I love Ganesha, as you’d have probably known from the posts I put up. I may skip some festivities that we enjoy at home, but a miniature setup without his blessings seem barren. I enjoy celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi, probably with more pomp than my own birthday. While Krishna returned my mojo, I’ve always been fascinated with stories of the Elephant God.
It has a lot to do with me growing up in Mumbai. The festivities are at a peak in the 10-day festivities. Right from the day the lord arrives, to ananthachaturdashi (10th day of immersion) the locality I live in comes to life like we’d never known. As kids, I remember gorging on modaks in every household, including mine. We also discovered that no one in our society could hold a note, as they screeched in different pitches during the aartis twice a day. We’d often joke that someday, when no one is watching, the lord may just up and leave than be subjected to such rendition of hymns. No wonder the boys never left him alone for a second on his 5-day visit!
On key immersion days, we’d walk around the long stretch to the creek and the fair-like set up would leave us spellbound. From annoying trumpets and drums, to mini Ferris wheels, blowing soap bubbles, stalls of street foods, and the leaving idols in large trucks following large sound systems blaring music, everything seemed to have a rhythm, despite the cacophony.
Our locality was an important pitstop; all idols would be stopped at a particular point to either shower petals from an apparatus (that looked like a bird) hung high up, or canon that fired petals. As the decorated trucks awaited their turn, we’d run to the back and grab some Prasad (candies, fresh fruits or some sweets) on offer. It didn’t matter that they were strangers; people with devotion never have their intentions out of the ordinary, especially when the mightiest lord was watching out for us!
As we grew older, this innocent madness had to make way for grown up annoyances and impatience. We moved on to greener pastures, that led us away from our nests. It was only then that we realized how silly we had become. We now crave this ruckus, it pulls us back to our roots, forces us to return to our abode.
Then the pandemic happened. The festivities dimmed, noise returned as fear. We were reluctant to visit Ganeshji. The loud speaker blared less loudly. But he never forgot his promise. He returns without fail, and we still remind him, Ganpati Bappa Moriya, Pudchyavarshi laukar ya (Hail Lord Ganesha, come soon next year.) And even he obliges, because he knows, when he comes back, so do we!