Almost 2 months ago, I joined India Fellow and because of this I now live in Ahmedabad, also known as ‘world’s heritage city’, which is in the state of Gujarat. The experience in Ahmedabad has been a great one, and I feel one with the people and community here. The majority of people living in Ahmedabad are gujaratis, and here are some of the interesting things about them.
Food: “Ae Bhai Tane Thepla Joye Che?” (Brother do you need Thepla?), bhai khakra, dhokla, fafda, chakli, athanu ane chach and much more. This is something which you will hear in Gujarat constantly. Yes, these are the food in Gujarat. When they are traveling, they habitually carry boxes full of food. There is a sweetness in the food here, as people enjoy adding sugar to quite a bit of things. And if you are a Jain then Gujarat is like heaven to you. The most epic dish you can find is called the “jain omelette” which is not made of egg, but flour and vegetables. I am a Jain …
Garba: Navratri is the most celebrated festival in Gujarat and one of the most common dance forms especially during Navratri, is called garba. No matter whatever the occasion, there is a special time reserved for garba, whether it is a wedding, or any festival or even in parties. I have recently seen people doing the garba even during the Ganesh Chaturthi, which usually brings different cultural music and dance to the forefront. The beats of garba are catchy and can make anyone want to dance. If you are here during Navratri and do not know how to dance garba then it may not be taken in the best way. A good idea is to learn it, and accompany the community to all their festivities!
An entrepreneurial community: As a community, Gujaratis have been known for having a keen eye in business. Many historical trades and businesses in the country can be attributed to them. Even the state of Gujarat, the number of people engaged in business are fairly high than the remaining states as we can see that every 6 of the 10 richest Indians are Gujarati businessmen (some interesting quota information here), even though Gujaratis are only 4.48% of India’s population.
What this also helps us understand about the community is that they are willing to take risks and depend heavily on their ability to engage in business and make a living out of it. It shows a lot of independence, the spirit of responsibility and the ability to make profits. I have come to love and engage with this idea of entrepreneurship seeing all the people around me and their love for work and to create something and sustain it. They also have value for each and every rupee, Recently, I was travelling in a shared auto here in Ahmedabad, and the other person’s bill was 69.24 Rs. So he asked the autowalla for his 1 rupee back. And when the autowalla asked him to leave it, the man was indignant to get his money back. Now I hope you understand when people say gujaratis know how to do business, it’s because they value every single penny. They never think of business as their job, it’s their lifestyle.
Carefree: This is one of the qualities that define a gujarati, they do not get offended easily or not get angry either. They will laugh at jokes made upon them and also crack jokes on themselves. And if you say something, they will be like “we are like this”. They do not hold grudges against anyone. They have an attitude about being themselves. They do not care about whether people judge them or not, they are individuals in their own right. They have a happy-go-lucky nature and also follow this cycle of eat-sleep-pray-repeat which is easy to satisfy them. Whatever they do, wherever they go, the end result is always majja-ni-life.
Majja Ni Life which means celebrating life in English is the way of living here. Majja Ni Life is the voice of both the people and state. It shows the pride, easy going attitude and confidence of the Gujarati people. Majja Ni Life is a slogan for people who live here, the people who work here, the people who study here, the people who visit here and the people who come to Gujarat seeking a better future. Majja Ni Life enjoying every moment of life and that’s what I am doing here.