Word: Jugaad

Mallika Rao at The Believer:

Jugaad is a hack, a hustle, a fix. It’s a lot from a little, the best with what you’ve got—which is likely not much, if you need jugaad. A “very DU word,” a Delhi University grad once explained to me, and I thought about how college students as a rule and around the world turn nothing into something (e.g., instant noodles).

I first learned the Hindi word in the summer of 2008, which I spent as an intern at a Delhi magazine called Money. A friend in another Indian city—an interloper in the old country, like me—revealed it on a call. She and I loved words. Back in Texas, we had devoured the words of Indian novelists, used them to build an alternate world, a fantasy India, as if our parents had never left (the voluble writers came in handy: Salman Rushdie, with his refracting tales; Vikram Seth, whose A Suitable Boy dropped with a life-changing thud). Jugaad explained a quality we knew about before we had the means to name it. For instance, when our parents took idlis on road trips because they valued fermentation as a preservation method long before Williamsburg shopkeepers taught the world to do the same.

more here.