23 Days

23 Days of Chennai!

It is easy to say 23 days, but it hard to digest of what I have done and what I have not. On each day there is a story to write from the experience of bargaining with auto drivers to the search of good north Indian food. Neverthless, Chennai one of the Metropolis and India’s 40% to 45% percent engineers are being produced here only (South of India) be it IT engineer, Auto Mobile Engineer, Electrical Engineer etc. Every first and second person I have met, is either an IT Engineer or Mechanical Engineer. Now, I have realized that why automobile and IT industry is flourishing in South of India and why not in North. I fortunately met only first and second persons here, and as I said they are from Engineering background. Whereas my quest to find someone from social or humanities background still continues that would be I guess third category of people here.

Sometimes it is good to be dependent and bad too. I am somewhat in such a state that I want to do a lot but cannot do even a bit. Language has become a major problem to have interaction with the people I am going to work for. The tragic story is, Children and teachers have as much interest as I have for them to work together and interact. Being an Indian and facing such language problem in India is quite surprising. I find it interesting too in a way that how a country like India is bounded for over 6 decades after so much of diversity of languages and cultures.

Everyday, I visit children to teach me some words of Tamil, but find it bit hard to remember and within few minutes I just give up and wonder to have something or some kind of a project where language dependency is not as much as in this. But, I think this is the challenge for me as an AIF fellow to accept and work on it. That what we all have been assigned to as fellows. Hence, I consider every day as a new learning, challenging, I am sure most of us are going through the same phase in the initial days. Let me also share some sweet memories I have about Chennai.

My friends Brian and Ted, have already visited me twice ever since we landed here. Though they are in Madurai, which is 8 to 9 hours drive from Chennai. But they fortunately have official meetings and hearing in Chennai, and that is also an opportunity for us to reunite. I have been striving hard to continue my habit of negotiations with Auto Drivers and others. But friend, Brian is extra kind in that sense, therefore, he paid Rs.450 for about 7 or 8 km distance. However, after my argument, my friend still don’t want to get into argument with these people. Though, I insisted him to do so as this is also a learning experience. I have also been a victim of paying more. On my second day of Chennai, I was supposed to purchase a phone, after I asked the hotel guy for the market or shop, he said it is about 3 or 4 km from here, he also said by auto it will cost me around Rs. 50 maximum. I went out and found an auto, he asked me to pay Rs.200, the very next moment, there was another auto asking for Rs. 190 then it went on and on, finally one auto agree for Rs. 150, I asked him, how do they calculate the charges with distance. He said, around Rs.70 per km. I asked him to stop and politely paid him by saying goodbye.

Second visit of Brian and Ted was both, official and non-official. It was the wedding ceremony of  Ted’s cousin sister. Me and Brian got the invitation to be part of the ceremony. It was first experience for me and Brian to attend South Indian wedding ceremony, however, Brian and I have experience of attending North Indian wedding. We went to shop in a mall and got some very good shirts for the function. We bought two shirts, one with the same colour and design to look like brothers. Ted didn’t have any intention to look like us and very unlikely he bought cotton Kurta. We, didn’t mind it at all, since we knew he is not going to be one of us as he is going to be a host and we going to be the guests. The first day was full of Bollywood music and dance at a hotel,

Second Day of the Wedding Function: –

Ted always wants to look different
similar choices make good cousins like me and Brian


Mohd. Asif has been actively involved in social and cultural development programs since his school days. Asif started organizing programs on cultural and heritage awareness with ITIHAAS, a delhi based NGO works with school children in 2004. In his sophomore year, Asif got the opportunity to work with Aga Khan Trust For Culture where he worked as a Research Associate and gained experience in researching cultural development through historical studies. As part of his work, Asif also mobilized young people across the communities to learn about the value of their heritage and culture by making it source of livelihood for them. His experience at the Aga Khan Trust shaped Asif's thought process and led him towards social entrepreneurship. Asif has also attempted to start his own educational venture, and has worked with as a Program Researcher with EdTerra Eventures, an educational travel company. Asif is enrolled in an online MBA program at SMU.

You Might Also Like

3 thoughts on “23 Days

  1. I know you are still getting adjusted… but in a month or two you will be UNSTOPPABLE. I look forward to the amazing things you’ll do at Pudiyador!

  2. Dear Sridar,
    Of course there is resemblance beyond shirts, this attire just a demo of it. I would remember your promise till the time you done show me some good noth indian food places here. Let me know when you coming, since I m also going to be in Delhi for one week..

Leave a Reply to Asif Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join Us

Stay up to date on the latest news and help spread the word.


Privacy Policy

Get Involved

Our regional chapters let you bring the AIF community offline. Meet up and be a part of a chapter near you.

Join a Chapter