10 things that can really p@#$ off a Chennaiite
Try not to say ‘Yennada Rascala’ in a bad accent and stop asking why no one speaks Hindi. These things can make the usually mild Chennaiite more livid than a Rajinikanth bashing up the baddies.
1. Complaining about the heat
Chennaiites live in temperatures that soar well above 35 deg and are perfectly adapted to it. In any case, they have Marina Beach and the sea breeze providing welcome relief. So, asking ‘How do you people live here?’ is certain to get them hot and bothered.
2. Making fun of their ‘winter’
On the rare occasions the temperatures drop below 25 deg, Chennaiites pull out the ear muffs and the ‘monkey gulla’. Just because you come from climates where people die of hypothermia, doesn’t mean you should say, ‘You call this cold?’
3. Wondering why no one speaks Hindi
While debates about the rashtriya basha rage, Chennaiites, indeed the whole of Tamil Nadu, refuse to budge from the ‘no Hindi’ stance. English will get you places quite nicely in Chennai, so it would be futile to wonder why no one speaks Hindi.
4. Asking ‘What’s that smell?’
Chennai has its own, ahem, smell. Much of it emanates from the murky Cooum, which the city considers its river. Chennaiites have learned to live with it, so you would be advised not to make a big deal of it either. Just wear nose clips.
5. Laughing over their long names
Anandapadmanabhan, Parthasarathy Venkatchalapathy, Lakshmi Narasimha Seshadri – they may be a mouthful for you, but be wary before you ask ‘What’s with the l-o-n-g name, bro?’ In Tamil families children are named after gods, family deities, forefathers, historical characters and more. Of course, when they go to US of A, they all quickly become Andy, Sandy, Jay and Nan.
6. Insulting eating habits
Idli-vadai, pongal, dosai, big meals of rice and sambar, these are what fuel the Chennaiite and keep him happy. Curd rice holds a special place, which is why the travelling Chennaiite is always looking for a plate of thayirsadam. So, asking ‘How do you eat that stuff?’ is a serious insult.
7. Saying you don’t like Chennai food
From ‘High Class Brahmin Hotel’ to Military Messes, Appa Kadais and Murugan Idli Shop, Chennaiites believe they live in foodie heaven. Run down any of it and you stand to enrage the Chennai dweller. ‘You keep your parantha, we have our kotthu parotta,’ they’ll tell you.
8. Booing CSK
The Chennai cricket fan, everyone agrees, is an evolved creature, able to appreciate the nuances of the game. The Chepauk crowd is known also to cheer on a great shot by batsmen from visiting teams. But with Chennai Super Kings, their IPL team, things are different and passions run high. Say anything against Dhoni and you run the risk of seriously annoying the CSK fan.
9. Talking about Chennai Express
There may be SRK fans among Chennaiites but they are convinced the film titled Chennai Express was a disaster and an insult to the city. Deepika Padukone’s insufferable attempt at a Tamil accent makes it worse for most people. So, better not say what a fun film Chennai Express was and how much you enjoyed the Lungi dance.
10. Questioning Rajinikanth’s superstar status
You can crack Rajini jokes, no problem. Chennaiites enjoy them, too. But no other insult to their Thalaivar will be tolerated. Mind it!
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