunch of friends who refrain from using social networking sites to protect their privacy. Anyhow, if it does offend you, I apologise.

  38. I second that filter coffee toast. Not sure the kudos is for the article or the comments though.

    Peeps who cannot handle a second language are those who complain the most. How many chennai-ites here know more than 2 languages? And they don’t even share a common root! I bet very few hands will not rise up.

    celebrate the differences, makes life spicier (not too good!!)
    bachchoo – ye teri akal ki baat nahin re, rehne do.

  39. Hi Vig ..

    Pls look at the comment by “grumpyIITian” where he is mentioning location of Bachha’s residence.

    Look at the tone of that entire comment. Isn’t it personal and offensive?

    I hope such comments are deleted by Krish in true spirit of Blogosphere.

    1. Ive edited out most of the expletives, but I normally dont indulge in heavy handed censorship. As for facebook/linkedin details, they are public information available on the comment authors blog, so I see no particular violation of privacy there, but I agree with you on the fact that the exhortation to go after him is wrong.

      I agree on the hostel details. Ive edited them out.

  40. Indian only, munimma

    There must be an Indian version of Godwin’s law about online conversations, where most things tend to descend into North-south bashing, or hindu-muslim at some point.

    Here is why I wrote this. Lonely Planet is a reasonably well respected guide for travelers, and Ive often seen foreign tourists carry their guides around. Now, you read their piece on Chennai. Did it seem even half accurate? Did it not seem woefully one-sided? All I wanted to do was to set the record straight on the fact while Madras has problems, a lonely planet guide that is purely negative is unfair. This is not about why Madras is better than other cities in India. It was unfortunate that the comments went in that direction. My point is that their review of other cities seems to have been written by someone who loves that city while still being able to mention the negative aspects. The Chennai piece is a north indian caricature of Chennai, and that is unfair to the city. Heck, most north indians here would disagree with most of those things. That’s why

    ps: Also, the seemingly negative opinions of other cities are purely intended to drive home that point to Lonely planet. I mention that taking a purely negative view is unfair to any city

    1. this is interesting to say the least. I can’t believe the Indian Godwin will be for something so lame as Naarth Saouth fighting. It has to be something more edgy. We should probably create a blog analysing blog comments. A blog about metablogging. Extreme.

    2. @Krish.. well said. It is quite obvious from your post in response to Lonely planet, to learn more about a city and then articulate the pros and cons that will be helpful for a tourist. It is unfortunate that the comments section went in a tangent and became quite distasteful.

      Still laughing over your “Anyway, Yek Chennai gao me yek intolerant laduka raghu thatha..” 🙂

  41. Nice Post.

    But IMHO it should have just stuck to the fact that LP has given some inaccurate statements about Chennai and those should be corrected. Period.

    Most of the commenters (or should it be commentators?) seem to take it upon themselves to sort out the South Vs. North debate once and for all! In some ways KA himself has exhorted that in a minuscule manner when he says that Mumbai and Delhi’s writeups are better than Chennai’s!

    When comparing two things, should one show the secondary as inferior in order to prove the superiority of the first? I mean there was no need to point out the fallacies (obvious or otherwise) in those cities to show that your city is better in those aspects.

    Chennai is one the greatest cities of India and is among the 6 metros of the country. LP should have extolled the positives and negatives within the city itself without resorting to comparing with other cities’ similar cultures and traits.

    A travel guide is supposed to be neutral and unbiased. I’m sure you will agree if they call a spade a spade and not coat it with honey etc! e.g.: The Wikitravel page of Chennai :

    Now how many Chennaiites will come forward and say that that too is too scathing a description of our city?

    1. the wiki page u posted seems a neutral enough.. the lonely planet post on the other hand, has a hint of derision even.. maybe chennai does not have much to see.. but chennai surely has as much as other indian cities.. that much for sure.. i don’t think any indian metro itself qualifies as a tourist spot unlike some other cities in the world.. having said that, we are indians and may not see the world around us the same way as foreigners… anyway, the least they could do is seek out opinions from unbiased travelers visiting the city and highlight their experiences..

  42. Hey, come on, KrishAshok!
    If you really want to do justice to your post, take some of the choicest chennai swear words (heck, take them all), unleash your creativity and let it rip at lonelyplanetamit.

  43. This is the first time I’m commenting on your blog, Mr. Krish…
    I am a HUGE fan of your blog, been reading it since the beginning of last year. I was really looking forward to meeting you at my school cultural fest, but I was unable to make it. Ironically, I had only suggested your name hoping that if you came I could meet you 😀 Please do come next year as well 😀

    Moving on to the post…
    I am a die hard Madrasi (Chennaiite, Chennaikaars are all too new). Even though I’m just eighteen, it seems like I’ve lived in Madras for fifty years. I’ve lived in Mandaveli before and presently living in Adyar, and I’ve come across so many things in Chennai that just shaped my life and give your post a two thumbs up!

    The best thing about Chennai is that however many Amits try to invade it and infest it with Hindi culture, not one single true Madrasi will ever ever try to learn the language Hindi 😀

    All hail Raghu’s grandfather! 😀

  44. Krish,

    This is a Lonelyplanet article. It talks about Chennai from the perspective of a tourist, specifically a foreign tourist.

    Keeping that in mind, what have you said to contradict that?

    1. rishi.

      Actually no. The piece on chennai was written by Vivek Wagle, who is an editor with Lonely Planet. If he wrote the ones on Mumbai and Delhi, then all I urge him to do is take that same tone – praise the good stuff and romanticize the bad stuff.

      1. It doesn’t matter who wrote the article. The lonelyplanet guide is for tourists and should be read as such.

        A more balanced reading of the article also shows many good points.
        1. locals are friendlier
        2. streets are wider
        3. Mentions booming outsourcing and auto and other industries
        4. laid back, conservative
        and a few other points.

        As to the negative points,
        1. muggy, polluted, hot as hell and difficult to get around. – is definitely true.

        2. neither the cosmopolitan, prosperous air of Mumbai (Bombay), the optimistic buzz of Bengaluru (Bangalore) or the historical drama of Delhi – Well, did not object to the Delhi and Mumbai comparisons, as they are obviously true. Bangalore is “optimistic” because it is the hub of India’s IT industry and one cannot really argue with that.

        3. Even the movie stars are, as one Chennaiker put it, ‘not that hot’ – If you have a problem with this, you will have to show pictures, so we can decide for ourselves.

        1. 1. It’s not Chennaiker, and residents of the city do not judge their movie stars by an arbitrary Bollywood defined standard of ‘hotness’.
          2. It has a history going back 2000 years, if one bothers to look for it
          3. The prosperity of Madras is far more wide-spectrum.

          This is not about a comparison between Indian cities, although Lonely planet unfortunately tries to make it so. Compared to the pieces on the other cities, the Madras article is about as fair and balanced as Fox news.

          If a foreign tourist reads their piece, the obvious reaction is going to be – ‘sounds like a place I must avoid like the plague’. That is my problem.

          1. The aim of a Lonelyplanet article is not to romanticise a place, but to give a true picture of it. The customer of a lonelyplanet guide is a foreign tourist trying to understand a new country or city and lonelyplanet would loose that customer if it did not give a true picture of any city. First of all you should understand this.

            Given this, what in this article is untrue? You have pointed out only the “Chennaikar” term and I give you that. Strictly speaking it should be Chennaiite.

            1. @rishi:

              Wow, you sure you got the true picture from that article? How about not mentioning Chennai being the hub of cultural significance. Mylapore temples alone would be a great thing to mention as a one liner. Secondly the friendly nature of people who would socialize compared to other places in India. Take camera and point at any random fellow on the road in Chennai. Do the same in other cities, perhaps you would know what im talking about. Dusty chennai? How about gurgaon for starters? How about Kolkatta? How about bombay slums? The article speaks as if chennai is the dirtiest of all places in india which is untrue. Paint the town read is what i see in the north, no not that type of fun. I mean with pan paraag + gutkha kind of paint the town red.

              Having no auto’s in gurgaon is worse, compared to auto’s that fleece. I agree its a problem but which city has honest public transport that bills by the meter. But then look at the extensive set of bus & train services in chennai. Compare that with bangalore, you shall know what im talking about.

              Talk about less crime and chennai being close to mahabalipuram and kanchipuram which are frequent weekend getaways for many of us chennaivasi’s.

              Marina beach, Valluvar kottam, War memorials, Cricket Stadiums, Asia’s largest bus terminus in Koyambedu, One of Asia’s largest perishable goods market in Koyambedu, Growing IT industry, Major Automobile production Hub in india… the list goes on.

              What night life is the article complaining about? All Chennai’ites know what times dublin and pasha are open and which liqour shop sells what stuff and where to buy them.

              “With only a handful of tourist sights, Chennai doesn’t demand too much of your time. “

              Whoever wrote that is an idiot, plain and simple. I agree we dont have the taj mahal but we have our valluvar kottam and marina beach and MAC stadiums. Now tell me what other cities have that chennai lacks and i will tell you just like an Agmark chennaivasi who has lived here for 28 years where you can find that in chennai.

            2. Dude, you make me repeat myself 🙂 But let me be brief and precise this time
              1. Article claims Chennai has no history – Chennai has a phenomenal amount of historical drama, as much of it as Bombay and Bangalore do. It has the damn East India company, the Naickers, the Pallavas in Mahabalipuram and St Thomas for Christ-sakes 🙂
              2. Article claims Chennai does not have the prosperous air of Bombay – Clearly, the author has never been to T Nagar.
              3. Difficult to get around – Are you kidding me? How many cities have the bus network Madras does, the suburban trains and share autos (and im not even talking about autos). It’s better than most cities in India

              And yeah, muggy, hot as hell and polluted are true. All big cities are polluted, so that leaves us muggy and hot as hell.

              So, 1 out of 4 claims. Do I need to make this any clearer?

  45. very good post once again. the Padayappa reference was too good!

    if one focuses on the better things that a city has to offer, jaaliya irikkalaam, but naah, thats not how most ppl are configured.

    and thank god, we dont have some loosu person who will now demand that the post be edited to change madras to chennai (imagine edit – replace all functionality demanded by some random ass like ‘Rajath Akkarai’ mama). otherwise KA, your avasthai will become like karan johar. Wake up Amits!!! Chill out.

  46. I am feeling bad for Bachha, paavam he’s a lone crusader.

    oh mere thiruvizhaa ke bichde hue bhai, I am with you.

    These bloody madarasis and their obese heroines, kitne gandey hain yaar.

    heroine ho toh apni rani jaisi, and bloody apne ladkiyon ko khila pilake heroines banate hain.

    1. Aiyo, I’m with you as far as obese heroines go. Someone please kill Namita.
      Oh but looks like the ultimate Sleaze Queen (Mumtaz of Mala Mala Marudha Mala fame) has shed a LOT of weight…
      Madam trying for six-packs, looks like. Orey the competition for the three Khans.:D

  47. I’m with you there KA. I implied the opposite of what you thought I meant 🙂 What gets my goat (no I don’t own any) is such people who dismiss a city because they have seen one side of it. Can I equate Mumbai to Dharavi? Or Delhi to chandni chowk (where any person of the female ilk aged between 10 and 50 gets a feel-up or 2, guaranteed)? So, you don’t like a place. Big deal. Move out or stuff it. No one’s forcing you to stay. Just don’t whine.

    If you are going to write about a place as a tourist destination, keep personal prejudices out of it. If you are going to write up about your personal experiences, that is a different ball game altogether and you are entitled to your opinions, albeit faulty.

    This post and comments have been quite entertaining! Catch my point?

  48. @Krish – LOVED the post! Especially the Raguthatha bit.:D
    I study in Delhi and have had atrocious questions thrown at me, such as…
    “Do you have paan in Chennai?”
    “Do you have big-big shops like Globus?”
    “Madrasis aren’t very beautiful, na? No offense yaar…”
    God bless the north of the Vindyas.
    But yeah, it is a pity that more people in Chennai don’t know Hindi. It’s absolutely unfair to foist it on us as a ‘national’ language (my uncle still complains about having been forced to take some Rashtriya baasha exams) but some knowledge of Hindi doesn’t hurt. Especially when scary auto-maamas in Delhi leer at you as you try making them understand directions to your hostel in English. They expect us to know the language…unfair, yes, but it’s our loss if we don’t.
    @The Vikku – Please do tell me what ‘hindi culture’ is. And this is not a debate where The South goes up against The North. Go read Gone With The Wind.
    And axe-kooz me, but I am a chamatthu Tamil penn and I know Hindi. And so does namma Krish (not the Tamil penn bit!). Gah.

  49. Brilliant job Krish and thanks a ton! I’m glad I got to read the lonely planet article and yours at the same time… that one got my blood-boiling immediately… yen kovathai udanadiyaga thanithadhugu nandri… I’ve never been glad that words from my mouth have been stolen as you have and done even a better job of it!!

