7 Things you are bound to hear from Gujju grandparents
Having grandparents is a blessing and especially if you are able to see them often or live with them. Many Gujarati families, not just in India but globally live in extended families with Dada(grandpa), Ba(grandma), Kaka(paternal uncle), Kaki(Kaka’s wife) and other relatives. When you live in an extended family you are loved by many and you are surrounded by many opinions and beliefs. You learn from their experience and expertise and form your own belief system. When you visit your extended family if you don’t live with them then you hear some of these things. Some Gujarati translation is literal and some is not.
Some silly and some important things Gujju grandparents say:
1. Are…tu to bahoo moto thayi gayo? Chhele joyo tyare saav aatlo hato.. – Oh you grew up so fast when I saw you last you were so little. This is a typical thing to say for many relatives in different cultures. It is like an ice breaker since they haven’t seen you in a long time they have nothing to talk about.
2. Mara jamaanaa maa to… – In my days. My Dada always said this to us as he read his Gujarati News. As many of our grandparents grew up with less and they learned to make do with things they love reminding us of this. However they forget there were good things to learn from those hard times but times are different now and things are done differently. In the end their intentions are good.
3. Sanghrelo saap sona no…. Kyare kaam laage Khabar nahi – you never know when saved things may come in handy. Literal Gujarati translation is ‘a saved snake can fetch you gold’. This hoarding mentality of many Gujju grandparents and parents comes from the place of not having enough and learning to be resourceful with what they had. They simply can not throw things away! and sometimes thats a good thing.
4. Ooth Savaar padi gayi, …saav aadsoo… – Wake up its morning you lazy bum. The concept of sleeping in and relaxing is a little foreign to them. Their belief is that to be productive and smart in life one must get up early and go to bed early. However most of them nap in the afternoon to recharge:) They mean well but Gujarati language can be harsh sometimes.
5. Paisa nu zaad chhe taaraa vaadaa maa?…. – You got a money tree in your yard? When you want to spend money on things that are not deemed worthy or necessary in their minds this is what they say. One of the best value you learn as a Gujarati child is to be careful what you spend on and how to save money. However no one likes hearing this from their parents:)
6. Aa le..Khaane…tu to ekdam sukayi gayo chhe… – Eat, you are so skinny. This is typical of grandparents in many cultures but so good in the Gujju families. “Aaagrah”- Insisting that you eat and eat and eat till you are ready to explode is how you are normally fed by a grandparent. Don’t say you like a certain type of food unless you really do like it because the next time you visit it will be “ ene to bahu bhaave, ene khavadaaviye”( oh he loves that lets feed him that all the time)!
7. Bhagwan nu naam le ne…. When was the last time you prayed? Gujju Grandparents see it as their responsibility to teach you about God and if you are one of the blessed ones you actually get to experience this and other valuable lessons from them!
If you have experienced any of the above, know that you are one of the few lucky ones blessed to have a Gujarati grandparent!
Gujarati families traditionally were extended families. My grandmother grew up in a large house with her seven sisters and a brother along with her parents, her dad’s two brothers, their wives, grandparents and eleven cousin brothers and sisters. Now if she called out to her “aunty” it would be confusing to them especially if her mom’s sister was visiting. It was also considered disrespectful if she used their first names. This was the case in many large families where more than 20-30 people lived under the same roof.
The Gujarati language has different names for different relationships not only to make things simpler but also to signify the unique bond of each relationship. There are songs and nursery rhymes to show these special bond. For example, “Mama(maternal uncle) nu ghar ketle, divo bade etle” ( How far is Mama’s house? oh almost there see where that light is that’s where).