Yup, in Maximum city now. Back to the sounds, sights, lights, life of Mumbai. And yes, it's Ganpati time, festival time!!! Ganpati is here, in every nook and corner, and this was what I truly missed on Sunday when I was not here for Ganpati for the first time in my life ever. So this post is going to cover my 'views' and thoughts on La fiesta en la Mumbai.
I had put in a post last year describing 'Why rains in India make so much noise'. Back then, I had written about how we celebrate our festivals, beginning with Janmashtami and going on through Dashera, Eid and Diwali. So, I won't be repeating myself here, and talking about how we bring Ganpati home, keep him at home and celebrate his presence and so on. This time, my take is going to be on a slightly different metaphysical level of consciousness. Nah! Nothing profound, I just wanted to use those words!!!
So, I for one, generally have seen that the less exposed one is to the 'upward' way of life, the happier they are. The maximum quarrels happen inside the closed confines of a car, not while packed like sardines - four on a scooter. As one moves on in life the endless pursuit of the top spot, I feel, makes one forget the finer, sweeter things in life. This was the theme of my Ithaca post as well. In fact, I have put in quite a few posts on these themes, and I'll link back to them at the end of the post. Now, given that it's Ganpati time, and its a festival for the masses, this feeling is even more pronounced and this is what I saw when I went for the Visarjan (immersion) of our idol.
At the Visarjan place, it was amazing to see so many people, so many children, all running around, enjoying the moment. It was a major event in their lives - people pushing their idols on hand-carts, children screaming 'Ganpati Bappa Morya' while running behind the hand cart. Most of these were street children, who lived around the tank, but wanted to savor a part of the whole event. Some enthusiastic children took it upon themselves to try to regulate traffic as the Ganpati Cart made its way to the Visarjan tank. People were throwing Gulaal all over the place. There were vendors selling soap bubble kits, whistles, blow horns, balloons, food and what not. No masks on peoples' face - Swine Flu might as well go take a hike! The street kids would crowd around anyone who was distributing sweets as Prasad, screaming 'Aunty mujhe do na Prasad'. The street kids were so chirpy and cheerful, and so, I wondered, with awe - they have no idea how their lives are going to shape up in the years to come, let alone the fact that they may not really have the security of two square meals a day in the years to come. But preoccupation, they had none. Worries and cares, they showed none on their countenance.
But the biggest rap on my head came from this child I saw. He was polio stricken, with crooked legs and hence he used his hands to move around. He was there with a bunch of his friends, and all his friends were crowding around the wired barricades surrounding the pool to watch the immersions. This kid wanted to see the proceedings too, and so he tugged at the pants of one of his friends, who immediately hoisted him up and sat him down on the parapet wall around the barricades. Clinging tightly to the pole, this child watched as the idols were being taken for immersion, and the smile on his face could have lighted up the whole of India. After a while, his friends wanted to leave, and maintaining the same smile on his face, the child hobbled away on his hands behind his friends.
Tiny things bring joy to people. But somewhere the pursuit of an unknown perceived good makes us forget what we have right now. We are left glossing over what may be right for us, without caring about the smaller things around us that can help us derive simple satisfaction. And then again, you cannot but fail to remember Davies - "What life is this if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare."
And here are the links to older posts that carry a similar theme -
Why Rains in India make so much Noise - The Ganpati edition
Why Rains in India make so much Noise - The Ganpati edition - part 2
My Ithaca post
The finer nuances