  50. haha, what’s funnier in the comments: the madrasi-bashing, the defenses in bad hindi orthography, or the earnestness? 🙂

    krish: good points, well made as usual. why not write/start an LP alternative guide to nalla Madras? there seems to be enough passion here to crowdsource it all.

    btw, it doesn’t get any better when you get out of the country, with both amit-log and aravindan-log failing to explore the cities they live in. (ignorance & laziness: i’m tempted to say it’s a feature, not a bug)

  51. Indian pop culture needs a movie focusing on Chennai. That will up the quotient. I love the city but no one can deny it needs to brand itself a little more. Mumbai has been endlessly romanticized and others are catching up…thats where Chennai lacks.

  52. I didn’t expect this from Lonely Planet. But then it is not Lonely planet but just that one guy who wrote it. If you really want to give an opinion of the city, you should ask the foreign tourists who come every year. They see India better than us.

  53. Hilarious article. Esply the bits you ripped apart Delhi and Mumbai. 🙂

    That said, I’ve been in Chennai for the last 3 years and as much as I’ve tried (I’m not into Carnatic and Georgetown/Marina/Beseant Nagar really aren’t that charming), I really haven’t warmed up to the city. And I’d actually agree when someone says “it’s muggy, polluted, hot as hell and difficult to get around. Traditional tourist attractions are few. Even the movie stars are, as one Chennaiker put it, ‘not that hot’.”

    As much flak as Baccha (incidentally, where I come from, we use the word ‘chome’ to describe Amitus Abeyaaruses) is getting, he does have a point.
    Autos and Tasmacs, bloody unbearable those two. Especially at 40 degrees Celsius. (Although the stuff they sell at Saidapet is quite awesome. 🙂 )

    And what’s up with running into the same 30 odd tambrahms at every concert/play/Elliot’s Beach?

  54. Nice post! And I totally agree with you.

    No matter what us, Chennaites will be chennaites and not Chennaikars (who even came up with that).
    And read the Lonely Planet article. Very biased. The moron calls Chennai a village! It so is NOT!!

  55. I find it ironic that this one post in your blog that I found to be totally unfunny rakes in double-triple the comments on your geniusly funny posts. And if that was not enough, the comments are atleast 10 times more rediffey than the post itself. (Credits to your blog for the “rediffey” verb :))

    You didn’t have to resort to such flamebait, KA 😦

    Earnest request from fan: Please stick to humor, that you so excel at, in this blog, and keep a separate blog for all this regionist jingoist drivel.

    1. Funniness rarely has anything to do with the number of comments. When I assemble a post, as I normally do, from several small little post-ideas and notes (I use Evernote), it comes out reasonably funny. I also like it when I stay away from pop culture and politics.

      This post, on the other hand, is one of those gut reactions to something I didnt like, with humour simply serving as some sort an icing on a burnt cake. I suppose the target audience is really the kind (me included) that likes pwnage of amits 🙂

  56. This LonelyPlanet article was actually mentioned in the context of the world’s worst cities, where Madras came in seventh.
    I was born and bred in Madras and I still think it is the best Indian big city to live in. I wouldn’t want to fight with these guy,s however, and make my case. The more that presumptuous a**holes like this stay away from Madras, the better 🙂

  57. Krish..

    In a more proactive approach we(irrespective of region we belong to) can send mails and flood the mail box of LP site asking them to remove the causal and negative comment about Chennai.

    This will be more effective..I feel.
    I am sending my mail and request others to do so too.

  58. Krish:
    Your article and the comments/cross-comments that followed are interesting and hilarious to read. But, at the end of it all, what does it leave? A bitterness deep inside. Amits, Bachchas and the like who despise fellow-human beings for their caste, creed, language, food, culture, place are doing it out of bigotry and ignorance. Some here in Canada, are 100% ignorant, when they ask me whether we ‘east’ Indians speak ‘Poonjabi’! And the Bachchas/Amits…100% bigotry.

  59. Just like we refer Kannada speaking people as “Kannadiga”, the residents of Bangalore/Bengalooru are generally referred as “Bengalooriga” in Kannada. The term Bangalorean is an English usage.

    So my brothers please tell me what is the term for Chennai residents in Tamil? Is it Chennai al?

    1. Sorry, who refers to residents of Bangalore as ‘Bengalooriga’?? Not in Kannada! And certainly not in English!

    2. Huh Bangalooriga? :O No one calls us that. Sounds funny, though. South Indian (in general, Indian?) languages do not necessarily have a convention of standard demonyms, unlike English. Kannadiga is also interchangeably used with Kannadadavanu, etc. Bangalorinavanu (person belonging to Bangalore) is what we say when speaking in Kannada. To stick with the English habit of using standard demonyms, we just use Kannadiga, Chennai-vaasi, etc.

      Of course, Chennaikar sounds terrible, but there is no established convention to blame the writer about being wrong in using it. Ad hominem- Of course, the author of the LP article seems to be of Marathi/Konkani origin, with an obvious propensity to use the Marathi/Konkani convention of “kar” at the end of a city’s name to refer to its inhabitants. There is no necessity for standard English words for people from all random cities- Thiruvunanthapuram, Shivamogga, Dharwad, Alapuzha, Tumkur, Kanjeevaram, Salem, etc.

      But don’t you think calling people of Erode as Erodites sounds nice?

  60. Amit nu peru irukkura oruthan ungalukku edhavadhu bayangara droham edhavadhu panninana? ippadi pinni edukkareenga 😀

    Rofl at the Chennaiite’s version of Delhi ..

    Thalaivaa.. engeeyo poyiteenga

  61. @krishashok ‘Amitus abeyaarus’. Superb sir. I can see the implication gooogle wave that can help us discuss and comment collaboratively and derive much more killer terms like this. This might help our Bachcha(the true amit) to follow some neat threaded conversations. Bachcha creates every conversation as a new thread.

    @Bachcha Every where there is a problem. Ashok sir hi-lited clearly delhi and mumbai cities. Kolkattans neither respect hindi nor hindi walas, besides knowing hindi. Tamil Nadu is famous for culture and chennai is always cool place to live(when compared to delhi), and life is peaceful here. Even if you take our DailyThanthi or DailyMalar news paper you will see news about rape,murders,terrorism only from north region and south involving these is pretty less, and some useless youth copy from north and implement here. Chennai life is peaceful, many people from north admitted this Esp Naresh Iyer(singer) likes chennai a lot.
    Regarding Dirty Marina, can you show me one place which can be as much dirty like mathura,UP,Agra,Purani Delhi??When i visited Mathura, I didnt worship Lord Krishna instead I thought why the hell Krishna was born in such a dirty place. Udhar(uttar) Jao aur diwali celebrate karo Bhaiiii..Good luck

    @Karthik (Galeejnus) India is an agricultural country and atleast in this aspect let North own some popularity other than their tradinational rapes and murders

  62. Kalakiteenga Krish. I saw the Tweets of Amit, he is so Amit 123. Really absurd are his views every other person is black here. And happy Diwali for a instead of lighting up crackers let us become rocker and disturb the neighbour next door differently 😉

  63. hey,
    i’ve lived in delhi for like 10 yrs and then i moved to chennai…
    @bachha: u just ‘ve to grow up .. u can’t expect chennaittes to talk in hindi, to flaunt themselves arnd like ppl back in north do… in other metros there re a shitload of wannabes, but ppl down here do not ape those hollywood/bollywood actor/actresses blindly(in their dressing sense) like ppl up north do… not even in the southern stars… ppl ‘re more humble and more in touch wid their identity…ppl here like to sit back and’s true.. tht ppl don’t celebrate festivities being a loudass like ppl up north .. but this is how we ‘re..
    And reg. the booze part.. ur an iitan and if dunno good places to get booze in chennai .. i believe ur a loser! man…either a girl showed u the finger or ur prof fucked up ur grades or u were an outcast.. u r not a typical iitian tht i know..
    And abt autoguys.. true autos here ‘re a rip off… but if u’re a smart ass and know how to talk to ppl u’ll get wherever u want at reasonable rate…
    a smart guy can get his way with anyone… evn wid autowallas… soft skills dude??
    and abt iron maiden not comin to chennai… opeth was here @saraang! up yours!
    i have lots of north indian frnds who aren’t tht comfortable wid chennai .. but they’re tryin to adapt …and they don’t whine abt it…
    and talkin abt national language not being spoken here : oh if u sound so patriotic.. u shud know a thing or two abt religious and cultural tolerance… ur an insult to not only to north indians but all the indians… can’t believe the govt. wasted money for gettin u an undegraduate degree!!

  64. ஐயா! தீபாவளி special article போல. Special ஆ பட்டைய கேலப்பிட்டேள்!!
    தீபாவளி வாழ்துக்கள் !

    And, staying at a far away land with 4 Amit_123’s as roommates, this is the *Deewaali Special Menu* at my home:

    No1: Aloo fry dry
    No2: Aloo fry with gravy
    No3. Aloo juice
    No4: Frozen aloo
    (the last one is for dessert)

    எல்லாரும் room’லியே பட்டாசு விட போறோம் !!

      1. Guys n Gals,

        I agree with Ashok’s basic contention that the article presents a very narrow world-view. I am a N-Indian living in Chennai for some time. I love the place. The crime’s low, the society is more harmonious and yes the climate is a bit bad but I manage well . Overall, I love the place and the helpful people.

        However, I am concerned with the over-generalization of N-Indians here. I know ppl like Bacchha are a disgrace and I’m sure that most N-Indians would join you in admonishing him. But I can’t see anything positive being said at all.

        And trust me for this, while arbitary Amits are hell-bent to destroy N-India’s reputation, an average middle class N. Indian looks up very highly and respectfully to S. Indians. They prefer sending their kids (after the IITs, BITS or DCE) to NITs in S India or private colleges here and admire business leaders like Narayanmurthy and Nilekani. Yes, sometimes they do feel that Hindi is not spoken here but that’s because almost all states from Gujarat to Arunachal, and Kashmir to Maharastra you can pass off with knowledge of Hindi. But that’s it, I totally respect the Tamil ethos and culture and I dint mind learning the language.

        I would request you to see N. Indians in a new light. They are not so bad.

        1. Sachin,

          Agree with you totally. If wordpress had comment voting, I’d push your comment right up to the top. Obviously this caricature of “amit” is intended only to be a counterpoint to the Mahmood inspired “Madrasi” caricature that still seems to hold forth.

          As for Hindi, I speak fluent Hindi having lived 7 years in Delhi and 2 in Mumbai, and of course, it’s ridiculous to hate any language, although when it’s imposed on a people, it seems unfair. That is the root of the slight anti-hindi feeling one gets in Madras, but its not really as bad as it sounds.

          The truth is that most people, north or south indians will be like you, reasonable and tolerant. But it’s the extremes that make for blogpost material you see 🙂

          1. Glad, you took me in right spirit. I recently fell across your blog. I didn’t really go through all the posts but a partial observation reflected dislike for ….. . But I’m happy I was wrong. Though an innocent reader, from the north of Vindhyachals, would probably still find a random post biased.

            Looking forward to be a regular reader. And yeah, on a lighter note, making fun of Amit “Bacchaas” would be fun 🙂

            1. Sachin,

              I completely agree with you. What we are trying to do here is not to stereo-type north indians. In fact i would describe my parents as hindi fanatics, for that matter most south indian tamil brahmins are to the best of my knowledge. I graduated an M.A. in hindi when i was in 8th grade like all of my cousins did and i love the language. Although i haven’t spoken it much i recently had to live in delhi for about 3 months and loved it because moving around was so easy since i could speak hindi.

              However the observations i made were not really nice in some aspects. The stereotype was all south indians were dark skin coloured and hate hindi/cant speak hindi. People refused to believe me when i say im from chennai. So much that the security gaurd at my clients office thinks i come from australia since i walked in with my Australian colleague when i went there first.

              All of my work colleagues are north indians. I’ve had fun roaming around delhi NH9 eating paratha’s in dhaba’s at 2 am in the morning. The problem here is stereo typing.

              Having said that there is a stereo-type that all north indians hate chennai, south indian food and culture. I can vouch for north indian friends who when they come to chennai want to go to sangeetha for a cup of filter coffee and masala dosai.

              I think its the extremist stereo-types that are a fucking joykill for communal harmony. I’ve traveled almost all over north india and i’ve never found the offensive stereo-type that has been described & dictated to me. If we can stop caressing and romancing our past and start living in the present day reality, i guess things will be better for all of us.

          2. In 1996, when Mulayam Singh Yadav was Defence Minster, he wrote an official letter to then Kerala Chief Minister E.K. Nayanar in Hindi.
            Nayanar replied in Malayalam.

            Somewhat best response, one felt.

  65. Brilliant (or as they say in good ‘ol Bengaluru – AAASUM!) Parochialism is a trait we Indians take to as naturally as a politician takes to corruption, but its rare to see someone do it with as much panache as you…..hahahahahahahahahaha……loving it!!

  66. Awesome writing sir, very much enjoyed it and a beautifully put argument.

    So…. here’s an invite from Lonely Planet. Write for us.

    We have a ‘blogs we like’ section – write about Madras and publish your articles to Lonely Planet – let people see what a passionate person feels about the city, let readers see your point of view.

    Email me and we’ll get you set up.

    Matthew Cashmore
    Ecosystem Manager, Lonely Planet.

