You’ll hear people talk about them, bitch about them and curse them. But the fact remains that you can’t ignore them. Yes, it is indeed true. We are everywhere. Being a Gujarati comes with its own set of pros and cons. Here are some things you have definitely faced if you’re a Gujju.
1. The overseas myth – “You must have so many relatives abroad!”
Yes, agreed that we have turned some parts of USA into Gujju colonies (which I’m not proud of BTW) but some of us are not getting visas because of this. No, not all of us have relatives in the UK and USA (or Canada, Australia, NZ, and so on…). We’ve spread far and wide but some of us are still rooted in our motherlands. Cut us some slack. Not all of us like statements like, “Oh! You must be having so many relatives abroad!” or “USA must be like a next-door neighbor to you.”
2. The Modi myth – “Narendra Modi must be your role model.”
Most of us do behave like we own the Prime Minister just because he is Gujarati, but there are a few of us who don’t just blindly believe in everything he does or says. Just like there are believers and non-believers in everything, so is the case here (mind you, I’m not saying that I don’t like him). I know many people in the Gujarati community who don’t hang on to his every word, and against popular belief, we too, disagree with some, few or many of his beliefs, so don’t ask us if he is a God to us or if he is our role model.
3. Thepla, khakra, khaman, dhokla – “Is thepla and khakra your favorite food?”
Yes, we are a foodie community and proudly so. Being Gujaratis, all of us have been pestered endlessly about this. But there are some of us who are beyond khakra and thepla and in fact there are few of us who don’t like these items at all. So, stop assuming that these are our favorite food items.
4. The accent – “How come your English is so good?”
This one irritates me the most and being an English trainer+writer, I have been asked this by almost every person I have ever come across. Yes, it’s hard to believe that a Gujarati can be fluent in English, but don’t ridicule them instead of respecting them. Not all of us mix our ‘holes’ and ‘halls’ so take a chill pill.
5. Businessman/woman – “Your father must be businessman.”
Most Gujaratis are very successful businessmen and it’s a matter of great pride for our community. But even this has its consequences. Almost every person we come across will say to us, “Your father must be a businessman.” So, let’s get it out there that some of us belong to the service and labor class. Not every Gujarati can be an Ambani, c’mon!
6. Limited friends – “Why do you have only Gujju friends?”
Well, because it’s hard not to! As I said earlier, we’re everywhere. But that does not mean we do not befriend people from other communities. I, myself, take great pride in saying I have friends from almost each community ranging from north to south, east to west, and minority to majority. And no, we do not consider people from other communities as being lower to us. Even that is a myth. We’re sweet, fun loving and warm people. 😀
7. The travelling myth – “You must be carrying an entire bag of snacks while travelling.”
Who doesn’t like traveling? I mean, any person irrespective of his/her community loves doing this. And what’s wrong with carrying some snacks and food while away from home? It’s for our good, no? Comes in handy when there’s nothing available. And the people who ask such questions are the first ones to come crawling to us for food when hungry (double standards I tell you). Yes, we prefer to carry our food, but even here, not all of us do this. So, stop assuming that just because your co traveler is a Gujju, he must be carrying khakra and thepla.
8. Navratri myth – “Navratri must be your favorite festival.”
Umm…okay…we overdo this one. But who doesn’t like to dance? You don’t? Well let me tell you then that not all Gujratis love garba and Navratri (surprised?!). In fact, some of us crib about the loudspeakers and irrelevant expenses just as you do. So, next time you’re around a Gujju, don’t be so sure of the Navratri love.
All said and done, we don’t mind it when people poke fun at us (only reflects on our popularity) but then it’s wrong to assume a person’s habits and preferences based on his community. You’d not like it either, would you? So, all I am saying is, next time you come across a Gujarati, see if you can refrain from doing the above. Now, I am going to go have some khakras and theplas.