Nightmare at Chennai

While filling my options for places to intern at, I had decided it had to be Chennai or Bangalore. I would have then preferred Chennai, because I’ve heard tales about Bangalore traffic. Chennai was supposed to be much tamer. The past few weeks I’ve spent here have completely put me off.

  • Language problem. Possibly less than one percent of the city knows english and much less than that knows hindi. Such a thing has happened because of the government’s attitude towards all languages not tamil. I find it communicating absolutely impossible. My sparse knowledge of Tamil is helping a little bit, but not much.
    Some people actually seem to despise people who speak in anything else other than Tamil. Just yesterday, while traveling on the bus, a middle aged guy just starts talking angrily in Tamil to me. I of course was dumb founded and responded first in Telugu, then English and finally Hindi. Absolutely no avail. I just kept staring at him, while he kept looking around to other passengers and kept repeating the words ‘ English’ and ‘Hindi’. I had no damn clue. To my rescue comes this lady, who tells me in broken English, that I had stamped his feet and then he was telling others how I was showing off by speaking in English and Hindi. And not even signs are written in English. Very few signboards have English on them.
  • Transportation Problem. The bus journeys every morning are the scariest parts of my day. The bus gets absolutely packed. I’ve almost never sat in a bus. Always stood sandwiched between two smelly and sweaty people. It is absolutely impossible to have a single moment of comfort in Chennai buses. And to imagine I spend a whole hour everyday in them. I just wonder, why on earth can’t they increase frequencies of buses? There was this one time when I just couldn’t get down at my stop, because i couldn’t manage to cross the one metre in the bus to reach the exit. There were some five people between me and the exit. And then there was day before yesterday, when I got a dressing down in Tamil for standing two close to a lady. I mean the bus was absolutely crowded and there was no way i could avoid standing close to the woman. Add to that, people were pushing me from behind. I still don’t know what the woman was saying, but I remember the look in the eyes on the other women in the bus. I felt like a common criminal.
  • Unscrupulous autorickshaw drivers. All the vehicles for hire are ‘ autos’ . The drivers will absolutely rip you off. They are monsters just waiting to empty your pockets. I’ve got ripped so many times. It just drives me crazy to think about it. The drivers are supposed to use calibrated meters to charge their passengers, but nobody follows the law. You will be charged atleast double the amount. I once paid 50rs, for just a distance of one minute. All because I did not know how close I was to my destination. If you look even remotely fair and rich. You can be sure nobody is going to take you for less than triple the normal fare. And if you are fair and speak a foreign language, you are completely at their mercy. Scoundrels all of them are.
  • My landlord. My landlord is hoping to eat me up. The place where I’m going to live for the next whole month has the worst landlord ever. He’s just continuously thinking up of ways to charge me for every possible thing. I get my computer, 100 rs etc. I get a friend, 100rs more. I arrive late at night, 100rs more. Firstly he’s charging us more than what was promised initially and to top it the room is the worst room possible. Only thing that stops me from focusing on the sick room is the bright light from my computer monitor.
  • I nearly got arrested.This one tops my bitch-list. A nice and sunny morning, some of us decide to attend a geek unconference called Podworks.  Perfect, joyous way to spend a Sunday. While returning, we decide to take the local train instead of the bus. We wait at the empty ticketing counter for about 15 minutes, before we hear the train coming. What the heck, one journey without ticket doesn’t matter, nobody checks anyways. Wrong, so wrong. Two of us are surprised by the ticket checker. We say, we are not paying up the 500bucks fine, cause there was nobody at the counter. He directly takes us to the police station and suggests convincing the magistrate next morning. What! Spend the night at a police station for no mistake of ours? The idealist resistance in us to fight injustice, lasted about 15minutes, before we decided sharing a cell with crooks wasn’t really what we are looking for. So we pay up 😦 .

I truly hate Chennai. I’m just waiting to get out of this place.

Now playing: Red Hot Chili Peppers – [Greatest Hits CD1 #06] Otherside [foobar2000 v0.9.4]
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