A lot of South Indians taking admission at the University of Delhi have a lot of questions in their minds. Will I be able to blend in properly? Will I face any difficulty? In which aspects, does north India differs from the South? To answer these questions we offer you a first-hand experience by a student of Delhi University. This is a narrative by me- a student from Chennai, and about my experience in DU. I wrote this to help further South Indians who are looking to be a part of the University of Delhi.
So this is a ‘story’ about my first time in NORTH India coming from south India. I know you might ask me,”Saari India me yahi tha!? Isme kya hai?“. If you ask me, when I first came here, I couldn’t ignore that everything was different. There was so much difference, starting from the language to the food habits and whatnot. Chalo! Let’s start exploring the different shades of Delhi through my eyes.
All the South Indians, Welcome to Delhi!
Being a South Indian girl, I was brought up in a very closed environment. As a result, travelling to North India was something like flying abroad for me, my family couldn’t even admit that Delhi was in India. With so many questions and a 3- hour flight, I finally landed at Indira Gandhi International Airport. Delhi welcomed me by saying “Delhi mein aapka swagat hai!“. I knew enough Hindi to understand the sentence (feeling proud now: p).
You know, Delhi people live a very expensive life, taking a cab will literally empty your pocket, I couldn’t take that risk, ‘the people’s Metro‘ came to my rescue. I had only seen a few people in the Chennai metro, but here I was shocked to see the crowd. Back at home, we prefer using electric trains, town buses and shared-autos than metro as we find it very expensive. It was all new and confusing to me, solving the equations behind the yellow line, blue line, pink line and whatnot.
Accepting the Open-minded environment!
When you see the royal red brick building, what else you need. College held me with a warm hug. Being a very talkative girl, I felt myself being silent on the very first day of my college amongst all my classmates. People in the north are very open-minded, so they would easily start debating with the teachers; when one of my North Indian friends easily cursed in front of everyone (it was not intentional), it came like a big surprise and shocked me a little too much. It took me a year to understand all of this (it doesn’t mean that South Indians don’t use these words, we just don’t use them casually, Hahah).
My face turns red every time when someone points me out as a ‘Madrasi’. For your clarification, Madras is not south India. Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Goa combined together forms South India. When I was told by someone that, ‘You’re from South, but you look fair (hmmm…) and You like Vada Sambhar right!?‘, it sounds judgemental, and at times even condescending too. When people easily say ‘No need to make such a heavy tiffin, just dosa, idli, sambhar and chutney at home’ I’ll be like, ‘man it’s not an easy task.’ Sometimes it’s a total waste of time explaining things to some people. Not every North Indian is the same, very few people had done this to me, otherwise, there is nothing that differentiates us.
Choice of dressing!
People here like to suit up for every occasion. The number of clothes they wear is proportional to the number of Chai I have in a year, which in case you don’t know is a lot! When I saw people getting ready just to have a chai outside the college, I started staring at my sleepy face with zero makeup. Their fashion sense is way higher than those in the South. Spending all that money on cosmetics and clothes was all new for me coming from a normal family (though they get cheap good clothes at Sarojini & Karol bagh only xD).
Variety of foods!
It was a delightful experience when first I had a chance to taste the street foods here. It was mouth-watering when I had aloo tikki chaat and Galli Wale Paranthe, I couldn’t get over it. Even though panipuri has its origin in the North, it still can’t beat the taste of chats that are served on the roads of the South. When I tasted the real homemade Rasmalai and rasgulla, they took my heart away. Chole bhature was a big size poori to me, dhal was thick sambar and roti and chapati are not the same. Fight me.
Yes Delhi, we South Indians don’t hate Hindi!
Learning Hindi was not a very big task for me as much as breaking the stereotype that South Indians hate Hindi and they can’t get the accent right was. Because I had a very good friends’ gang who could teach me proper Hindi, it was an easy task. But the very first time when they teased me saying some other Hindi sentence, I was super disappointed. Then I started watching all the good old Hindi movies through which I could get all the famous dialogues (Of Course only with subtitles). I remember the day when my friends enjoyed me singing a Hindi song and listening to my nonsense Hindi talks addressing it as ‘ Arey, your slang is so cute‘. According to me, you just have to know, ‘hanji bhaiya, kithna hai bhaiya’, some basic sentences, and some basic numbers to survive here.
Rickshaw walas are the Angels (as Auto Anna’s are in Chennai), they could understand whatever I would blabber in Hindi and never failed dropping me off at the correct destination. It’s great especially the bargaining, as it differs from Chennai way too much, here if you walk out they will come back and say to you, ‘chalo paise dedo‘ whereas in Chennai if you bargain they will just increase the rates even more. One day, the rickshaw vala bhaiya got amazed hearing my nonsense Hindi talks and started laughing 😐
The wanderlust of South Indians in Delhi!
Delhi has gifted me so much independence that I could roam wherever my heart wanted to (but still I don’t feel safe roaming alone at night). Right from India gate’s royal look to Bangla sahib’s peaceful atmosphere, it was all a joy ride.
Delhi has given me everything. Celebrating functions together with abundant love and sneaking into some random parties and eating varieties of dishes is unforgettable. Even Though I keep on ranting about my beautiful hometown all time, Delhi had become my second home now. This lockdown has made our lives both worse and good by making us miss our friends and landing us in senti drama’s and teaching us many lessons.
One thing is still missing, I just want a chance to visit Delhi and breathe the air again (I can hear you asking ‘that polluted air!?) and to go on a long walk with friends, plus a raat vali chai is more than enough for now.
For your kind information, South India is not Chennai Express 🙁
If you’re a South Indian staying in Delhi, just comment and let us know. Hope you’re also missing Delhi and the hostel life you had there as much as I am, plus you’ll never give up on your hometown 😉