      1. So that lonely planet chennai article will contain south indian fav Mylai Karpagambal mess keerai vadai and coffee. Superb Sir. Inda Ulaga Nayagan Nooru Avadaaram Eduthukondirupadaruku VAaztHuKaL!

      2. I recently happened to hear a beautiful lecture on the history of music in Madras by the redoubtable V Sriram, but it had a fair bit of the history of Madras itself. His books, and references therein, would surely be a good place to start learning about the city!

  67. Aaaawsumm post!!! 😀

    Or like a mallu would say…”Owesum post!!!”

    As a mallu who’s adopted Chennai as her home, and lived in Delhi and Mumbai in between, this post sums up everything I’ve ever wanted to say.

    True, Chennai has its faults..ok, plenty…. but which city doesn’t?? The first thing that gets hurled at me when I mention that I’m a Chennaivaasi is “But the place is so dull yaaaaaarrrr..” And a gentle reply that you could have a blast if you know where to look is met with an open-mouthed stare. The irony of it all is that the amit_123 complaining about the lack of swanky pubs, hep hangouts, coffee shops et al is from Lord-knows-where-pur in Somewhere-Pradesh…where these things have definitely not made an entry. :-S

    I never used to believe that old one about anybody south of Mumbai being called a Madrasi…. but it took just one week in Delhi to see the light 😀

    “Ohmigod, you speak good Hindi…”

    “How does it matter if your mothertongue is Malayalam…. tu Madras se ho na??”

    “How come you’re not ordering idli-saaambhar?” (Deliberate emphasis on the “saaambhar” there…. I’ve lost count of the number of times MY pronunciation of the word was corrected!!)

    Aaahhh well…. whatever.

    Happy Diwali Krish…and I see you’re getting a chance to set the record right on LP 🙂

  68. Hell man, I hate Chennai – they don’t even answer if you ask anything in Hindi. Nobody can speak hindi too! Useless place and the heat. Lousy roads and no good women.

    This is all I hear from guys who have moved to Chennai for work etc. Well, I would easily get by in Chennai for Rs.80 a day.

    Hahaha, Amit – man, there must be too much of those around!!

  69. Why can’t these pan chewing Bhaiyas from “the north” come to terms that Hindi is not the national language of India. As far as I know, it is only the language of the parliament and so is English.

    That is entirely another issue that deserves a post from you!

    J B Jux.

  70. The North Indians are just jealous and have an inferiority complex ’cause they’re treated like 2nd class citizens in Chennai. A case of sour grapes. Who cares?. And, fcuk ’em.The smart ones among them learn Tamil and English and stay on. Thankfully, it’s just a few. Atleast one doesn’t see slums and shantytowns when landing at Chennai airport, unlike Mumbai, Delhi and other North Indian metros. Where was “Slumdog” the movie shot at?.hahaha

  71. Also, the page on LP about my beloved city is wrong. The new international airport in Bangalore has been built and operational for over a year now and Winston Churchill’s debt at the Bangalore Club (of Rs 13) was written off as “unrecoverable.” My lazy brethren realised only recently that the imperialist was dead. Rather like that Vivek scene where a village suddenly stands up with a newspaper and exclaims in shock about Mahatma Gandhi’s death.

    So, with so little fact-checking/updating and such unbiased (re-)views, why is Lonely Planet trusted again?

  72. @Krish, Kalakittenge Ponge.. Sekka Rousu Machi…

    Whatever happens, nobody in the world can beat the vocab of a chennai bus driver when you brandish a 100 Rs note for a 3 Rs ticket nor the dulcet tones of the resident auto driver, when you fight with him the morning, typically ending with the “Saavu….” word

  73. Great piece 🙂 All the Amits are terrified to step out and explore the city at all. They say they can’t understand the language. When did that stop any real traveller from doing real exploration work?

    Oh and please include the shops that do roasted groundnut in Mylapore, plus the sea food shacks on dear Besant Nagar beach, the Biryani shops and Jeeva Coffee in central Chennai, the friaries of Royapuram, the Mallu restaurants of South Chennai and the Gujrati food of George Town. Plus the Kaiyendi Bhavan near Brilliant Tutorial.

    Mr.Amit also says “get a taste of village life in the city”!!! This guy should go to Raipur or something.

  74. hey this is actually the first time i’m commenting on your blog despite me following it for more than a year… hats off… and we guys in besant nagar have our very own name for amit_123s. a lot of my friends from NIT trichy coined it. the amits there were lodged in jade hostel. we call them jades, partly also from the aphorism that there is a word jaded that’s phonetically similar to jade…

  75. Awesome!

    I’m sick and tired of my friends from Hyderabad and Bangalore complain endlessly about Chennai. They sounded more like a bunch of blind hometown-loving whiners.

    Sadly, my ‘elite’ institute has many who grumble around like this (You’d have guessed where). Left alone to study for four years in a foreign(?) place must have gave them a cultural shock, heh? 😛

  76. Hmmm. Nice blog mate.. when you do write for Lonely Planet pls do mention that the “auto drivers who charge two times the actual fare” are an extreme nuisance.. That’s the only sad fact abt chennai..

  77. Haven’t double checked this myself but on a recent walk to Humayun’s tomb, a friend who was with me told me about the Rough Guide’s explanation about Babur’s tomb next to Humayun’s tomb.

    The Guide apparently talks about how the tomb is that of the Emperor’s barber, and was placed next to that of the Emperor because he had much power — after all, he held a blade to the Emperor’s throat.

    There’s no mention of Babur the Mughal Enperor.

    The notice at the site uses the spelling Barber, and I presume that whoever wrote that entry just made up his own story.

    Talk about romantisization!

    1. Yeah, agree with you on the romanticization part. Folklore.

      I had my doubts about the tomb too but later found out that Emperor Babur was buried in Kabul, Afganistan.

  78. Sema post…. Kalakitteenga!!! Am so glad you wrote this.. hope Lonely planet takes note and makes the changes in their site… went to their website thru ur post, and was stumped that they had written atrocious things/info about chennai!!

  79. I must appreciate the writer for whatever he has written in a very honest erupture of emotions, not to mention the literary flamboyance. Well I am from Patna (Bihari – the term coined by I dont know whom, and i also dont know if it is a synonym of any abuse, the more learned people of bigger cities can tell), I have done my mba from hyderabad, worked for 2 long years at Chennai, been to mumbai, kolkata and several other cities of India, and a couple of times to USA…trust me every coin has two sides, including the great USA, i couldnt help fall in love with. You cant compare Alpha of one with Omega of other. Chennai still has a culture where women are respected in general than an average girl on Delhi roads who goes through all sort of shits everyday (I got enough insider news from my female friends in Delhi). Mumbai has a passion to live that few can kill, but there is an arrogance which is not Indian in its essence, thanks to the so called Thakerays….I mean who gave the ownership of Maharashtra!!!!….Kolkatta, a beautiful place, great things to eat….what about the extremism that is hindering its growth, so much so that the Nano project had to be shifted irrespective of the entire world acknowledging its long term benefits for the state and its civilization, and more over knowing that a TATA is NOT Reliance, go and visit Jamshedpur to get a feel of it. most fav place in India to live…great people, great things to eat…lot of respect for females…people who can easily understand and talk both english and hindi and not just telugu…well the negative part of hyderabad?…does it really matter at the end of the day???? Ask your own self…for me I love India, not just a part of it, and for anything negative, we all are collectively responsible, no one person is responsible for the bad of a state or the good of it…The greatest e.g. is Mr. Lalu P Yadav, if he took the state 50 years back in 15 years, we all are responsible for it, as we all allowed it….phew….didnt i convey all that i wanted to…for those who couldnt get it, read between the lines….God bless you all!

  80. I do not understand why people expect anything ‘Fair & Balanced’ from Lonely Planet.
    I have been let down by their recommendations quite a few times in India & abroad.
    Then I saw this article which explained a bit more.

    That said, the picture of what one carries about a place, is a sum of the people you meet, and all one does is extrapolate from that very limited sample & draw generalizations. I have had a great time in (hole in the wall places) & felt miserable in what is considered one of the greatest places on earth.

    The sad fact is Indians are prejudiced (if you think the Amits stick it to the Southies, just spare a moment for the people of the NorthEast, they are called Ghorka’s, Chinki’s & what not) And the sad fact is the insidious nature in which it creeps in to general conversation, with hardly any opposition in civilized discourse. I see Tamilian’s use the word “Marwadi” in the pejorative & as much as the UPites use “Madrasi” with hardly anyone objecting unless they are the affected party. (Including one classic comment “Hum Patna se hai, Bihar se nahin”)

    While I understand & agree with the premise of the post, the tone in the comments (including KA’s to some extent) has been just perpetrating more of the same stereo typing & old prejudices. I have alway held the commentors of this blog in high regard & esteem. Infact I spend more time reading the comments section as the original posts, and have followed so many of your blogs from here & thoroughly enjoyed them.
    But this one somehow had more of a rediffy feel to it than a Jilpa-Jalsaish feel.
    Bacha & Amits are at some level caricatures of what we feel they are. There are thousands of Northies who have naturalised as Thamizans in North Chennai alone. And to paint all of them with the same brush is as much a disservice to the commenters of this blog as it is to the nameless Amit_123’s.

    Last but not least, I hope KA does not take the bait of Mr Cashmore (ironic) and fall for his “write for us” offer. There are far better places to this like here.

  81. I am happy that mathew Cashmore came by and took it in the right spirit! Wow, u will never know how long I’v e been reading the comments alone, Superb and awesome! Love this article and especially Galeejnus comments 🙂

  82. I guess lovelyplanet guys dont do any research before publishing an article. BTW chennai is the least polluted amongst the bunch of cities they have mentioned in their article

  83. Awesome post! Could almost hear Doordarshan-on-15th-August type patriotic songs in the background 🙂 As one reader mentioned it, i have statcasted it too!
    Keep rocking Chennai, we all love you..

    1. They’ve edited it now. It would not be very madras-like to beat ones chest and say – “Maatha vecchutomla” in a baritone sing-song Madurai-accented way, so instead I will say this:

      Dear Lonely Planet

      With reference to your article on Madras that did not render yeoman’s service to the city, I commend your laudable attitude in setting right what was originally a grievous wrong.

      Thank you

  84. Dude! That was intense man! Ive just spent the last half hour AT WORK going through the links, comments and the post itself.

    Well im guessing LP has modified the content since this post. Its been made to sound more… diplomatic(is probably the cleanest word i could think of).. Could you confirm that here?!

    If thats not the case, man.. whats all this about? your gut reaction post certainly belies the calm attitude of the fence-riding Chennaiite (although i DO appreciate your composed reply to bachcha.. i dont think any other reply was strong enough in substance.). But you know what.. i loved it all the same! cos it got things done. good to see Mathew’s comment.

    Its certainly sad that its become a city/region war in the comments section. Sachin’s comment and subsequent support are a relief!

    The past half hour’s experience – the post, comments, feelings running through me – all seem strangely, Chennai-ish. All’s well that ends well :). Nothing like home guys.. nothing.

      1. It seems to me that you’ve been editing the piece quite a bit. What im reading today is definitely not what was up yesterday.
        Heh.. looks like LP is getting insecure. Comments Mr.Cashmore? It’d help if you just be honest with whats going on regarding this.

        1. I’ve just gone back to the editorial team to make absolutely sure…. the only thing that’s changed on that article is “Chennaiker” to “Chennaiite” – everything else is exactly the same, the same in fact as you’ll find in the book I’m told… I really am here to tell the truth – there’s very little point in my telling fibs here is there?


          1. Dont get me wrong sir. I only asked you to be honest, not truthful.

            If that IS indeed your stand on the article, well, at least we know now for sure. Im sure you will agree that we have capable people here who would like to change that.

            @KA – Could you tell people here if progress is being made with LP on this? Your thoughts awaited :).

            1. sorry about the confusing choice of words. I just meant to say that im not accusing you of lying here. I just wanted to know what, if anything, you and your team are doing about the article – so that we can move forward.

          2. Mr.Cashmore,

            Have read the article some 17 times since day before yesterday…..With in my limited ability to understand and decipher the language of English….I can say there is more than that,that is changed…..The tonality of comparison is watered down and the ‘Historical’ reference to Delhi is removed as well.This observation is valid as of 11.54 am on 20th October 2009 IST and on the opening page of the said article.

            You may now want to re check with the editorial team,Sir.

            Thank you.

            1. no… really, nothing has changed…. there’s an easy way to check – grab the actual book – the text is the same… there’s no way we’d change it and them claim not to have – that’s just silly, we’re sometime daft, but never silly!


            2. @Vinay – don’t worry about it 🙂

              We love to get feedback on our articles – no-one is ever going to agree 100% with everything that we say, but this is the article and we’re not changing it because some people don’t agree…..

              We are however, and this is the important bit, giving people who don’t agree with it a space on where they can not only say they don’t agree with it – but write and publish their own article – that way we have a broad spectrum of opinions and the traveller can decide which one is best.


            3. Mr.Cashmore

              Thanks.I said it haD changed on the webpage where it originally appeared and NOT elsewhere….Thanks for the suggestion of reading your book.Suspect I have better and more reliable sources to ever check on anything remotely related to travel.Anyways thanks for the offer and your time.


