Ganesh Chaturthi: Emotion & Tradition
As I sit down scrolling through Instagram full of Ganesh Chaturthi videos from Mumbai, there is an entire wave of emotions that comes through and I can't help but miss Mumbai more. It's the first time ever that I will be away for the festival.
As I think more about it, I realize the festival is more than just faith, it's an emotion.
Growing up, when I was in school, our final exams used to always start after Ganesh Chathurthi. That means you need to prepare for the first paper beforehand so that you can enjoy the festival. I remember we used to plan beforehand which day we would go for pandal hopping to visit all the various Ganesh Idols in our locality. The motivation to study used to be the excitement to go pandal hopping afterward or to stay up late so that you get to play Housie in the society and if you are lucky, win some prizes.
The other thing that made the festival so special was the chance to meet my old school friends. In my friend circle, if you don't meet throughout the year, it's fine but I need to visit my friend's place for Ganesh Chaturthi. For almost a decade now after school, it's been a ritual to visit my friends' place and catch up over a plate of modak—a sweet treat that, for us, symbolized the essence of the festival. I think it's these little things that made the festival even more special.
My society is in a well-connected area, which is the road where all the idols used to go from, before the festival and even during visarjan. That means you can hear all the songs and the festivities happening and the best part is getting to hear the Nasik Dhol and the aarti. The energy and fervor of the festival filled the air, making it a sensory delight.
One of the most anticipated moments used to be planning a night trip to Lalbagh, home to one of Mumbai's famous pandals. Sitting in a kaali-peeli taxi riding through the roads with an atmosphere that was electric, with artistic idols, dazzling decorations, and a palpable sense of devotion that left an indelible mark on me.
Ganesh Chaturthi is a reminder that amidst the chaos of everyday life, there is always room for devotion, love, and community. It's a tapestry of emotions, memories, and traditions woven together. It's a time to cherish the friendships that endure, the cultural richness that unites us, and the faith that sustains us.
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