Metro wars: Mumbai vs Delhi vs Chennai

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Daredevil, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Metro wars: Mumbai vs Delhi vs Chennai


    Which Indian metro is the best to live in? Numerous surveys, based on different parameters, have been conducted on the topic. And predictably, the results are mixed. Some surveys give the honour to Delhi, others name Bangalore and yet others point with pride to Chennai and Mumbai. Ask an Indian resident, and depending on what she/he deems important and where she/he has grown up, she/he will give you the same confusing mixed bag of opinions. Which is why you need an objective outsider to decide. Like that of an expat. Like me.

    Since moving to India from Sri Lanka four years ago, I have lived in Chennai, Delhi and now Mumbai. And before you all go up in arms at the thought of me passing judgement on your cities, please let me state at the outset that this is a fun, non-serious assessment. I have picked six categories and rated only the three cities I have lived in. Also, given that I am not an Indian resident, I am largely looking at these cities based on how easy it is for an outsider who does not know the local language/geography to settle in.

    1. Getting by without knowledge of the local language

    Delhi: In a word, impossible. Auto drivers (who you will be dependent on for most of your travel needs) rarely speak or understand English. Same story with the man on the road you want to ask for directions. And the owner of that little grocery store right down the road. Oh and your broker. Most likely your landlord, too. So unless you have lots of understanding, tolerant friends who are constantly being called upon to act as translators like I did, you had better not make that move to Delhi until you can manage at least some basic Hindi.
    Rating: 3/10

    Chennai: Much, much better. Autos will overcharge and scam you (more on that later) but they will understand your expressions of disbelief and even converse a little in English. People are much more tolerant of you when you confess to not knowing Tamil and really go out of their way to help. Expat bliss.
    Rating: 9/10

    Mumbai: Mumbai really is a melting pot, so getting by here is also very easy. And people are used to foreigners so their automatic response is rarely to fleece you. English works, but so does Hindi, Tamil, and Gujarati. Language win!
    Rating: 9/10

    2. Safety

    Delhi: I must confess that living in Delhi was never really the horror story people promised me it would be. This is likely most possible because I only ever commuted within South Delhi and Central Delhi, but similar areas in Colombo where I come from are far more dangerous — especially if you are a woman. People in Delhi are more used to women travelling around at night and I constantly took autos at night by myself. The only freaky incident I experienced was when a man thrust a snake into my auto and demanded money, but this was in broad daylight. Besides my auto driver yelled at him and made him go away.
    Rating: 7/10

    Chennai: Chennai is a very safe city but there are never as many people on the road at night so that can be a little scary, especially when it comes to travelling by yourself. I had one bad experience when I got felt up by a drunk on a bus, and some of my friends had a few run-ins with a weird stalker-type man who followed them around. These are however the exception rather than the rule.
    Rating: 7/10

    Mumbai: Oh Mumbai! How much can I praise thee in this regard! Let me count the ways! I have never ever lived in a city where it is completely OK to walk down the street in a pair of shorts, even if it is in the middle of the madness that accompanies Ganesh Chaturthi. No one ever looks twice at you, there are no wolf whistles or cat calls, and cab drivers and auto drivers are unfazed by giggling girls demanding to be taken home at 2am.
    Rating: 10/10

    3. General city friendliness

    Delhi: I firmly believe that someone should stand on public street corners and hand out prozac to the residents of Delhi. I don’t know if it’s the extreme weather, but the average Delhiite is aggressive, impatient and angry. Constantly angry. Beneath every unsmiling face is a bubbling, red hot, molten sea of pure anger. So no — not very friendly.
    Rating: 3/10

    Chennai: The people of Chennai are lovely genteel people who are very friendly and willing to not only help you but also engage you in long conversations about all manner of things. Which is why their auto drivers — a rude, aggressive, shameless bunch of looters are such a mystery. Where do they come from?
    Rating: 7/10

    Mumbai: When it comes to friendliness this really is maximum city. People are always smiling, always friendly and always willing to go out of their way to help you out. And the fact that there are always reams of people out on the roads regardless of what time of day it is means that you’re never afraid of being stranded/lost.
    Rating: 8/10