            4. OK Sir,If you insist,I will not argue further,but surely will check my vision,my comprehension and my memory.

              Thank you.

  85. hi KA,
    been following your blog for quite some time, and i must tell u, i’m a great admirer of your writing skills, and agree with *many* of your views. I haven’t read all your posts, but sometimes I have got the impression of a certain bias against north indians. I don’t know what your personal experiences might have been which seem to have led you to paint all north indians (atleast male) with the “Amit” brush. Being a woman living in Delhi definitely doesn’t predispose me to liking many of them either (any woman in delhi would tell you that), but isn’t it unfair to just generalise (atleast that’s the feeling I have often got) and caricature the entire community? (this includes the twitter profile of ‘the amit’) I have read only some of the comments on this post, and unfortunately, some of them were spewing forth so much venom, almost bordering towards xenophobia. I have visited and stayed for short durations in several south indian cities, (apart from the north and northeast) but i guess i wasn’t exposed too much to the “North -South divide”, perhaps because I was brought up in an army setup, where there is no tolerance for disrespect for any Indian community/culture/language and everybody is an Indian first. Does it seem Utopian? No, its actually true. But more than anyone else, I hope some of your commentators join the armed forces and learn a bit or two about respect for everyone instead of exhulting in heaping insults upon others without realising that they aren’t being very differnt from the ‘Amit’s’ in question.
    (P.s. yes, the LP article seemed unnecesarily critical. I have been to Madras as well and quite liked it, and some of my other North Indian friends who’ve lived there for years absolutely adore the city. But then again, your response seems to paint everyone with the same brush….)

    1. Divya,

      Completely agree. The “amit” caricature is designed only bring in focus these fringe extremists on both sides 🙂 Once we all realize that all stereotypes are pointless, the hope is that common sense will prevail.

      I dont hold any biases against any group of people. Ive lived all over India, and stereotypes that i might highlight in my blog are purely for comic effect. It turns out common sense is rarely funny 🙂

        1. @Divya
          Agree with caricatures…unfortunately anger takes away reason (note krish asking me to holster my weapon comment)…but some rebuttal was necessary…esp since bachcha was adding fuel to the fire…Im not going to justify my comments by claiming I have many ‘north indian’ friends…however I dont tolerate unfair criticism and hence the outburst. Apologize if any sentiments were hurt.

          1. hi nash,
            read some of your earlier comments just now….they (atleast the ones i came across) sounded fairly reasonable and civilised, so i wasnt referring to you…. but then, there are others who make up for all that by being such crass xenophobes. and that includes ppl from both ‘sides’. including baccha and tera baap….even i feel like abusing tera baap (hey, im panju, im expected to know my BC’s and MC’s!! 😛 )

            1. lol…and one side of my family is from mumbai 😛 where my grandmother and 2 aunts still live in…and having studied in a college with only 10% of pop was tam(I studied in TN) I also know my fair share of gaalis 😛 really tempted to use it you see 😀

  86. Give it to ’em !! Rite in the gizzard ! Thank u so much for this post ! That article made me see RED ! Wish I could write like u 🙂 Any tips ??

  87. Nice rebuttal,Krish.LP also mentions hard-line autorickshaws.Probably Amit has not travelled in Bangalore autos whose drivers are desperate to extract money from the IT crowd there (personal experience). Let Amit come here,we’ll teach him to do Jalsa and show Jilpa.

  88. <>

    whoa! I just Loved that! For the first time a “cross belt” that’s giving a “four-lettered” “another four letter” bashing to the “amits!!!” am loving it! 🙂

  89. Came here late…..could not quite understand what happened….by the time I did reading the LP post, this post and the comments ….phew….it is about three days now…..Brilliantly done rebuttal…..and I believe the original article had enough in it for being sued under willful and wrong misrepresentation of facts….unacceptable mediocrity, bias and actually racist …..

    And Hail the King Krish who save the city from the Western attackers….Long Live the King!

  90. Ivlo pesureenga, andha LP pasanga onnume maathala enradha paakaama poyittengaley.
    Before evlo galeej, ippovum avlo-vey galeej. Bleddy idly-stealers.
    Avangaloda ella books-um kaaylangadai poyi sera!

  91. Nicely done. The comment space contradicts the reasonableness with which the post was written, but it can’t be helped on topics like this i guess. And congrats on the LP invite.

  92. Hey Krish
    Your response to LP is now making me look at Chennai in new light…despite being a tamilian, never lived in Chennai and honestly, always found it a rather hostile city…but your article makes it sound so interesting…must visit again!

    ps: I am great fan of filter coffee and rasam though 🙂

  93. Hey Krish

    Enough of this maar-jhagad..please put an end to this section..almost every blog finally ends in this way..either a hindu-muslim rant or regionalism as you had put it earlier..we want this blog to be different.. a place where differences and exceptions are explored and celebrated and not looked down upon or made fun of..please continue writing about the usual social/relevant issues..i would love to read a satire from you next time..this blog has been giving me company after I left Chennai soil for the past 4 months..

    mikka nandri hai !!

  94. and for a malayalee who lived in madras almost my entire life except for college and love the city no matter favourite song these days are ‘sorgame endraalum athu nammooru pole varuma..’ and my favourite actor is the inimitable Ramarajan !!

  95. You certainly have enough material to do trend analysis( and write a blog entry) of comment reactions of potentially inflammable topics! 😀

  96. hi

    brilliant article. but it seems to be some american named amy karafin and not north indian as is being mentioned in the article and in the comments.

  97. Aah, the fucking Chennai cunt gets offended over the truth. Chennai and its cockroachy residents are an embarrassment to the rest of India. The fact that Lonely Planet even reviewed your crappy city should be a self esteem boost for you idiots.

    Go die, fucktard.

    1. Lovely 🙂 Was wondering when some of the extremist amits would show up. While i’ve been editing out expletives in the rest of the conversation, I’m going to let this stay. It’s sort of like how milk spoils in the fridge. At one point, the smell becomes so unbearable that bachelors will simply seal the fridge shut and hope the problem goes away by itself.

      ps: I will edit any responses to this for profanities though

  98. Agree with the above. Krish comes across as this cheap wannabe politician who jumps across every opportunity to pit the Southies vs. the Northies. No matter how small the issue, you always wet yourself because someone said a few negative, but TRUE things about your precious city. It’s because of opportunists like you that India is still caught up in the whole regionalism fiasco.

    Learning from Raj Thackeray and the ilk, are you?

    1. Dude,

      I was just waiting for this kind of nonsense comment for a long time and i was surprised how a totally unrelated comment attacking the person rather than the genuine problem at hand was never here. Sigh! Thanks for being the first one, im sure more will follow.


      Please do not close this thread, just remove expletives. I would prefer this thread from now on be a documented evidence of now some fanatical stereotypes react on this blog. The downside is you are gonna be called names but who cares? We are used to trolls anyways, after chennai metro-blogging trolls i think ithellam pisathu! 😀

    2. Dude 🙂
      If you want to create the impression of multiple people disliking Chennai (and this post in particular), here is a small tip. Use different machines when u post comments 🙂 Both Tera Baap and Ensiferum posted from the IP address in Mumbai. If you are feeling lazy, the least you can do is disconnect and reconnect so that you can get a new IP address.

      1. ooh the plot thickens! what fun!
        Anyway amits are NEVER grammatically sound.
        And they never make a point based on reason. They only state an impassioned opinion. See bachcha’s post for pointers.
        If you want the shit to really hit the ceiling you should trawl rediff and invite some real madrasi-haters over…this is so lame..

        1. nobody is a madrasi hater… they dont matter much to ppl above the vindhyas…. but u guys sure have a huge complex!!!….

      2. ha..ha…LOL…..I can imagine what the impostor in double action would be like now?may be sleeping under a thick blanket and shitting bricks every time any call comes or the door bell rings!!!! ha..ha…..sounds terrific even as I imagine that scene…… 🙂

        ok until he returns in another avatar(may be many more which should atleast equal the number of biological fathers he had),I remain!

        KA-Am sorry up to you to keep it or delete it…..I dont always believe in being nice and goody!

      3. Amit_123 is now Amit_420…. (say it in the tone used by Thengaai Srinivaasan of Thillu Mullu fame )…

        Enga kittayevaaa ? Hahaha …

        Nice post … (Too bad it didn’t bring about the desired impact )

  99. You all seem to have made the LP guy too famous:-), Btw, you need to mention in your posts that cartoons like the LP-wala make good ‘dhristi pottus’.

  100. As a tamilian born in madras, spent two years of schooling here and the rest of my life in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Bidar (a small Karnataka town near Hyderabad that filled the same role for Hyderabadis during prohibition that Pondy did here .. not to mention being a charmingly historic old town with a weird local language that was a combination of hyderabadi / deccani urdu, kannada, telugu and marathi – like saying “poune naluku” for 4:30), Hong Kong .. and using up about 4 passports worth of visas to various countries in the past 5..6 years .. and who has spent the last seven years in Madras …

    I hate the place – and I tend not to mind it, and like some parts of it too. I’m stuck here – own a house in Adyar, wife works here, daughter goes to school here, tons of relatives that I like here..

    But I absolutely hate the weather (I’d prefer Boston during the fall colors season, if you let me choose – or Geneva in spring and summer). And the auto drivers are parasites. I dont see the dirt too much – Adyar is one of the cleanest and greenest parts of Madras. And yes, like @krishashok I absolutely refuse to call it Chennai unless I’m talking about all the stuff I hate about this city. And it is not the overpriced shops and food court at the city center or other new and shiny malls.

    Anyway here’s what I like.

    The food (and @krishashok at least has seen the size of my gut so believe me, I know what I’m talking about). And yes – I’m an iyer with very religious parents and wife – none of whom eat meat. And they prefer chicory coffee too 🙂

    Cheap strong Bhai kadai tea and parotta with mutton curry at one of several greasy spoon malabar muslim joints, Duck sausages and Mezze at Azulia in GRT Grand, french pastry at Mickael Besse in Satyam Cinemas after a movie there, with free wifi throughout the theater … kimchi and bulgalbi / bulgogi (fried beef / pork) at In Seoul on TTK road etc.

    Far more choices now than Idly Vadai Dosai or “tandoori items” in the various “multicuisine restaurants” that have blighted , and still do infest, Madras’s food scene for all these decades.

    The last time I went to a Saravana Bhavan (in T-Nagar), I came down with gastro. And I get enough idly vadai dosai sambar rasam etc at home, all the time.

    So, I don’t think I’ll repeat that experience again, or even go to a south indian vegetarian hotel at all. if I need a stomach upset I’ll get some mutton biryani at Runs Hotel in Adyar .. at least some chance of enjoying myself before the inevitable happens (and it’s the only place I’ve found where the biryani approaches anywhere near the taste of Hyderabadi irani hotel biryani at Paradise, Nayaab, Shadaab etc). And as the Korean / Mediterranean etc is way too expensive for me to eat out there on anything like a regular basis, cheap biryani and parotta / mutton curry wins over idli dosai, any day, when I do have to eat out.

    Or for all the amit_123s there are plenty of small shops run by UP / Bihari bhaiyyas (with very thick accents, I tried them out on you, you’d accuse me of racial stereotyping). Like the one in the lane next to the Adyar telephone exchange .. Amazing panipuri and chaat, hot and soft parathas, samosas to die for – crisp and flaky outside, tender and with just the right amount of spice inside.

    And I hate the chicory laden and over-sugared coffee that turns up at most sangeetha, saravana bhavan type places.. Javagreen has a reasonably good espresso (and the Mickael Besse place is the only one I’ve seen outside five star hotels that has a top grade, industrial sized german coffee machine that produces a perfect espresso, ground from Illy coffee beans. Too far for me, and too expensive to be a regular indulgence.. so Leo Top Blend from Nilgiris, or Mysore Concerns coffee powder from Matunga, whenever I’m in Bombay)

    And then .. regular quizzing at QFI, a decent carnatic music sabha season – but with too few quality performers, the ones I like – the old masters – are nearly all dead and the current crop tends to emulate Nithyashree (personally I tend to reach for earplugs or change the channel whenever someone tunes in to some of her “music”). Ugh.

    As for the beaches Besant Nagar beach has more fried fish and bajji vendors, fairground rides and stray dogs than people I think .. part of what lonely planet would call local colour I guess, and it is about the one place you can cool off in the evening, anywhere near my house. Oh, I like stray dogs and they seem to like me too .. some internal radar keeps telling them I’m a soft touch for a biscuit or two and some patting.

    Dirty roads – I remember living in Hyderabad in the 1980s and coming to Madras – it was like a breath of fresh air then. Auto drivers used to use their meters here, the city was sparkling clean – even had UNDERPASSES .. still does. Back then the Hyderabadi roads were filthy, the auto drivers never ever turned on their meters (and had those old front engined autos rather than the rear engined ones madras had even then) etc. Now – today – hyderabad is a lot cleaner, the auto drivers’ meters work just fine etc. Some kind of cycle I suppose, so maybe, in another 10 years Madras will clean up and get nicer Auto drivers, and Hyderabad will go to the dogs again.

