Find out how our anonymous writer compares the three cities on different criteria and comes up with conclusion most of us will agree with.
1. Chennai is like your wife, you might love it, but it has to love you back – Chennai as a palimpsest of cultures, art, heritage and civilization takes time to love. Hyderabad and Bangalore are instant loves, you loved the city, it loves you, grows on you and accepts you. Chennai takes time; Chennai is like the filter coffee, it takes time for the hot water to juxtapose the coffee beans, even more the time to boil the milk, mix the concoction and drink. Once Chennai starts loving you, you take a deep interest in it. Chennai has to be understood, it has to be read, it has to be seen.
2. Chennai basks in Anonymity – Chennai, for me, as a city had this anonymity, I could just anywhere – be it temples, museums, snake parks, literary fests, hotels, concerts – and the city would let me enjoy my company. In Hyderabad, it was very difficult to bask in anonymity since it needs company. I would cherish the countless hours in the Irani Cafe, lazing around with friends, taking about the universe, existence and everything under the sun and even over it. The same is true for Bangalore, at Koshy’s, at pubs at MG road (although, I don’t know, how my experiences would have shaped, if I had company in Chennai).
3) Art as a moniker for fun – An aspect Chennai taught me was to delve in art forms, for instance, when I was in Hyderabad or Bangalore, I would never pay for art. Chennai instilled this concept of paying for art; so, whenever I go to a Ravindra Bharathi or a Ranga Shankara now, I readily pay for it. Art in Chennai has worked as a personal catharsis for me. At Hyderabad, you had a performance, concert or theatre a week, whereas in Chennai, you had close to 50 to 75 entertainment options in which you could submerge yourself. Chennai though has to be appreciated for a more intelligent audience.
4) Pubs and Mabbs – I have enjoyed drunken revelries in all the three cities. But none compare to the SMEs of Hyderabad (small pubs which we loving called SMEs considering the prices) as a 60 ml of rum did cost us Rs. 38. Nevertheless, the TASMAC experiences in Chennai were fun, I bring back stories, conversations and random quirks with strangers
5) Fanaticism as a metaphor for ‘I’m the best’ – I had strange experiences in Chennai for its fanaticism, for instance, I never faced any problem with Hyderabad and Bangalore when it came to voicing my opinion. I could not voice out views, where Chennai was costlier than Hyderabad or Bangalore (they’d retort immediately, Chennai is a better city). I could not support Australia when Australia and West Indies were playing, because a majority of the locals in that bar, hated Australia. I also had issues, when conversing on politics, where fanaticism takes an entire new pedigree. Try this quick test – Go tell a Chennai fanatic that you support Mumbai Indians or DC over CSK. This is just one of those days.
6) Structure and Transportation- What makes Hyderabad, a lovely, city is the structure. The city is small, beautiful, takes a hub-spoke model, however 15 km radius is the city for most of us. Bangalore also has a small structure, a beautiful city, the traffic jams makes the city look big (Here, i’d want a disclaimer, I have never stayed beyond the city limits, my thoughts might not reflect this point, in its entirety). Chennai, I felt was huge, it was a city, that needed time to move from one point to another. I loved the public transportation in Chennai, which I personally feel, Hyderabad and Bangalore lack.
7) Cosmopolitan and friendliness – I found Hyderabad to be much more friendly and cosmopolitan than Bangalore and Chennai. In Hyderabad, it does not matter, Muslim, Telugu, Gujarati, Tamilian, Marwari, you become a Hyderabadi. This though is not the case with either Bangalore or Chennai. Hyderabad has this grand identity since inception, Bangalore got cosmopolitan mostly due to the influx of the IT crowd. I haven’t figured this out in Chennai, as being a Tamilian; it was easy for me to gel with folks.
8) Food – I have a confession, as much as I love the Hyderabadi Biryani’s, Pragati Dosas, Govind Dosas, Dhabas, steady influx of North Indian food, Shawarmas, I also started loving Chennai food, especially the sweets. An interesting aspect in Chennai is the democratization of food. For instance, I can get a Madurai Idly, Kanchipural Idli, Chettinad cuisine whereas in Hyderabad I haven’t noticed Guntur and Amalapuram cuisines. My food experiences in Bangalore were relegated to Darshini’s only.
9) Weather – Sorry, I had to do this :p
- Sparrow survey puts Chennai, Bangalore at the bottom (thehindu.com)