    4. Weather:

    Delhi: I do not understand the Delhi summer, which reaches temperature highs that no self respecting city should. Delhi ought to be embarrassed about its summer! Winters on the other hand are wonderful, excellent months that go by entirely too fast. The muggy months in-between are a little sweaty and uncomfortable but if you’ve lived through the summer everything else seems like a respite. I LEFT Delhi because of its summer. mutter mutter grumble grumble summer.
    Rating: 4/10 (for the 4 months of winter)

    Chennai: Hot. hot. hot. And in June unbearably hot. And humid. Did I mention hot? November-February are lovely months, however. Besides, unlike Delhi, Chennai is a beach city which means that however hot it gets during the day, the evenings are always pleasant.
    Rating: 5/10

    Mumbai: I must confess bias here. Mumbai reminds me a lot of Colombo so I am perfectly comfortable. Humidity is a problem however — and can be downright miserable if you are not used to it. And the monsoon months are utterly unpredictable and make your footwear all moldy.
    Rating: 6/10

    5. Street food

    Delhi: Delhi khana can never be given adequate justice in a short post like this one. The memory of that raj kachodi lined with asafetida and served to you with potato curry in Old Delhi still wakes me up at night sometimes. The fluffy white and impossibly melty daulat ki chaat made with milk froth which you only get during winter. The mutton seekh kebabs, the chicken momo’s, reshmi kebabs, firni.. Delhi’s street food culture almost makes up for its summer. It’s that good.
    Rating: 9/10

    Delhi khana can never be given adequate justice in a short post like this one. Flickr
    Chennai: Chennai is not, as popularly believed, a city that only serves variants of idli, vada and dosa. During my time there I devoured chilly paratha, chicken 65, and Crab curry and idli on the side of the road. There is also a divine fried fish you could get for Rs 15, and secret hole in the wall places where you could have delicious and cheap chilly beef fry with a side of Malabari paratha.
    Rating: 7/10

    Mumbai: Everyone talks a lot about the famous vada pao but I must confess that I’m not a big fan. The potato and bread combination is too heavy and sits at the bottom of your stomach like a lump of lead. I’m also not overly impressed with the misal pao. Why would you want to put mixture in a curry? I don’t get it. I haven’t tried much other street food so I’m very open to the fact that I’m dead wrong, but based on current experience Mumbai doesn’t get a very high score.
    Rating: 4/10

    6. Street shopping

    Delhi: Sarojini Nagar and Janpath are a street shoppers dream. Sarojini Nagar in particular is unbelievably good. Give yourself an entire day and withdraw lots of money because you want to buy EVERYTHING. Shoes, Clothes, costume jewelry, curtains, furnishings, kitchenware and for prices that are so low you have to remind yourself to bargain. Janpath is more famous that Sarojini Nagar, but you don’t get quite the variety of things, and vendors have started hanging up annoying “fixed price only” signs over their shops. Dilli haat is a good place to go to as well, but you have to luck out on the exhibitions.
    Rating: 8/10

    Chennai: The one major shopping area I enjoyed here was T Nagar which is jewelry, clothes and above all sari heaven. Buy your sari, matching jewelry and footwear all in one crazy expedition for very little money. The Mylapore market place is also a lovely place to stroll by in the evenings, but does not (CANNOT) match the variety of T Nagar.
    Rating: 6/10

    Mumbai: Colaba causeway is a wonderful walkway of bargains and you always end up with your hands full and your purse considerably lighter if you decide to pay it a visit. This too has a wonderful variety of stuff ranging from things to wear to things you can use to decorate your home with. The Bandra Linking Road shopping area is also wonderful, particularly if you like footwear.
    Rating: 7/10

    So end results? According to my own rankings, the most livable metro (In my little pool of 3) is

    Mumbai: 44/60

    Chennai: 41/60

    Delhi: 32/60

    I’m willing to bet good money that you don’t all agree. Let’s talk. I’m open to negotiation.
     
