These are some of the not-so-obvious differences we’ve noticed between metros and smaller towns :

  1. In small towns, family outings are a common means of time-pass, and these outings often consist of visits to temples or to relatives’ houses
  2. Page 3 of TOI local editions show local parties and the pictures have people without make-up on. The teenagers actually look young !
  3. The curtains in the windows of many houses I pass remind me of neighbourhoods I grew up in – often the curtains patterns have broad yellow and blue stripes, with big red flowers or apples in the middle of each stripe; no Fabindia ethnic stuff here – printed stuff in artificial fabrics is aspirational, FabIndia is too plain (and probably too expensive)
  4. Language has a different regional tadkaa (flavour) to it
  5. Front page of TOI has local news occupying as many column inches as news of India-China relations, the 2G scandal etc, unlike Mumbai where local news is in the supplement, if at all. To add to the local flavour of these articles, comments from parties involved are printed verbatim with full flavour of the accent of the region.

 In Varanasi, one of these local interest articles described how villagers in a particular area got tired of power cuts and took matters into their own hands. They raided a power department godown and walked away with a 100 KVA transformer in front of the staff ! Sample this explanation for the act, from a villager called Suresh Nishad, “sahib pure gaon mein sau se zyaada connection ba, phir bhi yihaan batti ki hamesha killat rahat hai (despite the fact that there are around 100 legal connections in our village, there is an acute shortage of power).” Or Shri Shanti Patel’s excuse, ”bhaiya du mahina se batti ke bina bura haal raha aur fasal bhi kharaab hoye jaat hai, par bijli bibhaag wale kuchh nahin karat rahein (the condition was horrible in the absence of electricity for the last two months. Our crops were also getting damaged but the power department was least concerned).”

 As the lyrics of ‘Des Mera’ from ‘Peepli Live’ tell us, “Indiya Sirr yeh cheez dhurandar, rang-rangeela Parjatantar” 

p.s. Someday soon, we’ll write about the basic differences in healthcare attitudes and practises between those living in metros and those in smaller towns.

Till then, why don’t you write in to us, dear reader, and tell us what differences you’ve noticed between metros and small towns.


Zenobia Driver