Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gujjus DeClassified!

Caution: This post consist of sensitive information about a certain community of people most of whom occupy the western side of the country called India and in the most developed country of the world. However, if you are part of this community and your jaggery mixed blood boils, on reading criticism about your community, then the sugar in your jaggery filled blood will break-down to glucose. So cheers to your good health! 

Being spent all my childhood in Gujarat, when you go out you feel most gujjus are stereotyped in most cases. So to ensure stereotyping is being done correctly, I have mentioned some of the famous and not-so famous stereotypes here!

Jack-Ass Gujju
Shimmering shirt with an equal shimmering trousers / jeans to match, gelled hair, a gold chain and multiple phones with multiple sim-cards. He is the Gujju Casanova who does not mind an occasional drink of scotch. The selection of scotch is only for display purposes. Personally he wouldn't mind the taste of cheapest alcohol available in the market. As he is the Casanova, he is bound to be surrounded by some of the smartest gujju girls around. (more on gujju girls sometime later.) For the Casanovas, every situation in life would be a larger than life scenario keeping the surrounding gujju gals wide-eyed.

Bhakt Gujju
Strictly follows religion, does not eat meat, if highly conservative type then would not eat garlic, etc. Take them to a non-veg restaurant and you would enjoy the animated discussion they have with waiter as they will be sorting out which food item they can eat. At the end of it our friend will have something that will go with Paneer.

Dhaiyo Gujju
He is a variant slight variant of Conservative Gujju. This person does all the above activities, but prods him on a bit with chicken and a small drink, he will give in. But  beef and mutton remain in the Restricted category. A strict no-no. Taking him to a restaurant is like challenging your persuasion skills. You know he deep inside he yearns for the meat. Yet when asked the answer always stays no. Make him say yes and you won't need to read You can sell which is as fruitless as Bhajji trying to spin the ball.

Kalakkaar Gujju
"Jevo desh evo vesh" is their motto in life. (it translates to "When in Rome, do as Romans do.") They are the meat-eating Gujjus seen outside Gujarat. Within the border of Gujarat they will hold the lofty values of conservative gujju aloft but take them out of Gujarat and they turn back on those same values. We should never be harsh on these poor creatures. For them, their conscience bites when they have meat or alcohol. To soothe their bruised conscience, they placate themselves with this motto.

Kanjoos Gujju
They are the smartest people on earth and sometimes not so too. They have complex algorithm wired or hard-coded in their brain that does a cost-benefit analysis for any situation within a fraction of seconds. Although the return on your investments for this fraction of seconds might be a rupee or two, but it still its worth. Moreover, the result from this analysis is worth in gold. They can give the McKinseys, KPMGs and  Deloittes  a run for their money with their insights and analysis.

Jalebi Gujju
They are the gujju who love their fafdas jalebis, khakhras, khamans the best. You will always find them eating something. In Gujarat's dry climate you could see them sweat out oil from their chubby skin pores. But this is not their specialty. Their specialty is their confidence in knowing everything. Ask them the most difficult questions that humankind faces and they will come with prompt answers which probably only Google can beat. The flip-side is that most of the times they are incorrect. For visitors in Gujarat this is a bit disconcerting flip-side as the most reliable answer they thought they got would be the most off the mark.

Jalsa Gujju
Joi de vivre is their motto. They never say no to the sins of the world. They live to enjoy but they never take off the eye of the ball called life. However, occasionally they do take their eye off and they fall with a thud which is more comical than tragic. They first try to hide and then try to shrug it off but seeing its futility they laugh it off making it a memory. Caution need to be exercised as in company of them, you may also fall off but might not be able to laugh it off.

You may see a combination of these characters in various gujjus around you. Do not get surprised. Like the Gujju Thali in marriages, which has the aalu floating with the chunda, the gujjus also come in various flavors of the above characteristics. Do enlighten with the other stereotypes that I have missed out and leaving with a hot cutting chai that every gujju loves to serve and drink!

PS: Here the term Gujju does not apply only whose mother tongue is Gujarati. It also includes the vast majority who has been brought up in Gujarat including self.