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  3. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    I some what agree with above ratings. Though sad to see that Kolkata was not included, either he didn't visit it or it doesn't come under a main metro city anymore. Anyways, give your own rating according to above criteria to the cities you live in or like.
     
  4. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    The fuck ?

    There is nothing better than summer in delhi. I used to play cricket after school from afternoon to evening. I'd rather have 12 months of delhi summer than even a month of winter. I do love the sun beating down...my car a/c goes for a six :laugh:

    Without a shadow of a doubt delhi is miles better. I don't know how you can say people are angry ? Ive been living all my life in delhi and more often than not people have been helpful. Majority of auto wallahs are not even delhites...they are from up and bihar. Plus they can understand english but choose to act otherwise so as to get more money out of you.
     
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  5. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    I don't agree with this point.

    By nature, Delhitee are aggressive. Delhi biggest advantage was Metro and CNG which makes better than Mumbai/Chennai as far as transportation is concerned.

    Autowalas always tries to charge more. Delhi is more money minded than any of the other metros. In addition, Not good for Female. Can a lady go to any place at 11 P:M ? It won't be safe. But in other metros like Mumbai, Chennai, etc. it's safe.

    Although i prefer Delhi, because i live in Delhi. But There are many problems here too.
     
  6. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    General city friendliness

    Delhi should get 5-6/10 rather than 3/10 - It's not so bad.

    Getting by without knowledge of the local language

    Delhi should get 5-6/10 rather than 3/10 - It's not so bad.

    Street shopping

    Delhi should get 9/10 rather than 8/10. - But not much difference

    Weather

    Delhi should get 5-6/10 rather than 4/10 - Weather is Okay, Neither bad nor good

    Safety and Street Food is fine

    Overall, Delhi: 40-45/60 (Close to BEST among 3)
     
  7. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    Not this "dangerous for girls" myth again. Even in new york if you hang around alone in shady places all alone in night you'll not be safe. Other cities are equally as dangerous if one see's it from a neutral point of view. Just because media focuses more on delhi doesn't mean all other cities are safe havens.

    What do you mean by aggressive ? Obviously if one is docile then we'll seem aggressive.
     
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  8. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    Aggressive means ready to fight for small things. Like fighting in Traffic for tiny reasons.

    As per safety, May be No city is perfect but Delhi is not safe compare with Mumbai/Chennai. How many such incident happens in these 2 cities ? Very rare. Here, In Delhi it happens on daily basis and most of the news are closed before it becomes news. I have few friends who live in Mumbai, They never faced any problem in Night but it will be danger in Delhi after 10:00 P:M
     
  9. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    I've been a delhi-ite myself for many years. And I should agree that the aggression being talked about is not something perceived or because others are docile. Not just Delhi the entire NCR is an example.
     
  10. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    What nonsense nor have i or my friends faced problems in delhi after midnight let alone 10pm. Media does not cover as much in other cities as it does in delhi. If it isn't being reported then it doesn't mean its not happening.

    People fight in traffic over petty things in other cities aswell. Its not as if on every traffic light people are fighting in delhi.
     
  11. Dovah

    Dovah Untermensch Senior Member

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    Why do people hate on Delhi so much????

    NCR is different from Delhi, NCR guys(the locals) have hit a jackpot with the land prices sky rocketing,they are rich without an education ,they do all sort of anti-social stuff albeit on a bigger scale and get away with it by bribing the police(which itself comprises of people from local villages).

    Delhi is facing the brunt of massive immigration, check out the Metro in the morning to understand what I mean.
     
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  12. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I smell another upcoming massive troll fight in this thread.

    Anyhow, I can honestly say that I agree 100% with this article. This is exactly what I have been saying in all the city threads on DFI. I have always placed Mumbai even above Bangalore, despite my love for my own city of Bangalore.

    Among the three cities surveyed here, Mumbai is the best and Delhi the worst, when all factors are taken into consideration. Now, I don't know whether it is because of "migration", or whether is is because of the "Biharis and Bhaiyyas", as lot of Dilliwalas keep telling me. All I know is that that is the honest and truthful opinion of almost all impartial observations.

