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 â€” 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 donâ€™t know if itâ€™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 â€” 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 â€” 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 youâ€™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 youâ€™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 â€” 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 momoâ€™s, reshmi kebabs, firni.. Delhiâ€™s street food culture almost makes up for its summer. Itâ€™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 Iâ€™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. Iâ€™m also not overly impressed with the misal pao. Why would you want to put mixture in a curry? I donâ€™t get it. I havenâ€™t tried much other street food so Iâ€™m very open to the fact that Iâ€™m dead wrong, but based on current experience Mumbai doesnâ€™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 donâ€™t get quite the variety of things, and vendors have started hanging up annoying â€œfixed price onlyâ€ 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 Iâ€™m willing to bet good money that you donâ€™t all agree. Letâ€™s talk. Iâ€™m open to negotiation.