Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ganesh Chaturthi - The Lord and me.

Tomorrow is Ganesh Puja , the birthday of lord Ganesha.

I prefer to be called non religious but that doesn’t annoy the lord. Contrary to that He has always showered his blessings on me.

Although I am a North Indian, I have some great friends in the South. When I was leaving for USA the first time , my friend’s mom advised me to visit a temple called ‘Annavaram’ in East Godavari in AP. The temple is a charming shrine on a picturesque hill top. As we were seeking the blessings of the lord, my friend explained to the priest that I am a North Indian. The priest gave me a coin and advised me to keep it always in my wallet. I later saw it was lord Ganesha.

Later when I moved to UK, I got my first car , a modest powder blue Mercedes. When we went to offer our prayers, the panditji there gave me a small idol to keep it in the car and a picture to , yes you guessed it right, keep it in the wallet. Lord Ganesha.

When I look back at my life , there were two Gods who indirectly removed the stage fear from my mind. One was the Goddess Durga and another Lord Ganesha.

Dad was in the Air force. These two were the community festivals which were celebrated over ten days. Each day in the evening the puja used to be followed by cultural programmes and we used to take part in them with a lot of enthusiasm.

The audience comprised of our parents, neighbors and friends and so was in general good natured , benign and appreciative.

Naturally less talented performers like yours truly were tolerated.

I wasn’t ,therefore ,booed till I reached college! My dad had retired by then and there was no puja. The Lord had to remind me of his benevolence!

The Ganesh Puja was celebrated by the Maharashtrians and the Durga puja by the Bengalis. The players would be the same. just the organizers changed and so did the menu. We relished both the lunches with equal gusto.

My dad was the secretary of the organizing committee for most of his career. That meant our house used to be converted into a Cultural workshop with countless cups of teas and snacks being served by my cheerful mom and happy sister.

One room used to be cleared to keep the sacred pooja things including ‘Kheerapat’ the delicious Prasad, the offering to the lord every day. It was made of dry desiccated coconut, rock sugar, poppies and generous sprinkling of dry fruits. The ladies worked hard to prepare them and keep them in tall containers. Ten containers for ten days.

My best friend was also a maharashtrian. His father used to be the President of the committee. That gave him the excuse to sometimes stay back overnight in our house to help.

When everyone slept after a hard day’s work, we used to sneak into the room and gorge ourselves with the Prasad till we couldn’t eat anymore. This was totally blasphemous.

But Greed always overcame faith.

It was only on the day of the immersion that guilt took us over. We used to wade into the river and close our eyes and seek forgiveness. This happened every year. I guess we were forgiven by the lord. Nothing bad ever happened.

Each day the coach used to take us to the city to admire the various public celebrations. The decorations and the grandeur is seen to be believed.

But coming back to the story.

Our association in crime continued as his dad and my dad were again transferred to Chandigarh.

New school. New friends. But we remained the best of friends. Until we met her.

We both had a crush. I guess we both prayed hard for her. But She knew her worth.

She ignored us both.

During one such immersion in Sukhna Lake , I was lost and couldn’t find my parents in the huge crowd. When I spotted this family , the father ordered the girl to hold my hand. I had a wicked smile as I thanked the lord and winked at him. It couldn’t be a coincidence. The lord planned it for me!

Just then my friend came searching. His eyes filled with rage as I proudly displayed , the ultimate trophy, our clasped hands.

He felt betrayed. He felt jealous. We broke over a girl.

Needless to say, we were growing!

The next day I lost my friend and I lost my girl. She continued where she left. Ignoring me.

I had no option but to wait for the next year for another Ganesh Puja.

Lord Ganesha is the God of Wisdom, prosperity and auspicousness.
I pray the lord for your happiness and prosperity.


  1. Nice Post...
    The mouse concept is very important...

  2. thanks pitamah. it indeed is . isnt it.

  3. Very informative symbolic Ganesha.

    And nice story. :-)

  4. Thanks Sanz. Grateful for your comment.