As this is the first blog officially in my new domain (Yay I own a domain now), so I thought why not start it with something that means a lot to me. In India festival season has begun. Though we do have so many festivals throughout the year but this is the time when all the grand events are consecutive. Recently we celebrated “Ganesh Chaturthi”, which is one of my favorite. Why is it celebrated? To answer this there are tons of articles all over the internet, I am not going to give history lessons here, this is more like what I feel about it.
Different people celebrate it differently. Back in the place where I grew up we used to keep Ganesha statue at our home for 10 days, there will be Pooja every morning and evening. Then on the day of “Ganesh Visarjan”, we take the statue to the lake for immersion. We used to start preparation way in advance. It involved creating a temple with thermocol sheets, various kinds of decorations, twinkly lights and also Indian sweets and stuff.
Back in the days, when I was a kid (Age wise although mental state has not much improved), before the Pooja starts, as we did not have phone, I will go to the window with a steel plate and a spoon and bang the hell out of it. All the kids around will hear and know that Pooja is about to start so they will come running. They will also follow the same ritual. This is one of the best memories I have. Even distributing Prasad after Pooja was considered an honorable job (perk was you can eat it, if no one was looking ;)). This is all about inside the house but out on the streets local committees will celebrate and those guys will have huge statues. My dad used to take me out on ride every day for whole 10 days. We will go to different areas of the streets to see decorations and Ganesh ji.
As I grew up and left my home for college I left all these things behind. I used to cry if I miss even one Pooja and then I went 10 years without any of it. But I always kept a hope that one day when I will have a home or family of my own I will continue doing it. Plan was to start it from this year but I fell sick, no worries I have waited many years I can wait one more. But I did do Pooja this year and went all around my home and the place where Visarjan happens in Bangalore.
In Bangalore, here it is little different. For common celebration on street, they need to take permission and they will be allotted with dates on which people can celebrate. In homes people celebrate for 1 day, 3 days or more. Here are some of the photos from around my house –
For Visarjan as per my information there are 3 places, Ulsoor Lake, Sanky tank, Hebbal Lake. Ulsoor Lake is most crowded and in here you can see gigantic statues.
I know most of the people don’t like the Visarjan or mainly the way it is handled but I like to see the good side of everything. This celebration brings everyone together. It spreads joy. You get to talk to people and participate in all these activities. How often it happens when a complete stranger asks you to lend a hand without any hesitation, as you are holding a 50kg fragile statue it does not leave any scope for hesitation. I love the lights, sound of music all around the city, people dancing like no one is watching. You can see variation in culture.
I and my father used to search for months to find perfect Ganesha statue for our house. People ask me many time how can you say perfect all gods are beautiful. I am not saying they are not but no one has seen God and there is a picture in my head how I want my God to look like.
What “Ganesh Chaturthi” means to me? It my childhood right there. It’s all the memories that I chose to hold on to.