IntroductionIrrespective of wherever they hail from, the IT professionals, bankers, chartered accountants and other professionals in various functional fields do get to work in Chennai either by choice or through transfer. They are often confused as to how to get a good place to stay. Many are confused that few people speak Hindi in Chennai. There are several myths that need to be totally demolished from the minds of such professionals. Firstly, Chennai is as ultramodern in terms of the availability of whatever comforts define a metropolis. It has huge five-star hotels, the second largest beach in the world, some of India's best colleges for Economics, Commerce, Mathematics, and Engineering in the form of two top-ranking Deemed Universities. It has several places for spending the week-ends. It has a rich culture and a very wide variety of restaurants offering vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.
Now let us get on to the tasks that need to be done. Obviously, there are constraints on space. Hence, the major steps are described in some detail in this article. The major steps are a) Look for a good school and accommodation nearby b) Prefer developed South Chennai c) Look for connectivity to the place of work d)Get to develop new friends and neighbors and e) Explore the city in totality.
Look for a good school and accommodation nearbyThough much would depend on what is your earning post-tax, generally look for the best schools. Chennai is home to some of the prestigious CBSE schools, ranked among the best in the country. They are DAV, SBOA, the Padma Seshadri group of schools, the Chettinad Vidyashram group and the Velmmal group. Please do note that all CBSE schools have Hindi as the second language. If your child is just in classes below the fifth standard, it should be relatively easy for you to get admission to any of the aforesaid schools. However, please do note that their admission starts rather early and would even close by the end of December for the forthcoming academic year. You need to do real homework. Please do note that these branded schools charge you the premium, but the fees are worth it. There are other good schools like the Vidya Mandir in Mylapore and the Maharishi group of schools. These are also good.
You should choose accommodation near the school so that your children have the bare minimum commuting time. For example, if your child has secured admission to the SBOA school at Anna Nagar, it makes sense to shell out Rs. 25,000 to Rs.35,000 for the accommodation. This will help them a great deal. Chennai is a city of distances, but the traffic moves much faster than in the other metros, particularly Bangalore. For example, if your place of work is Mahindra World City, near Chengelpet, no issues. You can have a two-wheeler parked in the Paranur railway station, and go by EMU train to that station. The commuting options are superb now. For example, if you have to go to the International Airport, all that you need to do is to just go towards anyone of the metro stations that connect to the airport. There are stations like Guindy and Saidapet that are connected to the EMU network and also the metro. And there are hundreds of buses too to all places. For instance, if you live in Tiruvanmaiyur in any one of the gated communities and granted that your child is in a good school in Adayar, no issues. You can take your car and drive down to any place of work. You can take the beach road to reach the heart of the city called Parry's Corner. Or you can drive down to any other destination, as there are different routes. For example, to reach the Koyembedu bus station, you can go to Central and take a bus. Or you can go by train to Egmore and just take any bus from there.
Good two-bedroom accommodation is available for around Rs.10,000 to Rs.12,000 in Tambaram, Chrompet, Nanganallur, Madipakkam and so on. On the main roads, the cost will be higher. Generally, most house-owners do not charge more than six months' rent in advance. If you have an NRI house owner, you will have lesser worries. There are some house-owners who are so particular about upkeep. Hence, make inquiries before signing up with anyone.
Prefer developed South Chennai Though the Northwest of Chennai is now developing as fast as the South, the latter is more developed. The civic amenities are better too. And it is so near a superb locality called Tambaram, which is very well connected by train and has all the amenities. In general, it is a pleasure to shop in T. Nagar, but there are other localities that are as developed as T.Nagar for shopping. Velacheri and Adayar are good examples. The gated communities are also more in the whole of Chennai.
Look for connectivity to the place of workThough this is a minor problem if you are in the extreme end of the city, commutation may take more time. For example, if your place of work is in one of the MNC companies at Sriperambadur, it is wise to shift to places like Guindy or Karapakkam or Porur that are all well connected to Sriperambadur. Please do note that there are a good number of buses everywhere. And if you just pay Rs.1000/-, you can easily get a bus pass for one full month( between the 15th of any month to 15th of next month). You can always ask your colleagues, particularly those who keep driving to various parts of the city on their motorcycles. They will guide you well.
Get to develop new friends and neighborsThrough a process of socialization that is far better than adults, the children of any age pick up the local language, that is, Tamil, much faster. They speak the language so well within two years. However, any adult and his wife, more so if they are from the North of India, should make every effort to speak a few words in Tamil. None like being dominated. It is fruitless to talk about Hindi being the National language. Any average Tamilian would never accept that Tamil is less important. Almost the entire Tamil race is totally united on the language issue. Always have an open mind and do not be judgemental. Please shed any inhibitions if you have them. Chennai is home to people from every part of India now. You can even speak Hindi in all market areas.
Explore the city in totalityYou will get a fair idea of where to eat and what to see in Chennai by going through five must-see places and three must-do things in Chennai and Where to taste a slice of Andhra Cuisine and Gujarati specialties in Chennai
What you need to do is to move around, explore the city through the city buses and the EMU trains. Go to different markets and temples. For example, the temple at Vadapalani is connected by numerous buses and also the metro network. You just need to understand the basics of moving around. Get into 5A bus from Tambaram and alight at T.Nagar. You will get to see so many places en-route. And the bus will also touch the prestigious Mount Road, bang in the heart of the city. However, given the Corona scare, be careful to move around only in the early morning and late evening. ( 5 t0 7 AM and 6 to 9 AM, when the buses will be less crowded. Never go to crowded places for another four weeks, if you are in Chennai now. If you are likely to be transferred, visit the city in June, firm up plans and then bring your family along). If you are planning to move in as a married bachelor, fine. Just check into one of the good mansions in the Triplicane area where you can find accommodation and also food at very reasonable rates. Please note that such hostels are now available in every locality. Please avoid brokers and go through your office contacts. In any case, given the virus scare, please do take all precautions.
Enjoy Chennai in its totality and will be very happy, A hearty welcome to Chennai.
ConclusionEvery new city has its own charms. So does Chennai. There are areas that are very clean. There are areas that are too good to spend entire days on shopping. The temples are also good. Once you get the basics right, Chennai is one of the best places to be in.