Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why Rains in India make so much noise - Reason 2 - continued

Reason 2 - Ganpati continued.
Just that this time, I am going to allow pictures to do all the talking.... All pictures - courtesy me. I'd suggest clicking on the pics to open them up as a separate link to see them better. I had to upload them as a collage, since I didn't have the patience to upload all of the 50 odd pics....

IDOLS - Depending on the devotees involved, the idols would look either like the idols of North India or South India. The minute you see a vermillion spot on the forehead of the idol - it is decidedly Southie!!

Also, all devotees around the area of the Sarvajanik idol keep their household Puja idols with the big idol for Visarjan. The result - lots of tiny idols all around or below the big guy! There are even competitions between idols! Most vistited, most unique and so on. Note one idol made entirely of cashews and almonds....

The whole city is lighted up. The mood is festive, with music playing everywhere. Almost everyone is out on the streets, celebrating the arrival of their favorite God..... Lights dangle from trees, on banners, on buildings, between buildings. Lights and buntings are at times shared by large idols as well. Economic meltdown?? Baad mein dekha jayega is the mood all around....

And when God is ready to give some free publicity to people who need to be seen all the time, what you have is a melee of hoardings all over the place. Have lamp post? Will hang banner!!! So what if God is upside down somewhere???? He needs to look skywards sometime right???
And when elections are next year, everyone wants to wish the world. Somehow the old song - 'Everybody wants to rule the world' keeps swimming in my head.

And finally it is time to bid adieu to the Lord, but only after taking a promise from Him that he'll come soon next year! I don't know whether that really happens, since last year Ganpati came around the 15th of September and this year, He came on the 3rd! Bizarre? I don't know. But Ganpati Visarjan is nothing short of a fair for the people of Mumbai. Almost the whole city is out on the streets. You get a chance to see almost all prominent idols as they head towards the sea. Rumors abound over the price paid by news channels for space on the balcony of houses facing the sea. Truck loads of people travel with the idol to the sea. People sing and dance all the way, and when they get tired, they get into the tempo or truck for a while and then resume dancing. Women, children, men, boys, all alike, happily wish their favorite God goodbye. And in the meantime, many others come to watch. Vendors sell standard kidde stuff like whistles, blow horns, crinkle caps and so on, and adding to the noise around are tantrum throwing kids!!! Kids hoisted on their parents' shoulders, families out for a night of roaming around, women dressed in their best all taking in the sights as the Lord goes back home. But the most beautiful part is the unification of religions, regions and people in general. All bound by the same thread of festivity! This time Mumbai faced a terror threat just before Visarjan. But there was absolutely no trace of fear or apprehension in people as they stepped out. The police had a tough task on hand controlling the crowds and trying to avert the terrible. But I guess when God is on your side, all evil needs to literally go to hell!!! And thus ended one of India's largest and most popularly celebrated festival.

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