Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bangalore or Chennai. The argument continues.

Chicken or egg?

Coffee or toffee?

Bangalore or Chennai?

Ever since I've come to Chennai, a little less than 2 years ago, I've seen this topic discussed in various places. Blogs, coffee shops, offices. Everyone is trying immeasurably hard to give Chennai the advantage of his/her voice.
My friend Chandrachoodan Gopalakrishnan is the most recent.

Yet in 32 years in Bangalore, I've never encountered a debate on this topic. Chennai just doesn't exist on the Bangalore horizon. It is not even acknowledged as competition. In fact as far as Bangalore is concerned, there is no argument. This tells me that the feeling of not being up there, exists in the minds of Chennaiites more than anybody else. What it still doesn't explain is why the weekend trains are full of young Chennaiites going to Bangalore for a break. And not the other way around. So in defence of Bangalore, I'll say it has more to offer young people than Chennai.

I've lived in Bangalore for 32 years and now in Chennai for the last year and a half. While I love the change and everything that’s uniquely Chennai, there are things I distinctly dislike as well.

I love the love and respect Chennai has for everything to do with art – music, dance, theatre etc. I love the food – 5 chutneys with 2 idlis, a million varieties of mixed rice and so on. I love the beach. I love the old architecture. I love the movies. I love the love for the mother tongue.

But…

I hate the conservatism that's thrust upon the southern metro by self-appointed guardians of moral standards. It shows in the way people are forced to dress, in the way entertainment is viewed, in the way tenants are accepted or rejected based on caste and eating habits, in the chauvinistic ways of some educational institutions (boys and girls are prohibited from interacting, even made to use separate staircases), in the moral policing that happens on the beach and in the double standards that allows men to bare their penises and pee in public.

Sigh.

The moral of the story? Forget Bangalore. Stop trying to prove Chennai’s credentials with comparisons. Stop acknowledging Bangalore as competition. As the harder you try, the harder it’s going to get to compete.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Men pee on the road with gay abandon (I won't tire of bringing this up).

Bangalore men don't pee on the road?

Eve-teasing continues to be a popular sport.

Nothig of this sort happens in Bangalore?

I have never been to Bangalore. These are just rhetorical questions.

Manoj Jacob said...

Peeing in public does happen in Blore. To a much lesser extent.

The reference to eve teasing was not to say that it doesn't happen in Bangalore. But only to highlight the double standards of the moral police on so called indecent behaviour.

Vishwas said...

Man.! I agree with u.!

Raghuram C S said...

Look, I think the reason is this. Historically, till about mid-nineties, Chennai was the better off one in terms of investments, et al. But then, things changed in Bangalore, changing the power balance. And with every point Bangalore scored, the hatred for it in Chennai kept going up. Sad. But then, you got to be in Chennai to understand it. Not all people. But there are a lot of such parochial people who you cannot really miss (Though you may want to). True, there are parochial people in Bangalore too. But then, they are a yell. And not a million jealous whispers.

I read the post that inspired this piece of writing. And I can understand why it inspired you. Having been a Bangalorean who stayed in Madras for six months, I have had to face Anti-Bangalore sentiments one time too many. And that too from people who, otherwise, are liberal about anything and everything including the Punjabification of women's clothing in Chennai. I mean, there are no anti-salwar kameez sentiments in Mylapore, et al, anymore!!!!!

So, it looks like hating or finding fault with Bangalore and people from Bangalore somehow is, well, panacea for some of those folks. Guess it's because, they have given up or have been forced to give up on all the Hindi-bashing that for so long defined people and politics from this rather pleasing city.

So, I think no matter what people have to say about or criticize Bangalore, face this truth. Bangalore is not just 360 km away, but also miles and miles ahead of you, well, you know the rest. ;-)

askios007 said...

Guys, you can argue all you want. If your overworked sweat glands can stand Chennai, you're welcome to it. I, for one, will stay cool and relatively unruffled in Bangalore even while I rave and rant about the peeing Bangaloreans ..