The Ganesh Chaturthi celebration this year was a fun filled affair. My family always celebrates Ganesh Puja by installing Ganesha Idol at our ancestral home in IB, a small village near my hometown. We pray and perform Puja for 9 days and bid him farewell with a fond request to grace our home again next year. This is something that we have been doing since ages now and I have loads of good old memories associated with Ganesha and his birthday celebration. :-) Now that I am married and have set up my own home, I wanted to bring this tradition along to my new household. Also being in Pune during Ganapati Puja just helped make the whole idea all the more appealing.
Last Saturday, I and M went out in the evening to get clay Ganesha Idol. The market where the Idols were being sold was just awesome. You could see Ganesha in all kinds of forms, colors and sizes. I don’t think I have ever seen so many Ganesha statues before. After seeing thousands of statues, we got a cute replica of the “Dagdu Seth Halwai” Ganapati - one the oldest and most famous Ganapati of Pune. After finalizing this, we went on a frantic shopping spree to buy variety of things for the Puja – clothes for the Ganesha, ingredients for preparing sweets, fruits, flowers, colorful papers, streamers and lights for decoration, et all. As soon as dinner was done, we started decorating the puja room. M also downloaded many Ganesh vandanas and aartis from the internet. It was 2 am by the time we crashed into bed.
Sunday started earlier than usual. Our plan was to get up at 6.30 or 7ish, however by the time we woke up it was already 8.30 and we hurriedly got ready. Since I do not get many chances to wear Saree, I always look out for excuses to wear one. This was one perfect excuse. :-) After getting ready, we began preparing the Prasad & Panchamrit, decking up the Aarti thalis, and other chores along these lines. M switched on his laptop and played the Ganapati vandanas to create a festive mood. It was 11.00 by the time all this was done and we could start the Puja. We had invited our next door neighbors too. No elaborate puja ceremony was conducted – just few Aartis and small prayers. It felt great doing the aarti with M. I was thinking about last year’s Ganesh Chaturthi – at that time M had come to Bangalore to meet me. We had gone to the Ganesh temple in Koramangala, the first temple we went together. :-) Doing such pujas together with M has always given me a sense of peace – a divine blessing for our togetherness.
By the time puja was done, it was already past 12; we decided to skip breakfast and directly have our lunch. Mom had made missi roti for lunch. Accompanied with alu tamatar sabji and curd, it was delicious. We ate to our heart’s content. The only thing we could do after eating so much was sit and talk. We celebrated Ganesha’s birthday for 7 full days. Everyday we used to do morning and evening aarti. It required little planning to place it in our hectic work schedule but it was fun nonetheless. Even with all the planning and numerous last minute changes, those 7 days were spiritually satisfying. After visarjan, the puja place looked very empty. :-( M really didn’t like the whole idea of visarjan; he has decided that we will not do visarjans again. Maybe we will get a permanent Ganesh Idol and deck him up during Ganesh Chaturthi. So let’s see how the celebrations are gonna be next year. Anyways our first experience was an amazing one and we would surely like to up the ante next time. We have requested Ganesha to come soon next year too.. “Ganapati bappa moriya.. agle baras tu jaldi aa” :-)