Happy Ganesha Chathurthi to all ... the best part of the calendar year has begun :)
I am all smiles, I always love this post-July part of the calendar year as the scorching summer season comes to an end, monsoon showers bring along the much needed respite from heat, fresh smell of earth and some chaos too, but above all, this part of the year is full of festivals and therefore HOLIDAYS!
Not much has changed over 8 years of my stay in Bangalore in a locality called New Tippasandra, we are nestled between quiet sectors of Geetanjali layout and the busy, bustling Tippasandra market. Starting from today for over a month, almost every street - narrow or wide will stage a pandal with a big and colorful idol of Lord Ganesha - celebrations galore!!
Just as I began my puja at home today, the song "Deva Sri Ganesha (guess from Agneepath movie) came blaring from the speakers from a nearby pandal. Kids were shouting Ganapathi Bappa Moriya, guess they had a competition on who is the loudest of all. The festive mood had just set in and then came the SHOCK - an abrupt transition and the song Tu Cheez Badi hai Mast Mast played in full volume. Anyone who watched the show Superhit Muqabla on DD would be aware of this chartbuster. Lord Ganesha, I must admit, is quite a mast mast god. He won a special mango after performing the act of circumambulation around his parents thrice when asked to go around the world the same number of times by Sage Narada, how cool is that?
Just as I tried to digest what I heard, the song changed to Chura Ke dil Mera, it seemed like people in the association who installed that pandal loved Akshay Kumar just as much as Lord Ganesha. According to common faith, Ganesha remains a bachelor, so whose hearts he stole remains a highly debatable question.
I guess someone thought these songs were too old fashioned, a line of new Hindi songs, largely from the item numbers/party numbers subset are dished out in quick succession. One is highly fair as songs of this kind are played in all languages, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. The God gets a brief break from this musical discourse for few hours in the noon as he braces for the worst in the evening hours.
Come evening time, post 6 pm, mini trucks carrying small time music troupes block the streets and traffic, these artists render their favorite songs for God and common man, they are accompanied by dancers dressed in bright, gaudy clothes who groove non-stop enthusiastically. Over years, my ears have got accustomed to these artists' favorite numbers - Nakku Mooku, Chikini Chameli, My Name is Sheela, Dont' worry Padmavathi, Aa ante Amalapuram, so on and so forth. Around 8/9 pm, smell of liquor begins to dominate the air around, this along with high decibel music, jarring colors and dance moves make the experience of seeing the Lord all so repulsive.
However, year after year, Lord Ganesha stays calm, unruffled as all this farce unfolds in front of his eyes, he tolerates this chaos in name of celebrations without a single complaint. He remains as cool as a cucumber, drowns into deep filth of today's polluted lakes and rivers only to emerge with more smiles the next year. And he teaches us all the same -to remain calm and cool even in most testing times, be tolerant and endure pain/problems without complaints, doesn't he really do that?