    One major bonus for Madras is the airport – I think one of the very few airports in India where a domestic to international connection is painless, and takes far less time than elsewhere, as the two terminals are less than a few hundred feet from each other – a five minute walk. And it is connected with direct flights to Hong Kong, Bangkok, KL, Singapore, London, Frankfurt, most of the middle east .. very easy to get to, and you’re out of the airport in less than 15 minutes of coming in on an international flight (grab the first seat in economy and travel with only hand baggage the way I do on short trips), and at home in Adyar, halfway across town, in less than 35 minutes after that.

  101. @KA – We (your so called N.Indians) love you. After all these 277 comments got the opportunity to see a part of Amit in you.

    P.S – We will still love you.

    1. Truth be told, this post does not leave me with nice feelings. It’s yet another online rant turned nasty conversational thread on a trivial topic at the end of the day. I suppose it’s good to channelize one’s inner amit_123 (or karthik1982 for that matter) once in a while to purge the system of these pointless debates.

      I will probably turn my attention to the subject of the difference between urban crows and jungle crows (ravens) next, just to reset my system

      1. completely relate to your sentiments KA.I am too left with a bad taste,about turning nasty and more so at the level that people can stoop down to,just to defend themselves,or to express hatred,actually completely submerged the brilliant humor that is the order here…..sorry

      2. Your honor…I humbly request/plead/beg/pichai kaetufying you to not close down this thread…Idhae maadiri responses vandundrundaal aapice le time pass nalla aagun onga blog padichindu…:P

    2. @Sari

      Not sure what your point really is.KA was just pointing out the factual errors on LP’s page and trying to get that fixed.There wasn’t anything in post which should make us love or hate KA (except appreciating his humor and writing skills).

      The arguments which followed were truly not under his control.But Its kinda depressing to note that even people graduating from IITs seem to be ignorant and intolerant to something which they weren’t accustomed to.I feel that its high time,people from different parts of India (not just North) who are here for education/job show some amount of gratitude to the place.

  102. @Krish,
    You have an uncanny knack of heckling the masses, especially those closely followed by an underscore and a few numerals.

    Be that as it may, I am VERY happy that someone took the time to read the LP article, and post a resounding rebuttal.

    Having been born and brought up in Madras, I am fiercely loyal to it. I am also not blind to its faults. The heat, the burgeoning selfishness of the residents, the inconsistent law and order environment among other things definitely detract from the lustre of my dear city’s many positives.

    I only ask that any critique that ranks Madras BELOW other Indian cities be factual and non-partisan. Never expected this of a reputable travel reviewer, much less LP. Good show, Krish.

    Grow up and cease using Goundamani and Senthil to lend support to your lame arguments. We shall meet at Phillippi, or Loyola Cricket Grounds at least 🙂

  103. while the term chennaiker seemed like a sure indicator of amit authorship, subsequent comments have lead me to believe that the author could have been a non-amit idiot foreigner. in which case, this whole amit-bashing exercise makes us chennaites seem almost insecure, esp if we do not remind ourselves that the reason we trained our guns at amits was the term “chennaiker”.

    and PPL AT LONELY PLANET, if at all you read this,

    rgd chennai being rated the 7th most hated city, i really have no problems admitting that. one only has to consider the considerable amit population to see that this is true. but omitting amits for the moment, does chennai still deserve the tag?

    1. lack of history is a bull reason. i think the reason why chennai’s heritage is not so highly rated is because of our cultural isolation from rest of india. our places haven’t been romanticized in literature or cinema and even if it was, non-tamils hardly ever got to read or see it. i think this is a really important factor for other people.

    2. claiming we are not prosperous is again stupid. facts are that we are prosperous and they (amitish folks and some foreigners) are stupid. they are of the belief that prosperity can be directly measured by the clothes people wear, the accessories they flaunt, swanky (in their minds) places like pubs and nightclubs, and so on.. chennaites (not only chennaites though) on the other hand, adapt to only stuff they find useful and reject everything else. so we don’t have girls with mini-skirts and fellows in sportscars blasting their speakers. and this, (irony of ironies), is what people often describe as the “village atmosphere”. also, i would like to add that although there are many poor folks in our cities, most of them have the best of values and are treated with reasonable respect by better off society. i for one and completely happy to call them my people.

    3. as a corollary to the above, our movie stars are not “hot”. i won’t defend them in this case. all i will say is we don’t expect them to be, so long as they know to act and can create engaging drama. and we are completely ok with you (a.f.a.s.f) quoting us chennaites, and not just one chennaiker mind you, as saying that our stars are in fact completely NOT “hot”.

    4a. regarding hot and muggy, i’ll agree. it is. but not unlike singapore. in whose review, you even refrain from mentioning the weather. in fact, even for cities like delhi, i didn’t see you take exception to the weather. also, while “hot and muggy” may conjure images of a dirty brown city, significant parts of chennai happen to be green and visually pleasing.

    4b. rgd “the streets are clogged with traffic”, i completely agree. i only ask you to include that sentence in the review for (at least) every other indian city and then possibly every other city in the developing world.

    5. had you claimed that chennai’s environment and sanitation (in slum areas) is poor. i would have agreed. and would further have added that bangalore pwns chennai in this regard. for this reason alone, i like bangalore more than chennai. i think chennai has completely mistreated its natural resources, or actually, mistreated its water-bodies. the rivers, canals and lakes are eye and nose turn-offs.

    6. difficult to get around is again bull. yeah, autos are bad. but there are other super-convenient options. like buses, trains and call-taxis. anyway, with call-taxis running at the rates they run, i don’t see why you (foreigners only) should even complain about difficulty in travelling within chennai.

    1. #3. actually i’ve always thought our movie stars are kinda hotter than bollywood! having grown up in mumbai and all. how come nobody’s admitting this?

      (aside) enough! i am getting OFF this thread

      1. i’m saying “hotness” as in leather jacket and boot kinda thing. actually, actually, even accounting suit-bootness, k-wood has less prettier people, but not bad or anything..

  104. ^same anon..

    actually, if you speed read LP’s revised article, its basically saying:-

    don’t visit this damned place. and if at all you do, listed below are a list of items which are characteristic of this place which is completely irrelevant to you, but we are putting in anyway because of this policy we have of trying to list some positives abt the place in our reviews.

    i myself would have at least expected a mention of the croc bank, some beaches on ecr along with the amazing seafood, chettinad and other unique and amazing non-veg hotels (believe me, i know taste is subjective, but chennai n-v food pwns western food and is unique to the place), mylapore area and some of the british/european structures (although, the last, i really do not care about except for santhome st.bead’s area)

      1. 😀 LOL LOL LOL!!!

        Quintessentially Chennai, this!!

        I have often wondered if this P James guy walks around the town painting it black every night! He is omnipresent in Chennai!

  105. Yes, terrible research by Lonely Planet on Chennai, but then again, I look at the Mumbai intro on their site, and see this:
    “a wealth of Art Deco and grand colonial relics; cacophonic temples; warrens of bazaars; and the odd spiritual bastion of tranquillity. In Mumbai you can dine at some of the finest restaurants in the country, and work off the appetite gyrating at ultrachic bars alongside Bollywood starlets and wannabes. With a pinch of gumption, a dash of adventure, an open wallet and a running start, there’s no excuse not to dive into the Mumbai madness head-first.”
    With a few tweaks here and there, this could be Chennai they’re writing about.
    So, based on how they’ve described the two cities, they’ve barely scraped the surface of either. In short, Lonely Planet’s awful all-round when it comes to research, and even worse when it comes to objectivity. All that their intros to Chennai and Bombay reveal is the pre-conceived notions they arrived in the cities (I’m assuming they did visit) with.
    Having said that, while I love Chennai unconditionally, I also realise there’s no way I can explain to a visitor why I do. I suppose it’s the same for a lot of other people – this includes not only people who have grown up here, but also people who’ve settled here and people who pop in occasionally. It isn’t the temples, the beaches, the history, the culture, or whatever else we anxiously reel off.
    So I think there’s no need for any of us to attempt to sell Chennai to visitors. It’s up to them to come here with an open mind.

  106. chennai is the best …I hate malls ,glitter ,crowds…..I am migrated out of another city to chennai, for the same reason …

    entertainment- blah i dont need it…I am happy with DISH TV ,DVD.

    Crowd-I dont want crowd..I hate crowds…no other city gives me lesser population density in india.

    Autos-I hate ….i agree ….but same in all cities (maybe except mumbai) i bough cycle..

    chennai can seriously be promoted as cheap city to live in …Why the heck should i stay in a ‘happening’ city….I want a quiet city…simple city …non-flashy city …

    And ,no i am not old…I am in 20’s..

    and this Amit thing has turned into a serious internet meme….

  107. also krish,

    Can anyone replace the_amit’s profile pic ,with Imran hashmi ,instead of hrithik….
    Amit’s got angry when hrithik married suzaane khan (banglorean)…


  108. Good one! Well looks like they updated it on Oct 19th.

    We lack historical drama? Now we have to have a bunch of terrorists shooting people up or explosions in our markets to qualify for it?

    We have temples,churches and monuments that are over 100 yrs old.

    Every recognized international brands has outlets here!

    And if I remember right, a certain man won an Oscar and returned to his house in MADRAS!


  109. KA,
    Can we have a Jalsa Jilpa snack edition for the article on Lonely Planet and people’s reactions please? 🙂

  110. @Anoop
    Not sure what your point really is —-
    ——-I will try to clear it for you.

    KA was just pointing out the factual errors on LP’s page and trying to get that fixed ——-
    ———Hope everything is fixed now.

    There wasn’t anything in post which should make us love or hate KA (except appreciating his humor and writing skills). ——–
    ——-We always appreciate his humor skill whenever and wherever it can be read.

    The arguments which followed were truly not under his control. ——–
    ———Don’t tell me. Ask KA.

    But Its kinda depressing to note that even people graduating from IITs seem to be ignorant and intolerant to something which they weren’t accustomed to.
    I feel that its high time,people from different parts of India (not just North) who are here for education/job show some amount of gratitude to the place——–

    ——Yes of course. that is the point. Did somebody mentioned this.

    @KA – Vo kahtey hain “Shuruwaat jaisi hoti hai Anjaam bhi vaisa hoga”

  111. Being a Chennaiite myself, i love the city for what it is, flaws and all. It is cosy and unique in its own way, and a comfortable place to live. No complaints at all.
    But is it really the kind of place an international tourist would find impressive on a short visit? Is it really a must-visit place indispensable from an india tour itinerary? That is the issue here, rather than which is a better city.
    I mean, it does have history, identity, culture and all that jazz. But things are mostly low-key, and there is nothing significant to attract and satisfy a firang on a quick india trip. The so-called monuments here are more of neighborhood attractions, and comparing them to other grand monuments in India would be like comparing a miss world with the hot chick in your college you have a crush on. As pointed out, it lacks the polish of Bangalore, or the buzz of Mumbai, or the regality of Delhi, or the extravagant beaches of Goa, or the stereotypical “india-ness” of Rajasthan or Kerala. Its special and cute, yes, but to us. And we don’t need to learn about madras from lonely planet anyway.
    So I dont think an amit needs to have written the article. Any objective firang would have come to a similar conclusion. Cant blame them. This place takes time to grow on you. As dhanush puts it in some movie “yenna madiri pasangalellam paartha pidikkadhu…paarka paarka dhaan pidikkum”
    Before I am branded an amit for my heresy, i should clarify that i am an agmark-muthirai tambram chennaiite who loves the city as much as krishashok does, but only doesnt expect everyone to do so.
    Great article. Fun comments.

    1. I don’t agree with that, Bratts! Its all about how we market ourselves. If we say ‘Madras is hot, sultry and boring’, its a definite put-off. Alternatively, if we say, ‘Madras is hot and sultry, but the beautiful temples of Mylapore make it worth every minute of your trip’, don’t you think there will be a much better response to the article? Which city/country does NOT have its drawbacks? Can one travel in Mumbai without being roughed up in the trains? Does one focus on that? Or on the other more appealing aspects of Mumbai? Its all about how we care to position ourselves to the world.

  112. Hi Krish,

    Well, the LP guides aren’t meant for Indians in the first place but for foreign tourists visiting India.

    Look, I find the Mumbai entry grossly incomplete, cliched, totally centered on the town area and sidelining the suburbs, but then again, that’s what foreign tourists want I suppose.

    There was a similar discussion/controversy on one of Matador’s (a top travel website) post forums, where Europeans objected to Matador’s ‘top ten nude beach’ list focussing mostly on North American beaches. Matador’s explanation was that most of their viewers and readers are North American, so that’s where their revenue comes from, and their articles have to reflect that reality, to keep that viewership base growing and revenue flowing. Relevance at the expense of accuracy and sensitivity. It’s the same with LP.

    Foreigners and locals view Indian cities differently. A foreigner and a Mumbaikar, for example, would find beauty in two very different places or things in Mumbai. Guide books like LP aren’t written from a local’s perspective for this very reason.

