On Sunday, I got back from my mom’s house post the ganpati festivities, feeling like an elephant goddess myself, after all the modaks, the kheer, the appams and the til laddoos(the last one got added to the menu this year..)
Every year, a day before the event, my mum brings out the little silver Ganesha from her silverware box, where he spends the rest of the year with bowls, plates, cups, trinkets, coins and all things silver. The day he is brought out, a throne is made for him, where he is nestled on a bed of flowers, dhruva (type of grass he fancies) and other things floral or green. He gets further smothered with the akshata and the tulsi and things showered on him by the family and visitors.
The pundit arrives, does his fast-forward puja, grabs his bag of goodies and makes way for the next house, and we feast for the rest of the day. The next day, the ganesha is stripped of all the décor and goes back into the silverware box to hang out with lesser mortals.
It wasn’t always like this. Years ago, when we were a bunch of rambunctious kids, we had real idols very year—tall and grand, with the works. Mom, the impeccably diligent one, always did her bit, but dad was not exactly fastidious about aarti timings, and had issues with leading public processions (and the job was non-negotiable, as chief male member). That it ate into his TV time was another matter. The brother, next in line for the coveted role didn’t see the point of taking showers to earn the prasad, or do the puja—he didn’t think a shower made him any more holy. We girls would happily do it, but we were told it was not ‘our domain’
And when it came to the immersion, the men went missing. So ever so often, the ganpati would come home in a bag and leave in a bag.
Soon, mum had enough. No way was her idol going to be treated like this. She took matters in her own hands and announced that we were going silver!
Of course, now my family can join the eco-friendly ranks, as we are not contributing any plaster of paris to the environment… but somehow, Ganesh Chaturthi has become less festive… when he gained metal, the elephant god seemed to have lost some of his buoyancy and charisma. Sometimes, it is hard to even spot him, amidst all the flowers and garlands and tulsi leaves and dhruvas (special type of grass that the ganesha likes)
But everyone is happy. Me and the sister are happy, as all we have to do is eat (after prostrating of course). Brother is in foreign shores, so he just messages “What’s cooking?” and sighs in nostalgia. Dad is relieved that he is under no performance pressure— the pundit has been outsourced to do the needful. As for mom, she is the chief choreographer who has complete control and is in a good place. Even Lupooh Singh, the cat is ecstatic, as it ensures him unlimited access for a day and a half to dhruva and other things green and floral, that he loves devouring to a point there he gets a tummy ache.
As for the ganesha himself… he hasn’t complained yet.