Cerebral Shangrila

Friday, November 28, 2003


I have been meaning to write this post for a long time but never got enough time to sit & pen it down. Having Lived / Worked in numerous cities in India ( & probably a few in the US ) , I have always been fascinated by Cities. The hustle & bustle of the Cities and its unique characteristics make up for an interesting study & I have also noticed the possessiveness people have about their home towns. I am trying to present my opinion on the Cities where I have lived / worked . My presumption is that you need to live at least for 6 months in a city to understand and write about its Merits & Demerits. The following Cities fall under that Criteria : Madras (Chennai) , Bangalore , Hyderabad , Mumbai , Pune , Ahmedabad , Delhi since I have lived in these cities for close to or greater than six months. I will do it as a SWOT (Strengths,Weaknesses , Opportunities,Threats) Analysis.


LIKES : First things first , I still refer to Chennai as Madras , which shows how possesive I am about the City . Afterall I spent twenty years there and owe most of what I am today to Madras. The Best thing I like about Madras is the Respect & Stress on Education and a very Vibrant Intellectual / Cultural / Religious fervour. Its one of the Best Cities to Study boasting of wonderful schools & colleges and with tremendous stress on Intellectual progress. The Carnatic music season in December is one of its kind in the world and the musical experience of December could never be recreated anywhere else in the world. The people are very religious & career oriented. Of course last but not least its the Home of Idli,vada,sambhar,Dosas,filter coffee, offering excellent choice of food to satisfy the taste buds. The HINDU still remains my favourite newspaper.

DISLIKES : Climate , Poor Infrastructure (Bad roads, Water Scarcity) , Narrow Minded people bordering a bit on being too selfish , Sky High Expectations ( If you haven't studied at IIT/IIM's or If you aren't working for one of the Big Tech cos or If you are not in abroad/at least gone there then you haven't acheived much in life as per Tam-Bram lingo !!) , Political Scenario .

PLACES TO SEE : Marina Beach ( The Second largest in the World ) , Besant Nagar Beach , Valluvar Kottam , Museum , Crocodile/Snake Park , Vandalur Zoo , Mahabalipuram , Numerous Adventure parks on Old Mahabalipuram Road , Parthasarathy Temple(triplicane) , Kapaleeshwarar Temple (mylapore),32 foot Hanuman Temple (Nanganallur) , Santhome Church .

STRENGTHS : Wonderful City for Education , Hospitals (perhaps the best in India ) , Culture (Though Unique to Tamilians) , Religion . One of the vertex of the Silicon valley Triangle ( Alongwith Hyd,Blore) boasting of most of top tech cos , Also called the Detroit of India ( Ford , Hyundai , Delphi and many more lined up) emerging as the Auto Capital of India , Tremendously Organized Retail business ( Silk Sarees , Jewellery ) , High Literate population , Natural Harbour and International Airport , Excellent Public Transport ( Buses,Trains) , Reasonable cost of Living .

WEAKNESSES : Climate ( Hot almost throughout the Year . In Fact I joke saying Madras has three kinds of climate Hot,Hotter,Hottest) , Language ( Though things have changed in the last few years still viewed as Anti-Hindi State) , Poor Political Landscape ( more than three Decades of Dravidian Govt has left the State away for the mainstream Politics & also neither of the parties have done enough to foster growth or tap the potential ) , Poor Infrastructure ( Water Scarcity , Poor Roads , Drainage problems ) still haunt the city , The Chennai Autowallah continues to remain the most unreasonable person on earth.

OPPORTUNITIES : Tremedous Growth is possible in IT , ITES , Auto,Health,Retail Sectors . But Unfortunately the Govt isn't doing enough to promote the State's interests . A key City in the arena of Health Tourism boasting of World Class Hospitals like Apollo , Malar , Madras Medical Mission , Madras Medical College. Cultural Tourism should be promoted & publicized viz the December carnatic music festival ( Which already attracts a lot of Tourists from India & abroad) .

THREATS : The neighbouring CM's are very proactive & have managed to attract most of intended FDI to TN to their states (Naidu & Krishna) , Bangalore & Hyd pose a very strong Threat to Chennai providing superior Infrastructure & facility , Language ( The earlier we join the national Bandwagon the better it is for us ) , Chennai should quickly address & solve its Infrastructure problems to overcome threats from other Metros.

Watch out for more as I would be covering the other cities in the days to come.


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