    If they were, no one would buy them – not many foreign tourists would ‘get’ India if it were described to them from an Indian’s perspective. It needs to be described in terms they can understand, however flimsy and shallow we might find them, or they won’t won’t find a connection with what they’re reading. And no personal connection means no sales.

    That’s why, while you can ask LP to include your own list of places to see/things to do in ‘x’ city, don’t expect them to include all of them or change the way these places are written about. our perspective differs from the perspective they think they should write from to get maximum revenue.

    It’s all about economics. LP is a profit making organisation. The people who enable these profits are foreign tourists, so LP will give them what they feel will make them want to buy LP’s guides, accuracy and local sensitivity be damned.

    1. Agree, but here’s the difference. If I read the piece on Mumbai, I want to go to Mumbai. If I read the piece on Madras, I want to go to Mars instead. That’s what I was pointing out.

      1. Well, I’ve read the LP entry on Mumbai and I don’t see anything that would make me want to go there, even though I live there, so maybe it’s just us being sensitive to how our cities are described, even when we’re not the target audience?

  113. dai krish what a wonderful can of wiggly worms. this at least should inspire lonley planet to do something? alos, if you ARE vetti, you should edit the comments and turn them into a lovely post on WHY national integration fails. hee hee.

  114. Brilllllliant, Ashok (or Krishna)!!! I couldn’t agree with you more. **Many pats on your back**
    Blogrolling you now, so I don’t miss out on any more fantastic posts!

  115. 1)>”‘Come, come!’ said Gandalf. ‘We are all friends here. Or should be; for the laughter of Mordor will be our only reward, if we quarrel.”-Book III, Chapter 6

    2)>What you fight, you become … (is this the path to National Integration after all ? gives me the shudders ) …

    3)>’Nay’, sayeth the wise one … for when thou fighteth, thou art but a blind man striking at an unbreakable mirror …

    I could post more random stuff here but then the message is simple … the blog’s creator has moved on … why stagnate here ourselves ?

  116. @Pallavi: As I said, we have grown to love the city and would find even its imperfections romantic. But we cannot expect a short-term visitor to do the same. KA is right when he says that all cities haven’t been rated with the same attitude. But by itself, the Chennai article is more-or-less what you would expect from an outsider. And on the subject of temples, one need not come to Chennai for that, as there are loads of prettier and more significant temples all over South India.
    What is Chennai’s USP as a tourist destination? Not beaches, definitely, as the beaches here do not compare with Goa as far as infrastructure, facilities, etc. are concerned. Not temples, like I mentioned above. Not historic monuments. Maybe music, but that happens for a short duration each year, and is mostly elitist. And the climate is undeniably intimidating.
    So does Chennai have any USP? Why would any tourist who has seen enough places want to visit Chennai? What does it have, that other places do not have more/better of, to attract and impress an outsider on a short visit? If I did not grow up with Rajini dialogues and bessie beach and music academy, would I still find this place endearing?
    I would love to know KA’s take on this.

    1. “And on the subject of temples, one need not come to Chennai for that, as there are loads of prettier and more significant temples all over South India.”

      I protest, ‘prettier’ is not the word to use when it comes to significance of temples on the whole. Prettiness is subjective. For example i love Katrina Kaif’s legs, my cousins and a lot of friends think she is looks nothing more of than a lizard. See the difference? One can never agree on prettiness as a determinant factor on temples. Grandeur and Size is a different thing altogether if that’s what you call pretty and if you realize temples usually are not thronged for size and scale but on the basis of significance. Prayer houses make more money in many cases than any christian churches would make, any given day. For that matter ashrams and fraud prophets like Sathya Sai Baba do the same as well. They don’t have pretty and huge ass buildings in all cases (with a few exceptions) but have something ‘significant’ about them that invites the crowd or captures the hearts of people.

      Now coming to significance and Chennai temple’s let me try and educate you a bit.

      The Parthasarathy Temple is an 8th century Vaishnavite temple. FYI, its one of the 108 Divya Desams, if you care to know what Divya Desams are in the first place.

      The Kapaleeshwarar temple was built in the 7th century C.E (rebuilt again in the 18th century by the Vijayanagara Kings) if you cared to investigate a little by using common sense or otherwise nowadays replaced by Google and Bing.

      There is nowhere in India like Chennai if you want to experience the finest in the art of music/dance but come to Chennai during the season or simply visit Kalakshethra. The Indian Parliament recognizes this place as an institute of national importance. Just go to Flickr and look at the pictures if you cared to, they would explain why tonnes of foreign tourists flock that place everyday.

      The fact that all of other places in south India have bigger and prettier temples, probably yes but highly debatable a subject. Since what’s pretty to you is trash for me by all possibilities. But Significant?

    2. Your description could fit Mumbai as well (worse beaches, unseemly crowds, nothing much to see, and grime) and yeah, unless one grew up with Amitabh dialogues and Bhelpuri on Juhu beach, it’s not a love-at-first-sight kind of place, and that is precisely why I said that this sort of dismissive, cosmetic reviews of cities makes no sense anyway. Either you dis every city this way (barring the cosmetically pleasing ones like Zurich, Barcelona et al) or do a little bit more to get under the skin of the place.

  117. @Dilip Muraleedharan: How many times do I have to repeat myself? I am not disputing the fundamental subjectivity of it all. These temples might have their own unique significance, but nevertheless they are not extravagant as tourist destinations. An outsider would definitely find other temples more appealing, like the ones in Tanjavur, Madurai, the Hoysala temples,etc. The tourist need not necessarily care which temples are considered more sacred and special, by US. He does not need to bother about how many alwars have visited the temple and all that. Even in that regard, there are much more religiously sacred temples than the few we drum about in Chennai.
    As I already mentioned, music is a seasonal thing which happens on a significant scale for hardly a few weeks an year. Appreciating Kalakshetra requires a longterm commitment and passion which cannot be expected of all visitors. The fact that it is of “national importance” is largely irrelevant here.
    I can assure you that I happen to know more about these temples than what wikipedia can tell me, thank you very much. But thats beside the point altogether. My point is just this: Say you’re an average tourist visiting India on a time-budget constraint. What would attract you to spend time in Chennai over all other places in India that you could possibly visit?
    You can go on nitpicking on whatever I say and counter them with trivialities. But the fact still holds that Chennai does not happen to feature prominently on any tourist’s itinerary. It is merely a pitstop before proceeding to the more attractive tourist destinations in the region. You can use your abundant common sense to google for more statistics on this and convince yourself. You can also try wiki-ing ‘USP’ to figure out what I am trying to convey.
    The argument is lost if you dont understand what exactly I am saying, and start ranting off cliches about all the good things in Chennai.
    I would really like KA’s response to my stand.

    1. @Bratt: Its “Muralidaran” not “Muraleedharan”, nevertheless, call me dilip. I dont mind. It was not me who stated there are “other significant and beautiful temples in south india” and chennai does not measure up to them. My response was merely to prove the fact stated in your previous comment as incorrect.

      To call Kapaleeswarar temple, Kalakshethra and Parthasarathy temple not extravant tourist destinations is nothing short of sattire. I doubt if you ever counted the number of caucasians, hispanics, african americans & asian people around these places walking with water bottles, waist pouches and cameras. Perhaps i will shoot pictures of these and upload for your benefit sometime on my flickr account.

      I never argued chennai was the best thing in every tourists mind when they plan an india vacation. I care less if its the last or does not even exist. I do however am humored much when people claim Chennai temples are not as beautiful as other south indian temples.

      Tourists to come to places like Chennai, Trichy, Madurai etc., are not the 1 week “seeing india” backpackers like the one you mention. I completely concur on your point there. However lonely planet does not cater to just these type of travelers. Personally i look up lonely planet since i backpack every month to a country/place in Asia Pacific for work. I get weekends off so i explore. If i were a Korean, say for example the chennai article does no justice. I would rather book a flight back home to korea on friday evening rather than a saturday morning and waste time checking out useless chennai as per LP.

      This mindset of writing about crap about a place because its not big and banging as others are is utterly unprofessional and stupid. To support that is unfair. Pamela Anderson Lee has really big ‘you know what’ but then we all know its plastic and its value is cheap. The review of LP on a similar note, is not objective, to justify that isn’t either.

      I rest my case.

    2. Dear Bratt – You have made your point loud and clear: Chennai is not on the top of the tourist circuit’s “Must Visit in India” list. The point KA has tried to make with this post is this:

      While Chennai may not deserve to be on that list, Bombay or Delhi certainly do not either. Yet their reviews seem to have comes from biased pens that seem to want to drive tourists there.


      The fact that Chennai is not on the said list, is largely due to the propagation of a “Chennai-sucks” stereotype, that is in large proportion created by insecure Amits who have spent years drumming up north-Indian cities while whining about the south Indian ones. The stereotype is also aided by the fact that we Chennaiites remain Chennaiites and donot protest the way we would have if we were ChennaiKKERs – by rubbishing such claims through high-handed affrontery. For every 100 Amit_123 who ridicules the Chennai auto-mafia, you would be hard-pressed to find any Sriraman_456 or Sivasubrabamanian_69 who cribs about Bombay Locals or the stench on the Dharaavi on forums like Twitter. Southerners have always remained silent observers in comparison to their Northern counterparts who love to trumpet the imagined fame of their origins. It is also because Chennai is sadly yet to find a Salman Rushdie or a Suketu Mehta who can romanticise its evils in style.

      A small example to make my point: Kamal Hassan with more National Awards than any actor, Mohanlal for all his class and Oscarians AR Rahman & Resul Pookutty are all South Indians. Rajnikanth and Chiranjeevi who can literally dictate the way life functions in their regions hail from the South – something that only hoodlums from the Thackeray clan can manage in Mumbai. Yet, the average American movie buff has heard about Shah Rukh Khan, Karan Johar and other useless wimps more often than he’s heard these names.

      To reiterate: Chennai may not be a great tourist hangout spot, but it is in NO WAY inferior to Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta. LP and other publications will do well to remain unbiased in rating cities instead of playing to the galleries.

      1. @Nitin: Agree like totally. 🙂

        @Krish: Madras nalla Madras is namma Madras. Feck LP and all these Amits (these loonies might have been dropped on their heads one too many times as bachchas) 😀

      2. so send sivaji-THE boss for oscars… if u think the whole of america is waiting impatiently to see wat rajini or chiru are up with next.
        again, its a point of view… to a lot of ppl Shahrukh Khan is a good actor and Karan Johar makes good movies ( i personally like Kuch kuch hota hai and Kal ho na ho, even dostana and wake up sid are not bad at all… and kabhi khushi kabhi gham epitomised bollywood and I’m sure every Tamilian wud swear by rajinikanth that all these movies suck)… maybe not everyone is India wants to see “not good looking by general standard”/ obese actors beating up 100000 goons and mouthing cheesy dialogues…. maybe fat girls doing ultra vulgar steps is not really wat most amit_123s like (I know u guyz will come up with 100 different things about bollywood tht u guyz hate… but of course ur tastes are dictated by the kind of movies u grew up on… and maybe Kamal Hassan’s Abhay, Dasavatharam and Mumbai express fit ur definitions of good cinema… To each his own. ) PEACE

        1. Karan Johar & good movies, like in the same sentence? Entertainment yes, but good? ROFL. Shows to prove…you can’t be more Amit-er. 😛

        2. Shiraaz: You kind of missed the point I was making there. My bad: I should not have aired my true opinion of Bollywood on this comment – that is for another place and another comment thread 🙂

          Clarification: Read my post again: it spoke about the POWER of people like Rajnikanth and Chiranjeevi – and not their acting abilities. I am not even going to try explaining Rajnikanth’s abilities as an actor (Watch Thalapathi if you want to experience it) coz his awesomeness as a showman quite easily compensates for it, albeit for a limited population thats grown up loving him. I guess there is no doubt over the abilities of AR Rahman.

          Which leaves me with the defence of Kamal Hassan. No – Abhay is not my idea of a good movie, in fact none of Kamal Hassan’s hindi movies are. I sympathise with the world in general that Kamal Hassan was born in Tamil Nadu and hence his brilliance can be truly experienced only by a very limited set of people – those who know Tamil. Judging him by his Hindi movies (or even Mani Ratnam for that matter) is a pretty ridiculous exercise. Despite the language and culture barrier, Kamal Hassan made his mark in Bollywood and returned to the South since he found Bombay unprofessional. This comment section is not big enough for me to touch upon everything the man has accomplished over 50 years, and I am not going to try. In any case: Anbe Sivam, Michael Madana Kamarajan, Pushpak, Moondram Pirai, Nayagan – go figure.

          Getting back to the point I really was making – Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar may be just as good as Kamal Hassan and Mani Ratnam (allow me to ROFL for a while here – ah, done, thanks!), but they seem to boast about their talents a lot more than the latter pair. And I believe the disproportionate popularity of the former duo is largely down to louder trumpeting than more talent. I rest my case.

