वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सूर्यकोटि समप्रभ ।
निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा ॥

The above shoka means : Salutations to Lord Ganesha – Who has a Curved Trunk, Who has a Large Body and Whose Splendor is similar to Million Suns;
O Deva, Please Make my Undertakings Free of Obstacles, By extending Your Blessings in All my Works, Always.

Today is the last day of the Ganesh Festival – Anant Chaturdashi. We now bid adieu to Ganpati Bappa!

I remember as a child I used to love this festival and specially wait for  all the fun, games, dancing and frolicking. The sweets (prasadam) – the modaka, laddos and the pedhas used to be the highlight for me. The many cultural and social acitivites conducted by our society used to provide us with a lot of enjoyment and bring out our creativity. It was fun!

I used to be very sad when the festival used to come to an end and so would all the children. We would sadly say bye to Ganpati Bappa our favorite deity.

Many years later I remember as a teenager I had gone to visit the Bund garden which is situated on the banks of the Mutha river. The rainy season was no more and the waters of the river had receded and what I  saw was a really sad site that impacted me.

There were pieces of Ganesh idol everywhere on both the sides of the river bank. Hands, busts, trunks and other body parts were lying broken and mangled. The Ganesh festival had just gotten over and the idols had been immersed. Most of the idols are made of plaster of Paris  and do not dissolve or disintegrate easily and thus cause a lot of water pollution.

The Ganesh Festival has undergone many changes over the years. The people and the government have taken many steps to stop the environmental pollution that arises due to this 10 day festival.

This year there has been a significant change in my family that I am glad to share. My family members decided not to get a Ganesh idol and instead worshipped the family silver idol which is placed in the home mandir. You may think what’s the big deal about it?

Well, this small change has been quite significant for my parents and brother specially as they had to overcome the fear of traditions and beliefs. It is not easy to break beliefs as it requires a lot of gumption and courage.

Not to mention face other people their opinions and advice. Plus, the fear that they instill within you about the consequences of your action. All of this is not an easy thing, but they took a step ahead and I am very happy and proud.  

The first thing that they did not have to think was where to go for the visarjan(immersion of the idol), what arrangements that had been made by the Municipal Corporation and how to get to the place. It was such a big relief and they also managed to avoid the crowds although the crowds have lessened since last year due to the Covid situation.

The Covid situation has changed the scene of the public Ganeshotsav in Maharashtra since large gatherings are banned. People are missing the fun, gaiety and social activities that would bring out their creativity.

But maybe nature wants us to bring out our creativity in new, significant ways taking into account the environment around us as well.

 

Ganpati Bappa Morya ! Pudchya varshi lavkar ya!

O Lord Ganesha ! Please visit us soon next year!!

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