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Jugaad: Hack Your Way Through Life



Jugaad: Hack Your Way Through Life

The quintessential Indian solution to everyday problems

As Indians, jugaad comes naturally to most of us! This desi word has now found a place in the Oxford Dictionary too. Officially defined as ‘a flexible approach to problem-solving that uses limited resources in an innovative way’, jugaad is basically a quick, clever, and affordable solution to everyday problems.

The Small Jugaads of Life

We bet you’ve seen jugaad all your life — sipping tea from the saucer to cool it quicker, or using a kadai and a wire for a stronger cable signal, or suspending a basket from the upper floor of a building to buy sabzi from the vendor without stepping down!

Jugaad is when a hundred people hop on to a public bus that can hold only fifty. It happens only in India, right?

All these hacks might sound insane or rather amusing to someone outside India, but we locals know how to find witty shortcuts. No wonder author Navi Radjou has written an entire book on applying the concept of jugaad to business innovation.

Arnav Khanna (20), a college student from Delhi, believes in the concept and does a lot of jugaad himself. He says, As long as it is harmless and lawful, I don’t think there is any problem in finding a shortcut.”

He also rightly points out, “Gone are the days of hard work — it’s time for smart work now. And jugaad is nothing but smart work.”

Using Jugaad to Address Bigger Issues

It’s clear that young Indians like you and me are all in favour of jugaad. We are able to find solutions when it seems like there are none. But when it comes to some more important issues, we simply get away by saying we are helpless.

From political issues, health and education, to women’s safety, there are so many areas of concern that need to be addressed by us millennials. If jugaad is new-age innovation, why not use it to truly improve our society?

How about finding a way out for eve-teasing and letching? Perhaps, a hand band which instantly gives a shock when somebody tries to harass a woman?

Let’s also find a jugaad for kids being forced to beg at the signal — and a jugaad to eliminate poverty and illiteracy. Just as we suspend a basket for vegetables, why can’t we put out a basket full of books and stationery for underprivileged kids?

Shoe picking is common at temples in India, so people simply tie up their shoes to their bikes. Now I wish there was a jugaad that could tie people’s regressive thinking and blind faith to the past.

These are just ideas. There is so much more we can do if we just paid more attention to the real issues. Jugaad is surely an Indian speciality but alas, we only apply it to our petty little problems.

We need to open our minds to change. Even if old-school beliefs and traditions are being forced upon you by your elders, rise above it and try something new.

Indians around the world are lauded for their intelligence and creativity — jugaad included! So use it wisely and use it well.

Image Credit: (1), (2), (3)




A wife, a mother and a blogger and has gradually managed to handle all three together (though not without coffee). Shilpa is keen on pursuing her lost dream of becoming a writer. She likes to eat and wants to reduce at the same time.

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