Monday, February 18, 2008

Speaking Tamil in Chennai is an annoyance?

My friend and Tamil writer Sathyarajkumar visited Cleartrip.com after reading a lot of good things about the site and their communication skills here on Whitespace. But what he read about Chennai city on the Small world section of Cleartrip hasn’t amused him even a bit. The annoyance point of guide for Chennai city says
People in Chennai are generally averse to speaking in Hindi which makes it difficult to converse with the locals, especially if they are not conversant in English either. To make things more uncomfortable, the climate in Chennai is exceptionally hot and humid.
On his Tamil blog post Sathyarajkumar asks how speaking in one’s own mother tongue can be considered as an annoyance for others. He is basically OK with the fact that the site is pointing out that Chennai people dont speak Hindi but what he is not happy is the head under which it is said. Cleartrip is a Mumbai based company but did they conclude that only Hindi speaking crowd fly to Chennai to consider it as an annoyance to all the other Indians? Also note how the second line starts by saying “To make things more uncomfortable…”.

It’s true that giving out facts about places are extremely helpful for the people who are traveling there for the first time, but it has to be in a way that it doesn’t affect the sentiments of the local public and also taking care of Indians as a whole; not only North Indians. I’m a Keralite and I had never spoken Hindi in my life until I went to Pune for a living where I had no other go than to speak Hindi as no locals there understood Malayalam. Now will that be considered as an annoyance?

The following is my suggestion for the Non Hindi speaking point for Chennai and I don’t think it should be featured under the head Annoyance.

Non Tamil speaking travelers to Chennai may find it difficult to converse with the locals as they don’t speak Hindi or in some cases English.
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