    Also, one would do well to notice that in almost all city discussions on various forums, Indians from all over place Mumbai at a very high pedestal. Whether one is from Bangalore or Chennai or Assam or Hyderabad, there is a near unanimity that Mumbai is a great city.

    Incidents of groping and eve-teasing are maximum in Delhi. It is much much much less in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai. I have interacted with a variety of people from different walks of life, and almost everyone agrees with this. I know lots of people with personal experiences in this regard.

    And as far as English goes, comparisons are a joke. The labour class in Delhi, whether autowallahs or chaiwallahs, really cannot converse even in broken English, in most of the cases. Often, they cannot even understand you if you insert English words in the midst of Hindi sentences. In South Indian cities like Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, broken English is much much more prevalent.

    The "Tashan" show-off culture is also very very high in Delhi. The culture of showing off one's "contacts" has become ingrained in the city's DNA. Everyone has to know some babu or mantri or neta, to brag about in living room conversations.

    To set the record straight, Delhi does have some very good points too. Awesome infrastructure - the best in India - both road and rail. Very very good in terms of street food and street shopping. Excellent winters (and shitty summers though). Proximity to thousands of great vacation spots - Himalayas, Agra, Mathura, Rajasthan, etc. etc.
     
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  13. tarunraju

    tarunraju Moderator Moderator

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    My rating:

    Getting by without knowledge of the local language
    • Delhi: ★★★☆☆
      (Broken English can get you around. A maximum of foreign tourists land here to get to Agra)
    • Mumbai: ★★☆☆☆
      (It's really tough if you can speak neither Hindi nor Marathi)
    • Chennai: ★★★★☆
      (English will get around most places)
    Safety:
    • Delhi: ★★☆☆☆
      (They say once you cross Bhopal aboard the Rajdhani heading northwards, you should hand-cuff your luggage, the most entropy among India's metros)
    • Mumbai: ★★☆☆☆
      (If Delhi's thugs won't get you, Mumbai's crowds and everything lurking in it, will)
    • Chennai: ★★★★☆
      (Chennai has its share of street crime, but it's no match for the other two metros)
    General city friendliness
    • Delhi: ★★★☆☆
      (Delhiites tend to get a bit too reserved and self-absorbed to give a flying F to you)
    • Mumbai: ★★★★☆
      (Surprisingly the most friendly, I guess that has something to do with the relatively pacifist and diplomatic nature of Marathi people. Mumbaikars have a great community spirit. The Spirit of Mumbai that's often taken advantage of)
    • Chennai: ★★★☆☆
      (The stereotype attached to South Indians, that they're "mild simpletons" quickly gets shattered in Chennai. The city has a lot of hustle-bustle. The pressure-cooker climate of this city makes people want to get their day's outdoor work done and over with at a frantic pace)
    Weather:
    • Delhi: ★★★☆☆
      (The city becomes an inhospitable dust-bowl in summer, but going there in winter can be a different experience. Granted, Delhiites hate peak-winter as much as they hate peak-summer, but pinching-cold weather can be a good experience for tourists from the south, especially when you add the great food and liquor to the mix)
    • Mumbai: ★★★☆☆
      (The city can get extremely humid in summer, the monsoons are a total bitch, winters are pleasant)
    • Chennai: ★★★★☆
      (Summers can get a bit more humid than Mumbai, in general a very humid city, but a lot better-planned than Mumbai to cope with monsoons, slightly rainy autumn-winter (because it falls under the retreating-monsoon zone))
    Street Food:
    • Delhi: ★★★★★
      (When meat-lovers with good Karma from Modi-land die, they're reborn in Delhi. Simply the best non-vegetarian food, strong Punjabi influence over the food culture. Not-so much for the seafood (duh?))
    • Mumbai: ★★★★☆
      (While Delhi's non-vegetarian street-food is its strength, Mumbai's vegetarian street-food with elements of Marathi, Gujarati, and Rajasthani "namkeen" makes life better. Good seafood, especially "Bombayduck" preparations)
    • Chennai: ★★☆☆☆
      (There really isn't much in Chennai for food-lovers. OK, there's Udupi breakfasts, some palatable seafood, but that's about it. Maybe I'm rating this the least because Telugu and Tamil food aren't much different, and familiarity breeds contempt).
    Street shopping:
    • Delhi: ★★★★★
      (Street-shopping is Delhi's strongest point. Best prices if you can bargain, and for a national capital, it has the most variety in what you can buy)
    • Mumbai: ★★★★☆
      (Great, but not as much variety as Delhi, prices can screw you over)
    • Chennai: ★★★☆☆
      (Doesn't really have a large street-shopping culture. There is Ranganathan St. that feeds the masses of its commodities, but there isn't the variety you'll find in Mumbai or Delhi.)
     