  118. @Dilip: I apologise for misspelling your name.
    I never said Chennai gets zero tourists. I just said it does not feature high on the tourist circuit by itself, and is more of a convenient transit point. It is quite likely that the water-bottle carrying tourists you happen to spot are just passing time till their flight to Kerala or some other southern tourist destination. (Of course, you can pick on this point)
    Given an indefinite amount of time and patience, one can find some form of beauty anywhere. But given a time constraint, there are places which create better first impressions, and make for better memories.
    My work gives me the opportunity to interact with international visitors, and not many have anything particularly great to say about this place, though they do rave about many places in India. Of course, I wont generalise wildly based on my small sample set. But its still something to take note of.
    I still stand by my comment that temples in Chennai, though unique and great, are more of neighborhood attractions you might want to check out if you come to Chennai for some other reason, and not necessarily must-see destinations in themselves.
    Its an altogether different thing whether we have to pander to outsiders at all. But LP is after all written by outsiders for outsiders. And their perspective is of highest priority in this regard.
    We may agree to disagree.

    1. @Bratt: I don’t agree with Kapaleeshwarar Temple or Parthasarathy Temple or Kalkshethra to be a Local Attraction. I think we have said all the things we can say to each other and there is no more to disagree and agree.

      My only problem is representation of a place negatively without research. “No History” on chennai is bullshit’ism. The two temples i mentioned themselves speak mountains of Chennai’s history. Bangalore has little like chennai. All that it has can be washed off as “Local Attractions” too but it gets better love from LP, fortunately.

      I have to quote krish “when i read of mumbai i wanna go there, but madras wants you to otherwise”. That’s my problem. The foundation of that article, the attitude with which it is presented is flawed. However accurate their words maybe, the intent with which its written is malicious and not a constructive criticism/review of a place in an objective manner.

  119. @Dilip: I am saying that the Parthasarathy temple and Kapaleeswara temple are of monumental significance to us as Hindus, and not of any special significance to foreigners, who can find more impressive architecture elsewhere. No point arguing on this any further.
    I do agree that the article in general has a largely cynical and negative tone to it, which should have been avoided. Chennai does deserve better than that. But one cannot expect anything too flattering at the same time. Chennai is not really a love-at-first-sight kind-of place.

  120. i found this on amit’s twitter page

    “South Indians dont know how to make sweets only. Somebody gave me sumthing called murukku today and it was totally salty yaar. “

  121. “How about we Biharize or Jharkandize that paragraph like this?”
    Are you any different from the people from Lonely Planet. They looked down upon your city, and you tried to whip people from these two states. Huhh.

    So much for glib words.

  122. > Chennai is HOT
    – Arizona too is Hot, Amit can tolerate Arizona with a B1 Visa for sometime, but not Chennai
    > Chennai people are conservative
    – Its Half full or half empty – Chennai is cautiously progressive ! We dont welcome anything without a reason and then send Pink Chaddis !
    > Tough to Go around
    – boasts the best transportation per Forbes
    > Not much of places to visit
    – ask my north indian friend who has explored more than any Thamizhan would have ever. How amazing is it to watch sunrise from Broken Bridge in B’Nagar !

    And last, Its got Excellent “plane” Connectivity? LOL … he needs some Englis !! Probably Goundamani can help him !

  123. Really nice of you man. straight from the heart. These people have some innate hatred toawrds chennai and tamils. Seriously, its the only city with its roots in place. You go to bengaluru and you’ll see “Vetti scenes” listening to rock and hip-hop and speaking “peter english”. Not that i’m against all that. But if thats a culture to be accepted, then, ours should also be rightfully. But theres no point arguing with such cheap f*ckholes who are determined to screw chennais reputation. You can challenge any bloody person in this world not to shake or move his body to our “dappankuthu” tunes.

  124. I think you have put in too much effort and wit into debunking Lonely Planet’s disinterest in Chennai. Your post is much better written than what they have been able to put up. That said, I’d like to throw down my two cents (ok, what does that translate to in rupees?) as a foreigner who lived and wrote about Chennai for a little more than three years. The reason that LP gave such a lackluster review to Chennai is that, simply, it is a terrible place for a tourist to visit. Seeing all of the worthwhile sites takes a maximum of a day, the restaurants pall in comparison to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata, and it is fairly difficult to navigate. Most LP readers will come to Chennai, spent a single night in Tripplicane and then head to the beaches at Mamalapuram.

    The scene is only slightly better for someone staying there long term. While Chennaiites are much more laid back than people in the North, I found that it was a lot harder to meet people in Tamil Nadu than elsewhere. Socializing in Chennai tends to be focused around the family and a few long-term friends. While people are definitely friendly, it is hard to get closer than an acquaintance.

    While I had a great time while I was there, if I ever move back to India, I do not think that Chennai will be on the top of my list.

    But that’s just my two cents.


    1. Honoured to have the Scott Carney comment here. That said, if you did manage to cover all spots worth seeing in a day, then your guide cheated you 🙂 Next around, give me a buzz (or tweet) and I’ll take you to restaurants and places that will make it worth a visit 🙂

      1. hmm… slightly over the top and far too defensive, don’t you think? maybe we should just celebrate what chennai is best at – a long term forever-ness, a cultural rooted-ness, that a mumbai or a bangalore will never get! but that is probably not what the average lonely planet customer is looking for…so big deal, really. you (and the majority of the people who have commented) sound whiny and petulant… not worthy of a self-confident chennaiite.

    2. ok, let us assume bangalore, hyderabad, delhi and bombay are more touristy places. i think a lot of chennaites will not bother refuting this statement. but you know something is amiss when cities like ahmedabad, pune, kolkata etc.. get a far better review than chennai.. what we are claiming is not that chennai is this awesome must-visit place, but that what was described in the original article portrayed a deliberately inaccurate picture.. maybe, now that you are reading the toned down article, you don’t get what this post was all about..

  125. Ashok! Did you notice the new entry for Chennai. Maybe thanks to your post, but it has been updated on October 19, 2009. Check out the new version!

  126. Oops!! I didn’t notice the update on top! (Asadu vazhinjifying). But, now, there is absolutely NO information worth its salt on that entry!! What ya???? Will LP never learn?

  127. Most of you have got it wrong here. Lonely Planet have built a reputation for themselves over the years as _the_ site tourists turn to for advice by telling them which places are worth visiting and which ones they’re better off avoiding. Which category they put city X or Y in is totally their prerogative, because what is at stake is their reputation as a reliable site for tourists. They lose if they trash a good place as much as they lose when they recommend a bad one. The stakeholders are potential tourists who’ll pay and visit Chennai and Lonely Planet themselves who’ll be judged by them. Not the “hurt” populace of Chennai.

    You have all the right in the world to like/dislike/hate/tear apart their review but starting a petition asking them to “correct” it is like asking Roger Ebert to tone down his critique of a movie because some people didn’t find it objective enough. Its just not done.

  128. Wow!…People take offense to an obscure website’s obscure note on a city. India will not go anywhere! North Indian – South India, Amit -Anna, Rice – Wheat! Wow! How still juvenille and frankly retarded! How about something substantial and useful! I challenge you to write up something to rally the same kind of response on this writeup.

  129. After reading through the articles and the ‘comments’ especially the comments, i do agree with what u wrote. May Lonely Planet should hire people like you who can do justice to their respective cities on a website which is being viewed by the world! I am from Mumbai, and well good one on the city ;)!

  130. I think, to understand Chennai and to appreciate it, one needs to know Tamil. It is the language that connects people to the city. Once the Amit’s start attempting to understanding and speaking Tamil, they would understand what bliss in a city life is.

    Secondly, we do not want our beloved beaches in the city to become like the ones in Goa. So, it would do more justice to the city if the kind of foreigners who are big time in to ‘rave’ parties, bikini fashions etc. kindly stay out of the city.

    Thirdly, Chennai has the best sambar, vattha kolumbu, rasam, moru, kootu, poriyal and of course, rice in the whole world. Chennai also makes the best puliyodharai, lemon rice, tomato rice, masal vadai, upma, masala dosa, idly, pongal, thayir sadam etc in the whole world. So, if you are expecting dal-makhni-aloooo-parata-sabji, you might get that too, but of course it may not be the best in the world! It doesn’t have to, because we have so many other good things to eat – which are more healthier too.

    Mumbai has Pune, Bangalore has Mysore, Hyderabad – Secundarabad, Delhi-Gurgoan-Noida but Chennai cannot have a twin city/satellites because no other city can replicate the wonder that is Chennai, or even come close. To all Amit’s: Don’t ever expect Chennai to submit meekly like how Bangalore or Hyderabad did.

    Destination Infinity

    1. Chennai has Coimbatore pa.
      and no it’s not a small town anymore.

      Must I elaborate on engaa oooru’s awesomeness as well ?

      BUT well-written Krish! Love your blog 🙂
      *raises kaapi in toast* 😀

  131. Hi Krish

    I just read your column in IE, and was disappointed…falling standards I say and all that…(maybe you should stop writing that column by the way.) (Your blog in infinitely better, no comparison actually.)

    But I came here…and I’ve been laughing non-stop for half an hour. You and your honourable commenters have had me ROTFL.

    I didnt know about the LP controversy…I wonder whether thats what prompted the lament in Madras Musings.

    But you know I’ve been thinking, maybe the LP Amit is actually a double-agent. Maybe he wants to keep the city from being overrun by “unwanted elements”?!

    Shhh… I dont mind, the less whiners and whingers we have around the better!

  132. Well, the_amit follows one person on Twitter (Ms. Sherawat, may her tribe increase) and seems to truly hate Madras (based on his every Tweet).

    LP basically needs to scrap his piece and get a connoisseur to write one… Maami would be purrrrfect!

  133. Superrrr machi! Thanks for writing it with such clarity. I used to be a great fan of Lonely Planet guides – no more! Actually I think it is time that some Indian started to write exhaustive guides – then we dont have to put up with LP and its racist comments.

  134. Was a fitting reply. I liked the part ,you dissuade people from nitpicking on flip side of cities. I am currently in London and even such a splendid city has its fair share of downsides.

    Whats appalling here is that some of us machis got offened by some “aggarwals” monochromatic view. The spectrum is quite something with any city , if don”t like the Blue ,enjoy the arrangement of the Green and the yellow.

    I am not sure if i should really jump the wagon and fervently defend my city. How does one deal with an insular mind? Ignore? Nope. Educate , worth a try.

    General speak , i think its a bit weird to feel ” proud” about something i played no part in creating . Grateful , absolutely .I am extremely grateful that Chennai had given me decent education , taught me religious tolerance and blessed me with reasonable individual liberty .
    Chest thumping ,rallying around city jingoism and MY CITY BETTER THAN YOURS is just not clever. Its no different than mindless nationalism , many ways to divide ourself and this is certainly one of them.

    Should i feel proud about cosmopolitan look that certain parts of Mumbai has ? Should i be glad that Chennai has maintained her cultural charm despite globalization ? i love Shewag and Gambhir , should i be happy about Delhi?

    I couldn’t help but smile when someone mentioned about autumn @ boston. Well , India is a tropical country and Chennai happens to be between the tropic and equator .I would be thrilled if some place with similar geographics as Chennai has Bostonian fall . First rule of comparison – Never compare apples with oranges , compare apples with apples.

    Abrupt end to it , Johnny wants me to take a longer walk ..not sure when he intends to get back. Hic!

  135. I am supposedly a northy (Seth 😉 ), born and brought up in chennai…So i have experienced the cultures of both the regions. I agree with Ashok’s fitting reply to who ever wrote the article. But this reminds me of one of Russell peters jokes abt Indians and differences that we indians have between regions and how we complain abt other countries being racist.

    My take on Chennai. Chennai certainly has some of the issues pointed out by many. But most of these issues are something that might concern a person living here for a shorter-term. Mostly to do with night life, entertainment industry by comparison etc But when you look at aspects such as safety, general attitude of the people, education, probably traffic, cultural influence…any one settled here would understand how under valued chennai is!!

  136. Why bother when some arbitrary guy writes about Chennai?
    The city would speak for itself:-
    – People come here to learn Bharatanatyam (Kalakshetra), Carnatic music(Music school)
    – I do think Chennai is an affordable ‘Medical tourist’ destination.
    – Margazhi Maasam (Dec-Jan Festivities) – beat that!
    – Vibrant & profound Spiritual flavour which I don’t think the other metros possess.
    – Mylapore, Triplicane have witnessed many many centuries. (I am told that Thiruvalluvar was born here)
    – I know the powercuts are a lot less frequent than the place I stay currently (capital of AP).

    It is a good idea to retain the regional flavour. Aren’t the French, Italian intensely protective and nurturing of their culture?

    I have personally been to AP, Kerala and Karnataka. Picked up Malayalam & I can speak fluently in Telugu (BTech + 1 year of work). None of classmates north of the Vindhyas tried to learn Telugu. I tried and I was enthusiatically taught by the Gults. I can speak, write, read and sing [:-)] Hindi even better than my telugu.

    If somebody is in Chennai doing his BTech/BE/Some-studies, at least by the end of his studies he should be conversant with the auto-kaaran, kai-kanni-kaarar and paal-kaaran.

    They should just look at the Marwardi community in Chennai and learn from them. Always the quickest to adapt.

  137. I am a benign but nevertheless an ardent reader of KA. The only sad part for me is that these amit_123s are not educable, their skulls are filled with solid lead. If they were any bit educable, they would not be amits in the first place.

