Being a hardcore Mumbaite, I have always loved Ganesh Chaturthi festival since I was a little girl. Although, we never kept an idol at home until few years ago (An interesting story below), my husband’s side have been following this tradition since a long time. Though the celebrations weren’t as grand as in the present day, nevertheless, all the traditions were followed including immersion at the nearby pond.
Now comes the story, I always wanted to celebrate Ganpati at home, if not for 10 days (couldn’t manage it with work & of course I was living alone in Mumbai city then). I decided that on my 31st birthday, I should be finally fulfilling my dream of welcoming Lord Ganesha at my home so planned to bring him for 1.5 days. I had no idea of what needed to be done when Ganeshji is brought home so consulted few friends, arranged a Pandit who could do the pooja early morning, contacted a florist who could decorate a small mandap for the staphana. So yeah, finally I could manage to get the entire thing done, called up my sister who was in Pune (her Inlaws) & asked her if she could join. She along with my then 2 year old niece, Shloka came a day prior to me getting the Ganpati home which was such a blessing.
Everything went well & many of my friends came over to seek Bappa’s Darshan & gorged on some lovely food n snacks (I have always enjoyed being a host & feeding people, still do!) & it was time for visarjan at Malad Marve Beach.
There I was 31 years old, single, determined, holding Lord Ganesha in my arms & waving him goodbye with tears in my eyes (I still cry bitterly when he is taken away from our hands for Immersion) saying a quiet thank you & he in turn promising to return back next year.
Within the next couple of months, I met Narayan & we decided to get married.
So, now you know why Lord Ganesha is so special to me. Well he promised to take care of me & also chose a life partner for me like Narayan so that I could carry on with the tradition. Miracles do happen, Have Faith & Do Much!!
Every year since then, I have been working really hard to improvise on the decorations done at home. Each year I decide on the mandap decorations & theme. Being the OCD that I am, everything has to run smoothly with Plan B in place, in case of any last minute hurdles. Every inch of my body aches once the celebrations are over but it is definitely worth it! For I am who I am because of the Almighty. Narayan does a superb role of being my solid support & enjoys / encourages (I would assume) my madness every year.
So, for this year’s theme, we opted for the Temple / Rural look with bells made of flowers & the whole mandap was decorated with flowers & pearls. The colour theme is based on the colour of the Lord’s attire. Our Bappa was this year seated on a mooshak or oondir (Mouse in Marathi).
Like every year, our home for the 1.5 days of Ganpati is no less than a celebration. We have friends & family visiting from far off places. Some specially come to see the decoration too which truly makes me work hard on the next year’s agenda. It is a celebration of food (the Lord is undoubtedly a great foodie) & people who come together.
What do festivals teach us? Maintain a social circle & be cohesive. The forever busy Mumbai life doesn’t leave us any time to actually hang out (I don’t mean sending watsapp msgs or chatting on FB) .. literally meeting people & talking. Lack of such interactions lead to many issues. I am glad my childhood was admist people not gadgets & its the main reason why I still love interacting with people face to face more.
The whole 10 days until Ganpati visarjan, Mumbai is decorated, celebrated & lit up. Every nook & cranny has Ganeshji ki Staphana & people singing bhajans & aartis. Although at times there are other bollywood numbers played too but I am certainly sure the Lord is not pleased with those. These 10 days are a reminder that admist the maddening crowd of Mumbai & the ever so busy population, there is always time to bow your head, say a silent prayer & hope that all hurdles are crossed / conquered with Bappa’s help.
Ganpati Bappa Morya .. Pudhcya Varshi Lavkar Ya !! (translates in Marathi as “please come back soon next year”)
Sharing some of the pictures of Bappa at our Home !!
Ganpati Welcomed at home a day prior (to be covered & kept)
Morning rituals include Abhishekham or holy bath, vastram or attire & pooja with garlands etc.
Prasad (Sweet Kozhukattai / Ukadiche Modak, Brown Chana Sundal, Sheera, Paruppu Saadam or Dal rice with ghee & Store Bought Mava Modaks)
Decorations at Entrance to home