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  14. mayfair

    mayfair Elite Member Elite Member

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    Though a Dilliwaala meself, I would say that Bangalore scores over both Delhi and Chennai in many things when it comes down to the boil
    - Far better weather
    - Far more cosmopolitan
    - Far friendlier folks
    - Quite a few shopping options
    - Well located, easy distance to amazing sights and wonders
    - Though not blessed with street food, gastronomic diversity is awesome
    - Truly multilingual city- English, Hindi, Kannada, Telegu, Tamil, Malyalam are more often than not understood.

    To me, the best part about Bangalore is its weather.
     
  15. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    Except for food - my coimbatore tongue requires parotta/paya almost everyday - Mumbai is ahead of both the cities in every other parameters.

    Mumbai is a little magical world in itself.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011
  16. SLASH

    SLASH Senior Member Senior Member

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    If only moral policing and better use of public money on infrastructure Mumbai would be way better than any other city and we would not be having this discussion.
     
  17. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    That used to happen even in the 90s when land prices were not so high. I remember there were robberies by gangs that actually came in Tempos from NCR.
    So I assume its got worse now.
     
  18. Dovah

    Dovah Untermensch Senior Member

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    Tempos have changed to Boleros, rest is still same.
     
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  19. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    Improvement in the quality and standard of life indeed.:lol: Looks like atleast some people are enjoying the benefits of high GDP.
     
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  20. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    Moral Policing..? What do you mean ?.

    Bandstand must me the largest open air mutual tongue tasting area in the whole of India.
     
  21. GPM

    GPM Tihar Jail Banned

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    DD, neither Delhi is a hell, nor Chennai an utopia. Delhi is in fact much more metropolitan than Chennai. So is Mumbai. Both attract immigrants from all over India, Chennai does not.

    Language: I myself had this problem in Channai and specially in smaller places. I was travelling from KK to Triva. to Kerala and bus stop at was it Dindigul?. My brother was very thirsty and asked for a glass of water from a chai wallah. He looked blankly like a stone. In Hindi, same response. In sign, same story. Tamil. Till I exploded saying I am an IPS and can tell what you ate in the breakfast. You understand everything, I know. Water, quick, or I call police. In Delhi you will not die of thirst. Water came promptly. Of where it is a matter of livelihood, all understand Hindi too. Like in Rameshwaram, KK and other temples thronged by N Indian pilgrims.

    You did not have problem, naturally, in Channai. I assure you that refugees from Pakistan too had not language problem anywhere in N. India.

    Chennai might have changed.

    Safe on street. In Chennai I had my pocket picked. Happens everywhere.

    Shopping. Of course, haggling is there everywhere, in Chennai too. Only you must know how to tackle the local seller. When the train entered TN, a scam surfaced. A man speaking Hindi with silks would come. Please see at no charge. You start examining. Ten minutes later, another man comes and asks to see. The seller says, not now, I am negotiating. Five minutes later you decide to buy nothing. Here comes the storm: For you I sent away a potential buyer. Now compensate me.!!!

    Neither everyone in Chennai knows fluent english, nor Delhi wallahs louts about it. Remember, there are noble and evil people every where.
     

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