Lost in translation

If you have to go to Chennai, make sure you are ready to face the language barrier. People there, strangely enough for a supposed metropolis, do not want to understand any language other than Tamil. Sucks!

The hotel I was staying at, broadcast only 2 Hindi (Doordarshan and SAB TV) and 4 English channels (BBC, Sony Pix, CNN IBN, and NDTV). And I found out that the cable service provides there had been instructed to do so by the political parties.

Of all the metros, Chennai is perhaps the most hostile to visitors. The cabbies do not use the effing meters, most junta does not speak English or Hindi, and people are not generally very helpful to anyone who speaks Hindi! The auto drivers are bloody thieves.

My over all experience was not very great and Chennai is definitely not very high on my list of places to visit. I mean Hyderabad is way ahead in hospitality. And for God’s sake learn the language of the masses, i.e., Hindi. The only place where people understood Hindi slightly was at the hospitals.

I did not go around much, but went to the Marina Beach. Dirty and hugely overcrowded, the only saving grace was the beauty. The ocean water better than that in Mumbai but the actual waterfront is way too far from the road. In Mumbai it is closer. Also, the dinner at Casa Piccola was great. The food was good and the ambience, nice. Only the music needs a lot of help and so do the waiters ability to communicate in Hindi or English. Must make it a point to go there, when ever I go there next.





2 responses to “Lost in translation”

  1. ganesh Avatar

    Long time buddy! Chanced upon your site today. I totally agree with the Chennai stuff :-)..well, almost. Hindi is the language of the masses?? You sure found out in Chennai that it is not! Verily, this presumptuousness alone explains the unfriendliness.
    TN will never speak Hindi simply because Hindi is not in the least related to its language, history or culture. Too bad visiting northerners don’t like it, atleast more people speak English in Chennai than elsewhere.

  2. Goyal Avatar

    Oy Garam!! Nice to see you on the blog. How is Toronto treating you??

    It ain’t like Hindi was accepted everywhere earlier. I would like to believe that some other language was spoken in places like Goa, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. The problem is not in not knowing Hindi, that is acceptable. What I disliked was the hostility towards anyone who spoke Hindi, and even remotely looked non-Tamilian!! Also, Tamil is not spoken all that much in Delhi either, but you still get all the South Indian channels in even the smallest of the hotels. But then, my visit was very very short and I did not go around Chennai all that much. So maybe I am wrong. But the first impression wasn’t what I had hoped for.

    When a city is considered to be a metro, it should be willing to embrace other people’s history, culture and language. Don’t forget it’s own, but don’t scare away others either.

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