The A to Z of being a Gujarati

INTELLIGENT: If you don’t believe it, take a walk down to the nearest stock market in your city.

Written by Sunanda Mehta | New Delhi | Updated: May 31, 2014 11:46:04 pm
FAMILY: The bigger the better. At a time when most communities are moving towards nuclear family structures, the Gujju joint family bond is only getting stronger. FAMILY: The bigger the better. At a time when most communities are moving towards nuclear family structures, the Gujju joint family bond is only getting stronger.

As Gujarati becomes the flavour this season, Sunanda Mehta bring you a list of popular words from the language

AU JO
The Gujju way of saying — Bye, see you. Literal translation — Come again. Though one thinks Modi may not have quite said that while bidding farewell to Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi after taking over as the PM.

BEN
As in sister, and not the clock tower in London. When they taught us in school that all Indians are my brothers and sisters, it seems only the Gujaratis learnt the lesson well as Anandiben, Jasodaben and Hansaben will testify. An old joke also goes — Why did all Gujaratis think a woman played the lead in Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi?
Answer: Because the credits said — Gandhi played by Ben Kingsley.

CHIVDA and CHAKLI
It’s what grades every Gujarati kitchen. The crispier and fresher they are, the more authentic your claim to community.

DHOKLA
If you haven’t yet developed a liking for this low fat snack, you better do so right away as it’s set to replace the Punjabi samosa.

ENTERPRISE

As they say, the reason Gujaratis do not play football is that the minute one of them gets a corner, he sets up a shop. It’s also what makes them the envy of every business household in the country. And with Ambani, Adani and even a not-so-flattering Harshad Mehta thrown in for good measure, who dare argue with this claim.

FAMILY
The bigger the better. At a time when most communities are moving towards nuclear family structures, the Gujju joint family bond is only getting stronger. For more details watch Baa Bahoo Aur Baby, Khichdi or wait till someone gets the bright idea to re-run Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi sponsored by the Human
Resource Development Ministry.

GANDHI, Mohandas
Undoubtedly the most famous Gujarati to have walked the earth. The nation sure owes it big time to the community for this one.

HOSPITALITY
No one quite feeds you like a Gujju household does —  and in courses that you stop counting after the 12th wafer thin chapatti has been adjusted amongst the eight katoris, 16 types of chutney on your thali, buttermilk on the side and basundi hovering overhead.

INTELLIGENT
If you don’t believe it, take a walk down to the nearest stock market in your city. In Mumbai it’s not called the Dalal Street for nothing.

JIGNIS
A completely uncorroborated and unconfirmed survey has suggested that this is the most popular name for boys in a Gujju family. Who’s willing to lay a bet though on it being replaced by Narendra
starting 2014?

KHAKRA
Like Fafda (and Chivda and Chakhli of course) it’s the staple snack in every household in Gujarat. Thanks to its current variations in flavours and low fat value its also a big hit in every other community today.

LINGUISTS
It is popularly said that let there be any language in the world, a Gujju can speak it in Gujarati. But accents apart, according to Wikipedia, words used by the native languages of areas where the Gujarati people have become a diaspora community, such as East Africa (Swahili) which they migrated to, have become loan words in local dialects of Gujarati.

MODI
Do we even need to explain?

NAVRATRIS
to be read as nine days of garba and it’s what can put Mardi Gras and Rio’s Carnival to shame in terms of colours, costumes, chaos and
commitment.

OMNIPRESENT
From UK to Uganda, America to Argentina, there is not one place in the world where the diaspora has flourished without Gujarati businessmen making a mark.

PATEL
About the most common Gujarati surname — in the UK they came out with a special directory only of the Patels.

QUINTESSENTIALLY
mild mannered  
You will rarely find a Gujju training for WWF. More likely he’s the guy who walks off with the $ one million bet win after the event.

RELIANCE
After Amul, it’s the other branding that Gujarat is synonymous with.

SHAH See Patel.

TEETOTLERS
Even if the prohibition in Gujarat remains a topic of much debate, officially it’s a state where an inebriated Johnny will not walk the streets.

UNDHIYU
If so much space here is being dominated by food talk it’s not without reason. No other community could have the patience to make Undhiyu that at last count had 83 ingredients found only in winter.

VEGETARIANISM
With the world’s first vegetarian McDonald’s in Ahmedabad, this is now a globally accepted trait that no one argues with.

WANDERLUST
Gujaratis for the last decade or so have topped the list of travellers in India and abroad — in large numbers with kakas, kakis, bhais and bens in tow. Not to forget cooks proficient in whipping up Dhoklas in Denver and Fafdas in Finland. At last count over 30 per cent of Indian tourists abroad were Gujarati.

XTRA prudent
Not to be confused with stinginess, but you will never find a Gujju household going overboard with ostentation or unwanted extravagance. Okay, Antilia, may be an exception to the rule.

YANKEED
London is passe. Today the largest Gujarati diaspora resides in the United States, with the highest concentration of over 1,00,000 in the New York City Metropolitan Area alone. Over 40 per cent of the hospitality industry in the US is controlled by Gujaratis. (We can stop apologising about the
incessant reference to food)

ZEAL to excel  
Those who thought Gujjus spend all their time building family and fortune, here’s a reality check. From culture to art and architecture to sports, Gujaratis have pervaded over every field. Paresh Rawal, Farrukh Dhondy, Ismail Merchant, Mahesh Bhatt, Kaizad Gustad, Asha Parekh, Ayesha Patel, Aruna Irani and Parthiv Patel are just a few for whom excellence is serious business.

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