I dare that anybody Indian has not heard this chant – whether in a movie, aarti, home, during the festival – in some way or other.
After my travels when I finally shifted to Bombay, many moons ago, this 10 days festival was still something that everyone looked forward to. Friends and colleagues who brought Ganpati home invited you over for Darshan, Aarti, Prasad and maybe followed by Snacks/Dinner. And I really enjoyed myself, making every attempt to attend to all invites.
Off hand, I really do not know when the fatigue set in, but I seem to recall not being in town on the day and not making it on the second day to an ex bosses place. He was affronted so much so that he avoided me for quite a long time, and finally when he met, he had an accusing look on his face – You did not come for Ganpati this year? I was shocked. No amount of explanation served any purpose but so put off was I that I stopped visiting his place during the festival.
And then I suddenly realised the spate of invites that had begun, from acquaintances who have not even bothered to meet you, call you; ‘friends’ who keep making plans but never meeting suddenly insist that you have to come for Ganpati. These thoughts had manifested itself in a flurry of tweets a couple of years ago and again yesterday:
Once there used to be the love, eagerness for Ganpati to be brought home, or visited. Now it is ‘Oh! God the noise, nuisance….
Friends, colleagues, acquaintances bring Ganpati home, send a generic invite to everyone in the phone book, as if it is a ‘Offer/Discount’
A lot of these people think that it is their ‘good deed’ for the year; forgetting that they have not kept in touch during the year.
Some people who you barely know/interact with expect you to turn up en famile, if you do not take it as a personal insult.
Invite for Ganpati darshan is like a wedding invite, catered food, dressing up et all – forgetting that did Ganpati ask for all this?
Hey! Do you bring home the Ganpati for your solace, gratitude or to show off the glitter and play up the ‘Lakhani or Parikhs’?
Over the years, the fashion of bringing Ganpati for 11/2 days has turned ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ into a year round business.
Why do we want to commercialise everything? Why do we want to show off? Is it that the more flashy we make a festival or spend more to show off the Ganesh idol, the more likely that we would be blessed? Then what about those who cannot afford to do so?
I am sorry but this does not work for me. Do I believe in God. Yes. Do I pray? Yes Do I demand/beg/cry in front of him/her? Yes I do. But that is between them and me. I do not want a showing. To me God – either you believe in him/her or you don’t. How does time, size, location, color matter?
Some people/friends may condemn me; but I am sure the almighty will laugh a little, maybe deliver a bit of punishment but in the end forgive me.
Ganpati Bappa Morya