Ganpati Bappa Morya! Ganeshchaturthichya Hardik Shubhechha! Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!
I am an agnostic. I perform the Ganesh arati and bow to the elephant God. You must be thinking! He is a bag full of contradictions. That I am and always. Ganesha gives me the power vibes and makes me sparkle, like the dazzling sun. It’s my personal equation with Ganesha. He is my cute little friend to whom I share quite a few secrets, the time he visits and burst through the cloudburst.
Bappa draws me to him and the energy is so potent, vibrant and full of life. He reminds me of the Pune and Mumbai days, walking by all human made pandals, stopping for a darshan and walking towards my journey in the scorching sun. I can’t remain my first Ganesh Chaturthi. But, I vividly remember the Visarjan days where a truckload of humans sprinkling colors and celebrating in jest. I sorely miss the celebration going in full swing, drum beating, and dancing to the tune of mad Hindi songs in the slum and on the road. This is Ganesh Chaturthi for me. I love it! I know many are against the loud noises made but it makes Ganesh Chaturthi endearing. After all, what’s Mumbai, Pune or Maharashtra without the maddening celebration?
The seamless crowd, cutting through the swathe of crowded road harks me back to the year 2007 when I just shifted bag and luggage to Mumbai at Churchgate. Along with my roomie, Lalit, we walked from B-Road at Churchgate for the Visarjan at Chowpatty beach. It was truly a moment to reckon for me, sinking in the absurd crowd singing, dancing and shouting on the street, ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya!’ There was no single space on the beach and we went along with the crowd, swimming in the tide only to realize that we were going towards the water. Moments of absolute bliss.
The Ganesha statues, huge, small, medium and you are in for a treat which was captured on the new Nokia phone that I got for Ganesh Chaturthi. The whole celebration was captured on video but it’s another story that the mobile was stolen after three months. I stayed without a phone. I missed the Ganesha shots.
Ganesh Chaturthichya made my Mumbai days bliss and sinking in its revelry that makes me look back with fondness on the city unplugged. It was SoBo (South Mumbai) Chaturthi celebration and of course with a Maharashtra flavor. I am not a born Maharashtrian but love the rich and beautiful culture. The Chaturthi celebration cemented my bond with fellas Maharashtrian and non-Maharashtrian friends. The Pandals on every nook-and-corner of the road and streets adding color and sweetness to the Ganesha celebration in cities like Mumbai and Pune. It echoes our identity as Indians, celebrating our differences but also coming as One showcasing our unity and tolerance.
Ganesha is a beautiful symbol. It’s about passion, love, tolerance, knowledge, wisdom and everything humans love. Of course, I love to gorge on Modak. Mom and my friend Awanija was just telling me yesterday on the coincidence that Ganesh Chaturthi, this time, was on September 6th the day we celebrate Teacher’s Day in India. Can it get more symbolic than that!
Wishing you a year of wisdom, health, wealth, and awesomeness this Ganesh Chaturthi. Ganpati Bappa Morya! Ganeshchaturthichya Hardik Shubhechha!