Cities and Rudeness

Check out this article that raves about how kind the people of Chennai are. It also refers to a survey that found that Mumbai is the rudest city in the world.

Having spent many years in Chennai in the past I can quite believe the stories about how kind the people of Chennai are. In fact, I have heard similar stories from others about the city!

The biggest complaint about Chennai from non-Chennai-ites are firstly the unbearable heat in summer and secondly the language problems (if you ignore the perrenial water shortage). “If you can’t speak Tamil you are in trouble” seems to be the common complaint. Not sure how it is these days. My personal view is that Chennai is a lot more cosmopolitan than it was in the past. But can you get by easily in the city without knowing Tamil? Will the autorickshaw guy take you for a spin around the city (when the shortest route to your destination is just a couple of Kms away!) even if he understands that you are an outsider with no knowledge of Tamil?

Author: Pran Kurup

Pran Kurup is founder and CEO of Vitalect, Inc.

3 thoughts on “Cities and Rudeness”

  1. Pran, Check out today’s Wall St Journal. There is an opinion piece from Suketu Mehta questioning the methodology and the results of this politeness survey by Readers Digest. They measured politeness by how often people say Thank You, hold doors open and return stuff that people drop on the street. Yes, I know. Unbelievable! :-)I don’t know that Chennai/Madras would fare much better on this scale. :-)Prasad


  2. I read Suketu’s piece in the WSJ.(Thanks for pointing it out. I would have missed it otherwise). Being a die-hard Bombayite I am not surprised that he stood up to fight for his favorite city. He does have very valid points about the holes in survey. He didn’t have anything to say about Chennai topping the list. People in Chennai don’t say thank you either after each “transaction”. So I would be a little surprised if there wasn’t more to the survey. In general, the idea of measuring rudeness with a canned metric on a global scale is hard simply because cultures are so different. In any cae, I can now say I was born and raised in the most polite city in the world!! (yippeee!!)


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