Gujaratis are spread all over the world, yes. We are fun loving people, yes. We know how to take a joke on ourselves, yes. Certain characteristics are unique to us, agreed!
But there are so many things that are told and understood about us which probably are only partially true! I am a Gujarati and I can bet that most of the Gujaratis will agree to me on this. I have tried to compile a list of things or clichés, which are widespread but in reality, nowhere close to how we actually are!
1. We play Garba all the time
Yes, we love Garba. They are originated here. But hey, not all Gujaratis love to play Garba or love to play Garba. And it’s not like we play Garba on all the occasions.
We like Bhangra, too! Our people have also mastered many other forms of dancing as well! Meet Mallika Sarabhai, an accomplished Kuchipudi and a Bharatnatyam dancer.
2. We have a typical pronunciation.
Just like the South Indians and the North Indians! Yes, our is a bit different like everyone else, but then that is for our language, Gujarati. Not all of us have that accent when we talk in English.
Meet Ratna Pathak, an immensely talented actor, with great looks. Her performance in Sarabhai Vs. Sarabhai is known by all. We don’t really want to get into her pronunciation discussions, do we?
3. We are into business only.
We are very good at it, yes. They say, ‘business runs in the blood of every Gujarati.” But we are good at so many other things too! There are so many successful doctors, politicians, journalists, actors, singers, dancers – who are Gujaratis!
4. We only like sweet food.
We have a lot of dishes that aren’t sweet, seriously. Check “30 delicious Gujarati dishes that must get to your ‘to-eat’ list right away!” if you want to know about more.
5. We don’t drink.
Gujarat is a dry state, yes. That doesn’t mean we don’t like to drink. We have Diu and Daman hello.
6. We don’t like non-veg food.
It is available all over Gujarat because of the reason that a lot of Gujaratis do love eating non-veg food!
7. A Gujju doesn’t mean a Patel.
Patel is one of the most common surnames but then there are so many other surnames as well. There are Gujaratis all over the world who aren’t Patels!
8. All of us want to go to the U.S.
Because most of us have a well settled career here, in India. And if not here, you can find a lot of us in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, U.K., etc. ;)
9. We absolutely love Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah.
As irritating and stereotypical as the show might be, not all of the Gujaratis love watching it. There are a few like me who hate it to the core!
10. We are big time misers.
Not. When we spend, we don’t look behind. I would agree that most of us don’t indulge into unnecessary expenses, but miser is definitely not the word for us!
This is Mukesh Ambani’s house. Yep, no biggie.
11. We pray NaMo.
The Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi is from Gujarat and it is a general notion that Gujaratis pray him. He has been doing some great work for the nation, no evidence is required for the same. But it isn’t like all the Gujaratis pray him like he’s God. We all respect him, but different people have different opinions, which holds true for this as well!
12. We can’t speak other languages.
Oh yes we can, and let me tell you, big time! Not getting deep into statistics, I am very sure that most of the people here know/and or understand at least 3 languages – Gujarati, Hindi and English.
13. Gujarati movies are just village stories and other nonsensical crap.
Again, there’s no denying that a lot can be done for the Gujarati entertainment sector and that the movies are as pathetic as can be, but we have some outstanding movies like The Good Road which was nominated for the Oscars. There are other movies too, like Kewi Rite Jaish, Saptapadi, Bey Yaar, etc. which have brought a spark of hope for the Gujarati cinema to flourish.
14. We eat jalebi fafda all the time.
Trust me, not only myself, but there are so many people who simply hate jalebi and fafda big time. We cannot eat it all the time, obviously!
15. The most common names here are Jignesh and Jigisa.
Thanks to Bollywood and the Indian Television industry for stereotyping, but no, we have a lot of other names too.
P.S. my real brother’s name is Jignesh and he hates it just because of all the stereotyping done around it!
16. We say “off thai gaya” when someone dies.
Just because some of us do, it doesn’t mean that the entire Gujarati community uses this phrase to address someone’s death.
17. We address every girl as ben.
Thanks to stereotyping again, but hey, we don’t do that. What kind of a sane man would address his spouse as, ‘ben’? (Ben means sister in Gujarati.)
18. We say Jay Shree Krishna all the time.
Hello Bollywood, again. Personally I know a lot of people here who hate to say this.
19. We not call all types of noodles “Meggi”!
Maggi is Maggi and noodles are noodles! We get it, okay?
20. Bargaining runs in our blood.
Not. It doesn’t. Some Gujaratis are pro at it, but some simply cannot!
21. All of our caller tunes/ringtones have a garba song.
Nope, it’s not like that. Why, you ask? Because we do have a good taste in music!
Look at the crowd that attended A.R. Rahman’s concert in Ahmedabad!
22. We can’t pronounce the letter ‘H’.
Rames, Sures, Jayes…NOT! It is a general perception that we fail to pronounce the letter ‘H’. We very much can, loud and clear!
I am very sure I have missed out a few! Do let me know in the comments section below!