Seldom has one not been charmed by festivals. We Mumbaikars love a good boisterous festival and Ganesha seems the right start after the dull gloomy monsoons, accompanied by festivities while adding colour and flavour to the season. Eagerly awaited the festival holds many meanings to different reasons, perhaps.
As a child it was all about new clothes, good food flavors wafting from kitchens, unending guests trooping into homes to pay obescience to the deity with mischievous twinkle in those benign eyes. It brought with it the much awaited respite from our humdrum routine of school, not forgetting the sweets especially modaks galore, then were the mandal hopping,watching the idols of myriad shapes, sizes, colours and hues with decorated back drop sets, queuing patiently with prayers in our hearts and lips synchronised not withstanding the huge crowds. Nothing dampening the spirit and fervour except an odd downpour which threatened to ruin the fun.
Now, each year as the festive season approaches there’s the throb and spirit in the air but the vivacity missing a trifle, maybe as older as we are bogged with life’s many cares, festivals don’t charm anymore. Perhaps, we expect more from life than that the innocent childhood dreams of new clothes food, fun and frolic.
This Ganesh Festival, when I set out determined to recapture the lost vignettes, I wasn’t disappointed, it being the day of Ganesha visarjan-the festival now popular in million homes where families have decided to propitiate the little god in their homes hoping to be blessed, willing to serve, hopeful of happier days to be bestowed.
On the streets were families teeming with idols having done their most and best to the god having spoken their last annual prayers. Some blessed in their cars and SUVs with ganeshas in arms looking sedate in slow traffic and there were the crowds in lorries, tempos and handcarts with their ubiquitous ganeshas bang in the centre with all the grandeur and fervour.
Amongst the crowds were some very fashionable and still others over the top all set to outdo the others in revelry -every group in their own very best gay and merrily bidding adieu to their favourite god for he’d been to their welcome homes, happily partaken their hospitality, shared their food and offering, seen their dreams and fears alike, now carrying with him their million prayers and hopes.
I spotted this little cheery noisy group merrily carting away their little ganesha in the midst, dancing to ear splitting drums and DJ music it’s called, flinging gulal while swinging in gay abandon and A closer look revealed they were poorly dressed in whatever their best could have been.
Their rugged children ran alongside the carts chanting aloud while clashing cymbals quite proud and happy in their own way of having the charmed guest at their homes too, the woman folk danced along the men feisty, having forgotten their cares for another day.
Faith is a great leveller perhaps it needed the little god to put back some cheer into their lives. No different were their prayers from the others but deeper was their faith to scrimp and scourge a little from their drudgery to bring the little god into their homes where he stayed like he does at everyone else’s, while bringing greater light into their dreary lives.