Years ago when human establishments started growing, newer terms were discovered to tag these establishments. Villages, towns, cities, states, countries etc. found their way into the dictionary to classify these establishments. Over time, and undergoing the only constant thing i.e change, these establishments have been associated with a particular image of their own. For example, the image that comes into your mind when you hear Las Vegas would definitely be different from the image that you imagine when you hear Varanasi (in most cases). Whatever be the image that you have of a city, every city has many things to offer. One such city is Chennai.

And the image that Chennai has in the minds of non Southies, esp. in that of the Northies, isn’t an encouraging one. Unfortunately, relying on such perspectives, many miss out the awesomeness that Chennai houses.

Chennai is a city in the southern part of India, is the capital of Tamil Nadu, and hosts one of the largest beaches on Earth. One of the largest IT hubs in the country, a land to some of the most premier institutions, a landscape encouraging start-ups and an environment that might just be a one stop environment to make a fabulous profile for a B school aspirant, Chennai is a destination being explored and willing to be explored even further. However, these facts cannot make one love a place as long as there isn’t something for one in it. A Cri de Coeur to those who haven’t been to Chennai – Please don’t judge if you have not experienced it yourself.

So here are a few things that could make Chennai awesome.A few things from the other side of the coin…

1. Toastmasters:

There is no age to public speaking. And, toastmasters is a justification to that…

Be it carrying forward the debating you did at college, starting public speaking for the first time, adding feathers to your cap, honing your leadership skills or finding a place to network with the some of the best minds in the city – Toastmasters offers it all.

Facilitating with one of the most structured formats of learning for anyone – from a house wife to househusband, a 13 year old kid to a 103 year old single -, Toastmasters International has clubs across the globe. Yet, there are some cities that are highly energetic in context to Toastmastering – Chennai being one of them. Annually, Toastmasters hosts an International Speech Championship for toastmasters across the globe. The memberships of a club do cost, but not a premium as such. If you’re lucky, you might find a toastmasters club within your office and the membership fee “MAY” be waived off..

Click here to find a club nearby http://www.toastmasters.org/Find-a-Club

2. Learning Music: Lots of music schools all across the city offer courses with various price tags – affordable as well as not so affordable. To name a few, are Jus Drums and Sound Garage. Jus Drums specializes in percussion instruments. Sound Garage offers a range of musical instruments such as Piano, Violin, Guitar etc. Apart from this, Chennai houses some of the oldest and legendary music houses and platforms. One such is the Swarnabhoomi Music Academy.

3. Places to eat: It’s all about knowing the right place and the right time to be at these places. Personally, the best tip is to install Zomato to find out more about the best places in Chennai. My hunger for eurpean and indian scusine get me to these places as below

  • Breakfasts on cloudy mornings in L’amandier,
  • Soups and Bruschetta by the glass wall on a monsoon afternoon in That Madras Place
  • Risotto at Lloyds Tea House and then a walk to the Lighthouse station
  • Saturday evening all hell breaks loose at Pait Pooja with sarson da saag, makkai di roti and lassi
  • Poori and Alu ki sabji in various bhojanalayas in Soukharpet on a weekend morning
  • Absolutely tasty food at Absolute Barbecues
  • Personal paniyaram contest at Murugan Idli Shop with Sweet Pongal towards the end. And ummm the Ghee Roast there.
  • Walk along the besant nagar beach with loads of street food, coffee shops, and bakeries
  • Places such as Bikes and Barrels, Zaras, Illusions that make up for the entire weekend
  • Oooo those ice creams at Cream and Fudge at any time of the day
  • Amaria Guitar Cafe on weekend nights
  • Sam’s Pizza –  place that offers a buffet of pizza

And many more…

4. Adventure: Chennai offers a wide landscape of activities such as horse riding, canoeing, scuba diving courses etc. Apart from this, the city is active went it comes to trekking, cycling clubs, fitness groups, riders clubs etc. There is a group that does tours along the Southern India from time to time. A wonderful sight is when you see the group of Royal Enfield tearing along the OMR at elegantly slow speeds while both showcasing their élan and igniting jealousy. One of the many horse riding schools is in Shollinganallur. Similarly, scuba diving courses are offered by certified organizations.

5. Language learning: Portuguese, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and a host of other languages. Not that these languages don’t exist in other cities, but most often you find out one center somewhere in one corner of the city offering such courses at premium rates. This is not the case in Chennai. You can look for Inaword in Adyar offering a host of European languages, the Spanish learning center, the Russian learning center, the Alliance Francaise of Madras and a lot many schools to cater to your language learning thirst. Yes, Duolingo helps too but classroom course are all together a different experience.

Chennai has a hot weather and you might face some issues at the beginning with the language, getting around, the food. But these parameters apply to any place which hasn’t been similar to the habitat in which you have been brought up and/or have spent a larger part of your life. I was surprised to see people praising the hot sun in Johannesburg when the temperatures are similar in Chennai. And sometimes, people blame a city because of the workplace/personal issues. Let’s not make these factors decisive ones when judging a place.

Chennai has a lot to offer. A lot more than listed here.

 

Survival Tip: An umbrella is a must in Chennai.