First of all, let me state upfront that i have been born and brought in Chennai. I lived the better part of my life in Triplicane, Mylapore & Royapettah. In the last few years the number of migrant workers in Chennai has been steadily increasing. Different reports in various publications give different numbers but one thing that we all can notice is for every 2 Tamil speaking person, there is 1 non-Tamil speaking person (from a mother tongue perspective), at-least in the Chennai city.
We all have this apprehension about what we are going to do, how are we going to manage in the new environment, how will people look at us.. whenever we move to a new place or when we move to a new job. Anything new is quite often seen as a exasperating task especially when we have to interact with new people, adjust to new surroundings.
There are multiple blogs (here, here, here)that highlight the difference in culture, lifestyle and experiences of a North Indian in Chennai, this post is from the other side. This is purely based on my interactions at various places with people who have come to Chennai for work purposes. It does not include those on holiday, short-term work/project and stopping by on transit.
Here is what a normal Chennaiite feels when interacting with a North Indian in Chennai.
Do note, i used the term normal Chennaiite. A normal Chennaiite is a calm, composed, welcoming individual. Normal Chennai people welcome everyone with open arms. Like with all things, there is a percentage of the population who are influenced by politics, religion and whatnot to behave in an anti-Chennai fashion. This post excludes them all.
- Nervousness: This is the first and foremost emotion that we all undergo. We all have been nervous for various things. But the nervousness that one has when coming face to face with a non-local stems from the language barrier and the lack of confidence that arises out of it.
- Fear: Out of nervousness, comes fear. What will the other person think of me? How will i be able to let them know what i want? All of us succumb to the societal pressure of having huge and sometimes unnecessary expectations. We all think (atleast most) we can do anything and everything. But deep down below everyone is shit scared of interacting with another human being especially when there is a serious communication barrier in place.
- Sadness: This arises due to a prior incident related to and not related to the other individual. We would have had some sort of an experience which would have given rise to this emotion or most often it would be hearsay. This person said this, did that, blah blah blah blah. The underlying emotional turmoil is due to the disappointment, loss or being put into a disadvantageous situation.
- Disgust: Most often this one is due to the perceived impressions that we create due to the hearsay or based on the facial expression the other person has when we see them for the first time. This is also possible due to the social stigma that we all come to associate without having encountered anything first hand.
- Surprise: While it is no longer the case, we are often surprised to see a non-local performing a duty that we associate with a local especially when they do a pretty job. It is also to note when the person speaks a good, proper Tamil when compared to the Tanglish we experience, this emotion gives way to a form of happiness that can only be experienced.
- Anger: Finally this is the emotion that shows up due to any and all of the above. This is also influenced by various other factors such as the mindset of the person, current political climate and whatnot. Sometimes anger is just a form of helplessness that is exhibited when we do not know what to do.