What is it like to grow up in a typical Gujarati household?

(Cross posted on my Quora profile)

I have written this post from a general Gujarati household perspective. However, there is a huge bias towards how I was brought up. So, please don't generalize it to all Gujjus.

And comments are welcome! :)



Food

  • Breakfast or school tiffin includes thepla, khakhra, fafda-jalebi, poha and upma. My mom would rarely give me something which is not homemade (bread, etc).
  • Lunch has a typical north Indian meal but has its own unique taste and texture. Thin rotis, sweet daal, a couple of vegetable curries, curd / buttermilk, and a farsan (Gujarati snack, generally fried). Farsan can include patra, dhokla, bhajiya, gota, etc.
  • Evening snacks can have either of the farsan.
  • Dinner is usually light, and depends on the household. Some might have lunch menu all over again, or otherwise simple stuff like khichdi, vesan, etc or non-gujju food like pav bhaji, idli, dosa, etc.
  • Mango is given supreme importance in summers. A Gujju must eat mango properly for those two months of the year. So much that my grandmom won't let me go to a summer camp just because I would miss on the Aamras. It's so popular that they have mango winning contests on radio and mall shows.

Business and Education

  • Mostly your father would be involved in business of some kind, and mother would be a housewife.
  • I learnt a lot of things from my dad. Basic taxation rules, how to write accounts, what's a turnover, GP, how to save taxes legally, basic stock market practices, etc.
  • Education is given importance, but not to the extent I have seen in southern states. You would rarely find a Gujju doing a PhD. Many people opt for commerce and CA. This is because there will be some joint business or the other, where your father will 'set' you in for your livelihood. This is in sharp contrast to other states where securing a government or private job is the dream goal for most of the parents.
  • My father is more likely to fund my new startup than spending a crore on my MS. He thinks it's every bania's duty to feed the stomach of at least five people under him! This business risk taking ability is kind of in our blood.
  • Gujjus account for >20% of stock and bullion trading. So naturally, one would find people glued to business channels.


Patels, US contacts and cousins

  • We all will have at least one relative who owns a motel in US. Patel is a very famous community who own multiple chains of motels and hotels in the US. So if we want something cheap from US, we will always have someone flying back to India at any point of time.
  • No matter which part of the world you are in, you will be able to manage to find some third-cousin's-best friend's-uncle who will be more than happy to receive you at the airport of an estranged city, and will make you feel home till you get settled!

Tourism

  • We tour a LOT. You can find 'Gujarati Bhavans' in all the major tourist places in India, and also abroad. But we like to carry our own food. We will always have theplas, khakhras and some other dry snacks in our luggage.

Marriage and festivals

  • Navratri, Uttarayan and Diwali are the most famous festivals. Even though these might be celebrated in other parts of India, each festival has it's own unique Gujarati flavour. For e.g., eating Undhiyu in UttarayanChopda Pujan (special puja for Accounting books) in Diwali, Garba-Dandia-Raas (folk dance) in Navratri.
  • However "educated" and "modern" you are, your parents still expect you to go the arranged marriage way, or at least marry within the same caste/religion.
  • Marriages are pompous and a three day affair in general. There is no prevalent dowry system in middle/upper-middle class weddings that I have seen, but people exchange a shit ton of gifts during marriage. AFAIK, there is no pressure in giving or taking. It's only dependent on your financial capability and willingness.


Status of women

  • Women in general are respected, but even the most so called "modern" families are not completely feminist. All the responsibilities of a home will still fall on the women in the house, even though she has her own job.
  • People would still prefer girls going into "women/home friendly jobs" like college professor, doctor, teacher, etc.
  • Due to the recent development in Gujarat and influx of other communities from all over the India in cities like Ahmedabad, Surat and Baroda, people are becoming more open minded about these things day by day.

Misc

  • Not all of us know English, but we sure as hell try to speak in it. We attach a social status for knowing English. Some of us, especially Kathyawadi, have a very sweet accent.
  • We don't frequent malls for shopping. Gujjus are very particular about value for money. You wouldn't find many Gujjus shopping for branded clothes. However he wouldn't mind spending 1000 per plate on a full Gujarati buffet.
  • Going out, or fun activities, usually means going out for nice food. Since it's a dry state, there is no culture of drinking, and those who do are frowned upon.
  • We love Narendra Modi, because most of the middle class has actually noticed change happening at ground zero.

Comments

  1. There's only so much one can do to avoid stereotypes but I guess they exist for a reason, right? Pretty much the same story around my house as well, haha. Great attention to detail, man!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very interesting details.it refreshed my mind after a day long household chores.keep it up buddy.��

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very interesting details.ir refreshed my mind after a day long household chores.keep it up buddy.��

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Movie review - Spiderman - Homecoming

My jab at sketching!