Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ek, do, teen, chaar...Ganpati ki Jai-jai kaar

Considering the fact that I spent my whole life in Kolkata celebrating the Durga pujo in all its splendor, the Ganesha festival in Mumbai was a more calm and serene affair.
I have seen too many of those Bollywood songs, with HUGE Ganpati idols and loads of people thronging the streets. Maybe that made me expect that it happens like that in reality too. Slightly off-mark.
There are some nice pandals here and there, but mostly its a family festival with people celebrating and worshiping a one-and-a-half foot idol. The lights...hmmm...were unimaginative. Plain rows of lights (like the ones which Amitabh Bacchan wore while dancing to Saaraa Zamanaa) dotted each of the streets. I don't think I would have realised there was a puja going on if my roommate didn't talk about Lalbaugcha Raja. That, my friends, is the famed puja for which people stand in line for hours at an end...A colleague of mine went at 6 in the morning. By mid afternoon he was too tired to even get out of the line...Needless to say i would never stand in a line for so long...No matter how "jagrat" the idol is..or how yummy the modaks are...
Yes, i wasn't much impressed by the whole event..(which by the way is still going on)...
But...yes...there is a but...I loved the days of immersion. Last week, when the immersion was taking place there were groups of as little as 6 people carrying an idol in their arms, shouting Ganpati Bappa... And kids were dancing, aunties singing, teens romancing outta the corner of their eyes... The lane itself was crowded with Vada-Pao stalls, n firework shops, vendors selling balloons and soap-bubbles...The works...Indian kitsch in all its glory!!
And yes...the modaks..those are N.I.C.E. I even tasted one made out of Kaju...and another which looked refreshingly like a momo..
All I need to do now is to ask some localites how they feel during this festival.. People at home would probably call a strike (or a Bangla Bandh with Banerjee didi) if they were asked to come to office every single day of the Durga Pujo.. And I'm sure recession or no recession..people still shop as much in Gariahat and New Market before the festival..Unlike that, here its not much about show..(don't ask me what IS it about)..But as long as people enjoy and worship something like that...I cant complain...
And now i have to wait for tomorrow...One more day of immersion..and lots of crackers..and chants...and oily food!!!!

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