Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ganesh festival: Sidelights

Missing the noise

Agreed. We want the celebrations pollution free, even noise pollution. The death of an elderly woman in Kolhapur, aparently becasue of the noisy Ganapati procession passing by her house causing her to death, has put all those huge sound boxes standing haughtily near each Ganapati mandals in the city under scanner.
But then, what’s the festivities without the sound of it?
Remember the good ol’ days, when you can hardly sleep for those 10 days becasue of all the noise on the street? Remember being immune to that dance number becasue you have heard it for more than a thousand times.
The festivities now have acquired a quieter form. There is no raunchy dance number making your nerves numb. The sound boxes are either quiet or playing Ganesh ‘vandana.’
But walking through the city post-midnight, from one mandal to another may not be like what it was earlier, especially when there’s no noise to give you company.
We sure would learn to adjust with it, hopefully.

The popular among them

Who’s is the celebrity Ganapati among the Ganapatis? The answer is easy: Dagduseth Halwai, who else? Everything works for Dagduseth, the popularity, the location and the grandeur, everything. The year, the pandal is luminating to the likeness of the Akshardham temple in Noida, Delhi. And the sea of humanity that preceeds the mandal at any time of the day would tell you about the populatiry level. If that’s not enough, just look at the volunteers at one corner of the mandal, who are tirelessly shorting out a big heap of coins and currency notes that devotees offered as ‘dakshina.’

Mandal magic

Talking about mandals, in most cases, the Ganapati idol is just an excuse; something else hogs the lighlight. At Hirabuag, it’s an episode from mythology, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu’s Narasimha avatar, with semi-automatic statues playing and replaying the scene before the eager visitors. At Grahak Peth, it’s a house made of biscuits. Mouth-watering indeed!

Walk, eat, celebrate

Eating out is one of the major attractions of the festivities. The eating joins near the mandals are open till the early hours of the morning, and no one is complaining. The owners are doing brisk business, the workers are getting extra money. But don’t they want to go out themselves? Yes. That would be on the last day.
But one bhel-puri vendor near a park isn’t so enthusistic about the festival. Becasue, these days, very fews people visit the park. and his business is poor. So, he has finally decided to close his shop and take his family for an evening out, for a change.

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