  138. I am not really sure if we should care too much about others looking at Madras with dark glasses on. The more people from outside like a city, the more it becomes a Bangalore or Bombay. Becoming a cosmopolitan city is definitely not a proud achievement for a city in the sense that it loses it own identity and sheen in the process. If everyone is going to love Madras and start settling down there like what has happened in Bangalore, filter kaapi, Mr Kabali, Madisaaru and Maargazhi might all become things of folklore. So I personally believe that god has been especially kind with us in giving us a weather, language and culture that only we can relish. I still fondly remember playing cricket at 12 noon all through summer holidays when at school and definitely not getting a sun stroke … 🙂

  139. […]other nice source on this topicis ,,[…]

  140. After reading this post for the 100th time since its publication, I just discovered something amusing (amusing for many reasons):
    The wikipedia pages for Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Kochi are featured articles with a star at the right-hand top corner.
    The same for Mumbai and New Delhi are not.

  141. @’All Anti-Chennai Complaining Junta’

    You need to really open up and see only the positives about anything if you need happiness.. I am a hard-core Chennaiite and I will not think about living elsewhere in India.. That doesn’t mean I hate other cities although I too am capable of pointing out the negatives in each of ’em.. I live here because this is a comfort zone for me.. Sometimes when you are not in your comfort zone, you tend to lament a lot and it reflects as hate and intolerance to unrelated parameters… just like the anti-Chennai writings by some of the users in this thread are really baseless and judgmental without any real content.. Chennai is more ‘Indian’ than any other Metro in our Country and it is a humble peaceful city that welcomes anybody with arms wide open.. Not the ones who want us to somehow speak Hindi.. Its a language we never had in our education system as something mandatory and that is why we do not know or find any use for it here.. Now we cant go back and change the past.. Can we ?? and by the way.. Tamil is a fully powered, beautiful and easy-to-use Language and this is no forum to elaborate on that !!

    The point is.. India is too diverse for facilitating any comparison between cities that belong to different states.. We are like 25 different countries bound by a single name “India”. I know that sounds really cliched.. So does the anti-Chennai stuff.. As Krish says.. It is really easy to be critical about anything under the sun even when you are under a different Sun… !!

    Just remember this.. (its a colloquial saying in Tamil)

    “Boomadevi vaaya pozhandha yellaarum Mannukulla poga vendiyadhudhaan” !

    In English now,

    “If Lady Earth opens her mouth, all of us have to be under the sand”

    So lets stop all the complaining and learn to love every place for what it is best known for ! If you do not have that info.. go around, mingle and figure it out..

  142. @Bachaa, “Sema Comedy Boss neenga”, Stop being pessimistic about the Place that has given you Education, Job and Life….I love every city for its own Culture and ppl.That is what india is Known for “Diversity and Equality”.Learn to respect other Cultures and Pls Grow up 🙂 and if u dont like this place why the hell did u Come here?U could have joined in any other Place(where ppl speak hindi).So Cheap of u to talk bad of ppl and Place that has Given u Educatation and Life, Bachhas, Grow Up! 🙂
    Vanthaarai vazha vaikum boomi idhu!

  143. Did i just spend more than an hour reading the post,relevant links and the comments here.And the unearthly time aint helping me feel good about it either.

    But, couldnt stop writing since i belong to the so called N.Indian in Chennai.Been here for 6 years and counting.I would be more than happy to run away from the place but that being said, the place has been super nice to me.Studied here, working here and enjoying here:-)
    Langauage and Food can be major issues for an outsider but then it takes a little time to adjust.So much so, that i am ready to wait half an hour outside the Besant Nagar Murugan Idli to feast on them melt in the mouth idllis .

    Started following your blog late but I am hooked. Your sense of humour needs no mention but it is your thoughts and POV on topics like these which sets you apart for me.Even the PhirMileSur piece was amazing.Hilarious and Hard hitting at the same time.

  144. Ayyo Raama! Everyone go home, eat thayir saadham and sleep. What is this never ending discussion? Lousy Amit-like LP post –> Krish rips apart on blog –> some think it is #win, others not, because everyone has points of view. Seri. Khatam. Now why this rehash and rerehash and etcetera? Everyone has run out of new points and it has become like my Veda paatti nool-noothufying. Please allow me to direct you all to other epic Krish Ashok posts where you can sit down with filter kaapi in a dabara and phir se begin discussing. Here’s a very #goodshit post that for some reason has less comments than I think it should:

  145. Well, I dont see why Madras has to be the best. After all, we dont have exciting bomb blasts, excepting hapless cylinders, nor do we have headline grabbing Majority Religion suppressing Minority Religion riots, I can be disappointing sure that I will not be physically molesting when I am returning after 11pm in an MTC Bus, in fact I can be sure that I will be fleeced by an overenthusiastic auto driver, nothing more. The malls that are mushrooming keep out ‘riff raff’ (read not economically viable) while shmucks like me walk in and shell out Rs 100 for a plate of idli sambar. :-P. Then again, I am disappointed that women like me or girls dont walk around half nude, if I tried that I’d be so tanned my dog would mistake me for chicken tikka. Neither do 70% of the female population wear make-up a)becoz of the humidity b) coz we are Not Like That.

    I am glad Chennai has been rated 9th worst city coz my city will remain peaceful safe and calm and whole lot less polluted (for a few more years) than the cities LP recommends!

    . I can go out with my perfectly vegetarian friends for a great vegetarian meal, while they can still find something green to munch at while I’m stuffing my face with meat.

  146. I have my two cents about the Geographically challenged amits on my blog. Those who thought my mother tongue was Tulu “Because Aishwaria Rai is a South Indian and her mother tongue is Tulu”.
    But let me tell you, I hated Chennai when I stepped into it from the cocoon of Ooty. But now, sitting in the hell hole Noida, Chennai is that elusive mirage where salvation lies for me. But then I also work among the amits ( Real Amits) whose greatest achievement in life has been to “escape” from Chennai.

  147. A very long and interesting thread. I don’t mean to intrude here but I thought I might be able to add a foreigner’s perspective .

    I came to Chennai about 8 months ago with some trepidation because of what I had read in the Lonely Planet. I have been living and working in various cities around the world for the last fifteen years with my job. I wanted to come to India but wasn’t sure about how I would cope with life in Chennai.

    I am very pleased to say that my experience here has been an extremely positive one. The most important factor has been the people. I didn’t appreciate the lack of hassle in Chennai until I visited other cities in India. After Delhi I was desperate to get back. Here in Chennai I have a great landlord and very friendly neighbours but most importantly people on the street just leave me alone (unless I ask for help and then they can’t do enough for me).

    Chennai’s charms are not obvious. At first it can seem unbelievably chaotic and difficult to negotiate but if you take a relaxed approach and spend time on Chennai it rewards you for the effort.

    It’s true that it certainly isn’t a party city but then equally it feels very safe. I have become increasingly weary of disgusting drunken lewd behaviour in England and am happy to be away from all that.

    Chennai feels like a city on the move. There are a lot of new buildings going up and projects to improve the place.

    So how would I rate Chennai as a city to live in? It’s difficult to say but I do know that I feel happy here and that what is written in the Lonely Planet doesn’t describe my experience in the city.

    I know that I am going to look back on my time here with fondness and if ever I meet anyone from the Lonely Planet I will feel the need to take them to task about their comments (along with many other of their dodgy recommendations).

  148. An interesting thread!

    It really shows the prevalent prejudices and misconceptions in modern day India. Being a Punjabi, who worked in Bangalore, i can very well relate to this discussion.

    I also feel sad about the gross ignorance of most Indians who usually are shocked to know that Hindi is not the national language but just an official language of India. Recently it took me 30 mins and bit of googling to prove to a Maharashtrian friend the same fact. I feel there is some major missing link in the whole school education which makes majority of us oblivious of this fact.

    That said, if i claim that i had much idea about South Indian languages before coming to Bangalore then i would be just boasting about my GK. My first tryst with Dravidian languages was through my various team-mates (yeap in an IT company, which i have long left) which intrigued me to dig deeper. I was pleasantly surprised to know that Tamil is one of the ancient language and during my stay Kannada also got the classical language status. Such a rich history and i was totally ignorant.

    Then as they say, best way to know a language is through its music, i downloaded some famous Tamil songs on my i-pod which i really liked and they slowly grew on me. I found them quite similar to hip-punjabi dance numbers. I remember the days when i used to listen to Appdi Podu like a maniac.

    But then it brings me to the question which so many times creep into my mind that despite despite such a rich history why is there no awareness about it in most parts of the country?

    Recently in some obscure page of The Hindu i read that Harrapan language may be related to ancient Tamil. Isn’t it a big enough news to be in mainstream media? Apart from The Hindu i don’t think any other newspaper covered that.

    There are many such examples. Is this because you guys are not doing your bit to publicize and create awareness about your rich culture? Though i have quite a few Tamilian friends with whom i used to hang-out with even after office hours, nobody ever tried to introduce me to the their music, food etc. It was only when i inquired i got the responses albeit the encouraging ones.

    As far as Chennai is concerned, i haven’t been there, so i don’t think i am eligible to comment on it. But even Chennaites in Bangalore have nasty views about the city’s weather and conservatism. I guess it only proves that no city can be perfect and if you love the despite all the flaws, you are a true dweller.

    Regarding every south-Indian being called Madrasi in North, i guess it may stem from the fact that Madras Presidency was the largest south-Indian state during British rule covering parts of all 4 modern day Southern states. I really don’t understand why that should be offensive? (Given the tone is not offensive). No gujju, punjabi or even a mallu feels bad when called that.

    Do you guys really think that calling every North-Indian Amit would serve any purpose? Or would any Northie or Amit cares? It shows a sadist attitude on your part which i think you should refrain from.
    Ashok: Spot on 🙂 “Amit” is simply yet another stereotype in the long list of stereotypes us taxonomy crazy Indians like to invent. It is a mild caricature of that extreme kind of uninformed North Indian, Hindi-chauvinist, fair-skin-obsessed, women-unfriendly attitude that doesn’t really describe someone like you. You sound like a nice regular chap, so no stereotypes apply. I originally wrote this post after being annoyed by the LP editors misinformed tripe about Chennai, and the “Amit” term, which is something my friend concocted in jest, became slightly popular. Nothing too serious about it. I know there have been several commenters here who’ve taken things a little too seriously, but not me.

    As for Madrasi, while the origin might be the Madras presidency, the typical connotation is usually a balding, obese, ash-smeared, bad-Hindi-speaking chap who looks suspiciously like Mehmood from Padosan, so it’s a caricature too, not offensive, as you say and I agree, but a caricature nonetheless. I think “Amit” is very similar. Both Madrasi and Amit represent similar kind of extremes, neither particularly realistically describing any particular individual

  149. Wonderful article on Madras. Though being a tamilian, I have never stayed in Madras but keep visiting Madras and have fallen in love with this city.

  150. this comment has been 2 years in the making…i have read this post many times and i still dont realize how bashing another city helps rectify an unfortunate review…as far as i am concerned, a city is like one’s daughter…no matter how ugly, you’d believe she was the prettiest thing in the world…

    brilliantly summarized at

    ps: i am single and don’t actually have any daughters 😀

  151. Oh look at me! I’m a barbarian uncivilized, chicken-munching, beer-guzzling Amit from a hellhole called Delhi! I have little or no education, I beat up my women, I hack Sikhs to death and yet I blame my Racially Superior Overlords the Tamils for having a ‘boring culture’. Tee-hee!

    Bloody Northy chimps. We should have seceded from these turds when we had the chance. Now we’re stuck with 500 million of these ba****ds in the same country. A country which, I may mention, they took by force from our infinitely more civilized culture in the Indus Valley.

    Death to these Northy c***s. I wouldn’t go to Delhi or Mumbai to take a s**t.

  152. I am pakka bangalorean, born and bred and lived there for more than 30 yrs of my 50 yrs age. I have made Chennai my home by choice from last five 6 years.( ( kannada speaking too, many ppl simply dont venture in to Chennai just for this reason, y know, tamil v/s kan, cauvery and all that!!)
    I love Chennai the way it is and as much as I hated Bangalore the way it is now. Chennai is more traditional a good mix of humanity, good food (all the MNC brands are available), lovely ancient temples, by far the biggest and cleaner beaches..Weather is afactor compared to Bangalore?, Yes, so what, weather does not define Life itself!
    Except weather, everything in namma bangalore has turned to be worse over years, Loss of greenery, congested roads, harrowing traffic and even garbage collection, of late..
    Chennai is unnecessarily maligned by neighboring states and people for no genuine reason. People who made such a mistake in building Brand Bangalore are now repenting its present state which boasts of only hollow young people , spoilt by unhealthy western habits like pubbing and premarital sex, moral degradation, climbing suicide rates and even becoming a terrorist hubs such titles are competing with its erstwhile title of Garden city, IT Hub and pensioners paradise…
    Chennai is OK …why, More than OK and in fact fine and alive..Let it be!
    Chennaikku oru whistle podunga!
    ( Chennai ge ondu whistle hodeyiri!)

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