What was your biggest cultural shock when visiting Gujarat?
I was in Ahmedabad for a year so the experiences are from Ahmedabad only which i am sharing here.
First: People are nice about their own work. However "Religion" is a touchy issue here. People are very much sensitized about the religious identity i feel from a very young age. The pleasant shocking part was that women are so much safe to travel and go around even till late night without the fear of sexual predators. The worst shocking part was that "Muslims" seem to be pushed in a corner of old Ahmedabad where most of them are crammed as per community style living. The name of the place is Juhapura. You can even get a taste of the forbidden fruit there (read beef) if you are not caught by Hindu Vigilantes and lynched to death ;-)
Second: Even at the risk of sounding cliched it is true that Gujarati people look more for the aspects of enterprise colloquially known as "Dhanda". The idea of lame talk is not really a cup of tea which was a bit of shock coming in from Kolkata where a chit chat beyond the nuances of business and jobs to delve into politics and sports was rampant. That part is only possible hiking a ride on Uber, Ola, private taxi and of course auto rickshaw !!
Third: The food is nice with the heavy bomber names such as Dhokla, Khakra and Thepla but the too much of sweet or salty with the spice effect somewhat i feel missing was a disaapointment if not shock. Gujarat has some great food especially the snack but despite the fishy stereotype of Bengali's the saliva dripping spicy food or the eggplant fry missing was a mild shock for me personally
Fourth: The culture of the people are friendly but going back to the previpus point at the very beginning of the answer the conservatism lies deep. The cultural notions based on community, caste and religion is evident in some form of the society despite me being in a priviledged position i could not help avoid.
I'm from Kerala and last year I moved to Ahmedabad.
Food : from morning to night most of the people will eat roti - roti - roti . South Indian foods should not be tried because they won't taste good . But in Gujarat food is delicious and you can get all variety of it . Filter coffee is not at all available.
Traffic : there is no traffic sense for people while driving , anyone can drive however they want , no one will stop at signals , very few people wear helmets ,etc compared to my my city Trivandrum everyone follows signals and majority wear helmets and drive according to the rules fixed. Traffic in Ahmedabad is more compared to Trivandrum.
Night Life : people happily roam around at night whereas in my city it is less.
Madrasi tag : when everyone comes to know I'm from south India most of them tag me as if I'm coming from Madras and start calling me 'madrasi'. Even if I told them I'm coming from Kerala.
Climate: I'm Ahmedabad the climate is very hot or very cold but compared to my state which has only a single weather mostly hot , during monsoon it gets cool.
Festival : the main festival is Diwali which gears us more vacation compared to Onam , Christmas for which we get more leaves in Kerala.
Surname : everyone needs to know your full name first name is not enough for any . When I opened a bank account I left the column surname blank and the staff told me to fill it up so I said to them that in my birth certificate I just have my first name with initials of my father's name and I told them I don't want to change that in the name of account also, the staff started to yell at me and told me to write it and I didn't so finally she settled down to write my father's full name and from a part of my father's name she put it as my surname. Not just the banks outside also people want to know my full name which till now I haven't told to anyone .
Thanks for A2A,
I have worked with people from gujarat. Friendly people,, they never poke their noses in your business.
But Biggest cultural shock??
Though i have been to dahej and bhavnagar once i did not get the chance to go out. So i am yet to be amazed by her beautiful culture.