This is not a tourist guide about either of the places. This is just a generic comparison of the two places to live in, and my personal impressions as I have lived in both the places. I was born and brought up in Chennai and am living in Bangalore for the last 1 year and 9 months.
Bangalore is cosmopolitan and multi-lingual. At a glance, you can see people from all over India. You can easily communicate in any one of the five languages – Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu or Kannada. Chennai is metropolitan and bi-lingual – Tamil and Tamil (Ok, English 🙂 ) and even though a sizeable population of Telugu and North Indians live in Chennai, every one speaks fluent Tamil.
People of Bangalore love plants, greenery and gardens. They have one park every 500 meters. The public parks are maintained very well and they are so green. And a lot of people love to walk in the parks in the early morning (except me, of course). There is a flower show in Lalbagh at least twice a year. Most of the houses have nice gardens or at least some small plants in pots. In short, they are garden conscious. People of Chennai love music. And of course, movies. The music part is ingrained in the culture and the genes. And the people are good rasikas – they appreciate quality music. Carnatic music has flourished here like no where and the whole month of December is reserved for music festivals in various musical sabhas. If the traditional music has flourished in closed confines, the popular mass music (normally in the form of movie songs), is even better. This city has time and again produced some of the best music directors and songs.
Bangalore, probably has the best climate that you could ask for in a city. Coming from Chennai, initially I didn’t switch on the fan even during summers! The lazy cold mornings of Bangalore are the best – especially when you go late to the office and your boss comes half an hour later than you! December can get too cold, but its just one month. Chennai, is blazing hot for at least 9 months in a year. And due to its proximity to the sea, the humidity factor is also high and hence even the nights are warm. People in Chennai may not realize this but the heat is a blessing in disguise. Especially the practices followed to beat the heat – right from the food, to the recreational activities, clothing, habits, games and almost everything else. The culture of a place is influenced partly by the climate, and in the case of Chennai, it is a boon which they cannot see from within.
Talk about the one-ways of Bangalore! It is quite difficult to learn the directions of this city and most of the roads take a curvy path. You cannot have a sense of direction (NSEW), which is quite easy to associate in the case of Chennai where the roads intersect at 90 degerees, mostly. The auto drivers, bus drivers and the traffic police are much more polite in Bangalore. You cannot see an auto driver charging over the meter very often (it does happen, though). Chennai has a busy and very useful electric train network and MRTS train network which cover a couple of important routes. Partly due to this, the traffic management on the road is better, but both the cities are hopeless when it comes to peak hour traffic. And the planned Metro rail network would be very useful in both the cities, if the work is implemented faster.
The work culture is better in Bangalore, perhaps due to the influence of the MNC IT companies. The timing is not strictly followed (as long as the work is done) and the bosses are not too bossy. Chennai has a more traditional type of work culture. But this may vary in particular industries. If all the major IT companies have their presence in the software industry of Bangalore, most of the major automobile and mobile manufacturing companies have created a good hardware eco-system in and around Chennai. IT/ITES companies are present too, but not the variety that Bangalore sports. Entertainment in Bangalore is restricted to the malls and pubs. Chennai has two beaches and a whole ECR (East Coast Road) with a variety of theme parks for entertainment. The movie releases of major actors like Rajnikanth are celebrated like festivals!
The cost of living is slightly higher in Bangalore. The cost of food/ house rent is quite high, when compared to Chennai. But it depends more on which part of the cities you stay in. North Indian dishes are better in Bagalore but South Indian dishes are better in Chennai. I miss all that puliodharai with medhu vadai, lemon rice with sambar, masal vadai with Tea etc. But once you are used to the cusines of a particular place, it is generally harder to adjust to new ones – it seems! So, I am trying to cook more now. I have been trying it for the last one year, actually 😛
My verdict: To hell with the bigger Tier-I cities 🙂 I am planning to move to CBE – Coimbatore as soon as possible (as soon as I get a job there, that is). Will keep you people updated.
You could visit the ‘People Places and Culture’ section of this blog to read more such articles.