8 Tips for North Indians to Quickly Adjust to South India
India is a highly diverse country. It is a mixture of races, castes, cultures, languages, creeds and much more, fit into a country. It is even called a subcontinent for that very reason. The difference between the northern and southern parts of India are pretty big as well, so somebody moving into the south will obviously face a culture shock that isn’t seen elsewhere.
Due to the concentration of institutions of higher education and the fact that South India is the hub of IT in the country, people have been moving to the south in droves and some find it hard to adjust here due to some of the differences. It isn’t all that difficult to adjust though, partly due to the welcoming and friendly nature of the locals and partly due to the fact that in the end, we are all Indians.
But if you are a North Indian planning to move to South India here are some tips on how you can adjust to the place smoothly.
Tip 1: Dismiss any Preconceptions about the South
The biggest issue northerners have is their preconceived notions about southerners, whether it is about politics, their taste in films or even their attitude. Not everybody wears lungis or worships Rajinikanth or even eats rice all the time although rice is eaten quite a lot in the south.
Tip 2: Learn Bits of the Local Language
Learning bits of the local language always helps. You don’t have to be fluent in it or even need to hold a conversation, just try your best to converse and the locals will eagerly help you out. They will even switch to broken Hindi to continue the conversation. They do appreciate your willingness to learn above anything else.
Tip 3: Rice Above the Rest
The biggest issue that North Indians have in the south is the food. Rice is the staple here, unlike roti in the north. So most lunches and dinners are made of rice. You will, however, find plenty of restaurants and accommodations that will provide roti sabzi.
The faster you get used to this, the better, and if you have any qualms about the price of north Indian food here, remember that Dosas cost significantly north of ₹100 in the north while you can get them for as little as ₹20 here in the south. It is just not the local cuisine here. So try different types of rice, punctuate it with rotis or parathas and you will do just fine.
Tip 4: Have an Umbrella or Raincoat Handy
While the weather is one of the advantages of moving to the south, since it is not as harsh or extreme as it is in the north, the rains, however, can be temperamental. A downpour can be just minutes away even if the skies are clear and there may not be any rain for the entire day even if there are dark clouds looming overhead. Be mentally prepared for this and you will do just fine.
Tip 5: Try Using the Public Transport
Using public transport is perhaps the best advice I can give you on adjusting and assimilating quickly in any new place. Most cities have extensive public transport systems that you can count on and you can talk and learn the local way of life along the way. I am not saying that you must use it on a regular basis, but take a bus once in a while or ride the metro, this will definitely help you out.
Tip 6: Embrace the Local Culture and Customs
As I said earlier, the culture and customs in the south are quite different when compared to the north. Rather than shying away from it, try embracing it and getting involved in it. Get involved in the festivals, try eating their food or wearing their attire. It may be scary at first, but who knows, you might end up enjoying it.
Tip 7: Develop Connections
This is the easiest thing you can do to adjust better and not because southerners are easy to talk to but because no matter which part of the country you are from, you are likely to find your people here. They may be working in corporate organisations or running establishments, and connecting with them will help you understand the lay of the land better. Go chat with the local tea shop owner or the auto drivers, they will have some pieces of advice that are better than any you will find online, this blog included.
Tip 8: Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help
Southerners are extremely helpful and accommodating, especially if they see that you are putting in the effort. So always ask for help, and most of them will help you with a genuine smile on their face. This goes a long way in getting to know people as well.
Adjusting to a new place isn't easy especially when it feels like you have moved to a different country. That is what it feels like for some when they move to South India. If you are anxious about it, you can use these tips to make yourself feel at home better. But the fact of the matter is, we aren’t all that different. If you see past some of the minor differences that define us on the surface, we are all, after all, citizens of this beautiful country. So forget your worries and embrace the future that beckons you!