Its at least a month to go for Diwali but the carnivalesque around is something I am not used to. I have read about ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’, of course the ‘Ladoo extravaganza’ and the story behind the elephant trunk mounded on ‘Lord Ganesh’, and it is the only au fact, for me atleast, about the corpulent deity. Oh, Yes! How can we forget the mouse that looks upon the Ganesh idol in a desperate need to eat the ‘bulging savory’ which I am sure the Lord
does not acquiesce to?
That’s my story of ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’; the ‘plaster of paris’ idol succinctly throne on a shiny slab with raging voices in an arabesque of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’. This was all once a pomp & gaiety in the prolific state of Maharashtra and other southern states; I remember seeing photos of Ganpati idol being immersed on ‘Juhu Beach’. One could not even think of a ‘visarjan’ (immersion) happening in the Northern part of India as there is no beach there; we are left with the peripatetic ‘Ganga’ and ‘Yamuna’ which have now a high falutin dagger seeped into them by the grotesque pollutants and government negligence.
But, I am sure, Lord Ganesh could not keep himself away from the profligate Punjabis’ who would dive the dust no matter ‘what’ or ‘how’ to prove to be acceptable in the feather hut of ‘devotees flocking for a reason’ albeit the Delhites and the Gurgaon gelid are still finding a plausible reason to celebrate ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’.
I have a story of tell—not mine but of ‘Lord Ganesh’ after his arrival in the Northern hub, sitting pompously under the four pillar arcade kept on the wooden plank; flowers orchestrated around his mansion with artistic diyas glaring right into my eye. It’s my first experience of ‘Ganpati Visarjan’ and I have no clue of what to do, and my host sail in the same boat—matching-matching! So, we all decide unanimously to play some ‘Bhajans’ on
the phone. We try to match the Maharashtrian feel, to make it look efficacious. Gradually, the intent gets pretty clear! So everyone, in turn, moves closer to the idol, pays obeisance to the hallowed structure, prays for obliterating what seems ‘imperfect’ in our lives, eye the
Ladoo furtively and just be nice to the people around you. I actually got it!
We all are now right in our tracks but a pianissimo of voices around declare how ‘Ganesh Visarjan’ festivity is like ‘Diwali’. Huh! Did I hear correct?—the ‘dilliwalas’ and their ineluctable penchant for the festival of lights. I am assuming but it’s not far when there would be exchange of gifts on the Visarjan’ day commanding a life free from obstacles. What more, ‘Happy Visarjan’ will be decreed as a pleasantry note? ‘Lord Ganesh’ will be a
happy god hearing the paean and seeing devotees cavort in front of him; it will be a butter licked ceremony of pageantry and frippery.
I wonder how ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ gained such prominence among the Del-GGN hub. I only remember seeing the a photo of the deity on wedding cards or a small idol accentuated in the alcove of a room; it was never a arpeggio in the self-discursive need to gain affection. The reason could be boredom? Or an airy-fairy of ‘let’s follow the eisteddfod’ or the empiricism of a ‘Hindu God’ that has been neglected due to cultural affinities? The chase to be a part of the slugfest of ‘God’s Gamut’ ignores the raison d’etre, only remembering the a cappella.
The story does not end here! I casually asked my host if celebrating ‘Ganesh Visarjan’ was an ‘idea’ or ‘belief’. The answer took me by surprise and confirmed my eccentricity, ‘’it’s good to have people around, a distraction from the ennui, delicious food and the usual ‘chehel- pehel’. I did not hear what I wanted to! Isn’t ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ about bringing ‘Lord Ganesh’ at your abode so that its positive vibes illuminate your surroundings and ward off evils? Visarjan, though a complex process, takes away with it deleterious disturbances awkwardly crawling around.
Many of us might not have ratiocinated on this; all we are concerned about is the rodomontade of puerile explanations finally giving a way to Diwali 2.0. The idea is to celebrate a ‘belief’ and not the hagridden diorite of boredom or for that matter harnessing a cultural fluctuation to be a part of the social coterie.
Finally, the story ends and ‘Lord Ganesh’ is immersed in a tub of water. Tension strikes on everyone’s mind if the biodegradable idol will dissolve or not. I look in awe at the wonderstruck perpetuity to the ‘Gods’ in our country. Whats goes away with ‘Ganesh’ swimming in the eddy?—the difficulties, the dilettante or the dullness. I snuggle with these thoughts with an eye on the hors d’oeuvre.