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Changing Times And Festivals

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by twinsmom, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. twinsmom

    twinsmom Silver IL'ite

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    Oh… times are changing…. We have to acknowledge that. When I was young, Ganesh Chathurthi was celebrated at home. On the eve or sometimes 48 hours prior to the festival, Mom would keep fine clayey soil ready and in the evening, Dad would sit in the quadrangle and fashion an idol of Lord Ganesha with his own hands… A very basic Ganesha. Dad would shape a good amount of the well- kneaded clayey soil into two spheres, one slightly larger than the other. The larger one was for the lower trunk or the stomach of the idol. On top of that he’d balance the smaller one, the head. Then he’d fashion elephantoid ears and trunk and even a crown. Chunky hands and bent legs that crossed in front of the huge stomach would be made next. A one paisa coin would be pressed to form the navel, some seeds to make the eyes and two painstaking tusks, one half in length to the other, would all be affixed to the wet idol. Then he would be let to dry and set…

    He was worshiped by us on Ganesh Chathurthi day. Mom would wake around 3 in the morning and prepare the offerings for the Ganapathi Homa, which Dad would himself perform. Dad is quite savvy when it comes to rites and rituals and has a deep knowledge of all the Vedas and the knowhow to perform the pujas that are done normally by professional priests in all households. By the time we kids were up and done with our ablutions, the second phase of the day would have started… The Vinayaka Chathurthi puja. Mom would be busy, dashing between her kitchen where the delicacies were being made and assisting Dad with the rites…

    We would watch mesmerized, drooling at the sight and smell of the varieties of modakas and neyyappams and all. The Panchamrutham and the special Koottu neyvedyam,( a combination of 8 things like, beaten rice, rice crispies, molasses, sugarcane, Special bananas, coconut slivers, honey cooked in ghee…) we kids used to relish and fight over…
    We would get all kinds of special leaves and flowers for the puja and once, all rituals got over, we’d feast on the Kozhukkattais (modakas) and neyyappams…

    The next day or so, we’d do a ‘punar puja’ and then do the Visarjan of Lord Ganesha. It was our custom to drop him with all fanfare into our own well…and await his arrival, the next year…
    Marriage brought me into contact with an ostentatious celebration of Ganesha Chathurthi… My first taste of North Indian festivals was in Bokaro, soon after marriage. The festival is a very grand one at my sasural, and no effort was ever spared in performing it at a grandiose scale. The difference was that, the priest would come home to guide Appa to do the puja and in the evening we went to the temple in Sector 2 ( or was it 3? ) where a humongous idol of Lord Ganesha would be ensconced in the pandal for ten days of worshipping and celebrations. I remember looking at the huge statue in awe, for I had never before seen such a sight. There was an unbelievable melee of worshippers and after we have had darshan, we’d return home. Then we would drive about 10 to 15 kilometers towards Dhanbad to do the Visarjan of our Ganesha in Garga river… It used to be a long ride and we would sit in the car, balancing the idol on a tray, carrying all kinds of paraphernalia to conduct a mini puja before immersing Him in the waters of the river… before returning home, we’d distribute the Prasad to whoever is present.

    Now a days, the sight of huge idols of Lord Ganesha have become common… Everywhere, come, festival season we can see hundreds of gaudily painted idols of various sizes and concepts… It is fun to see what avatars Lord Ganehsa takes now a days… My kids once had an ‘IT Ganesha’ in their hostel…

    But it is just not the modus operandi of conducting festivals that have changed… Today, as I was watching the media coverage of Vinayaka Chathurthi celebrations in Mumbai , <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City><st1:place>Delhi</st1:place></st1:City>, <st1:City><st1:place>Bangalore</st1:place></st1:City> and elsewhere in <st1:country-region><st1:place>India</st1:place></st1:country-region>, one thing struck me… People who were crowding to pray were hardly seen showing obeisance to the huge idol of Lord Ganesha… A good number of them were too intent on jostling or avoiding being jostled… About 50 percent were taking pictures with their mobiles… A minority remembered to close their eyes or join their hands in prayer… Many were on the look out for the celebrities who had come out of their ivory towers to seek God’s blessings like all other mortals…

    In Karnataka, the Ganesha festival has two phases…. Gouri puja on the eve of Ganesha puja… We bring idols of both Gouri and Ganesha… Celebrations are for two days… much looked forward to…In the evenings, all near and dear are invited to partake in the celebrations and there is much singing of classical music and distribution of ‘Haldi kumkum’.

    Sigh…! Times are changing… We have to accept that…Today, I am in an alien soil, and there is no question of any open celebration… It is a private affair… with a tiny silver Ganapathi who is enshrined on a plate of rice for the day… the modakams and appams are done albeit sans the expertise of Mom’s hands… The mind races back to those bygone years which have been etched permanently in the heart… No regrets… I as long as those memories are cherished… So with the times, I too chant, “ Ganapathi Bappa Moriya….”
     
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  2. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Twinsmom,

    I enjoyed reading this immensely !:) A very timely and observant article. I liked it more so because I felt like you had taken the thoughts out of my mind and gave it a form here. Even I was watching some news coverage about the Ganesha festival in India and one of the major attractions being the Bollywood presence. They also showed the 'newer'versions of Ganesha figures like Ganesha perched on a giant Kingkong, Ganesha in the company of Harry Potter etc etc and a man explains that these help to attract young people's attention to the festival...This both astonished and irritated me . :mad:
    As for the festival celebrated in childhood, it brought memories of of those long gone days ! Dear sweet clay Ganesha and the fear throughout the days He resided in the house about lest anything should break!
    Thanks for raking up memories and thoughts.
    Had a nice chaturthi at home, albeit Ganesha was the tiny silver figure sitting on a bed of rice!! I hope he heard everyone's prayers, in whichever form !!

    L, Kamla
     
  3. Anandchitra

    Anandchitra IL Hall of Fame

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    dear twinsmom
    always enjoy your writing and this one is equally well written. you have great talent and incredible writing style. we did not do ganapathy pujas like the one you have written . we always prayed before the diety we have at home along with the traditional items prepared which i am continuing now. but so glad you wrote about all those memories. It was wonderful to read and your great style took me there with you. cannot thank you enough for writing and sharing. keep up the good work...
     
  4. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    hi twinsmom,

    The way you have written brought back nostalgic memories...today when i see the big idols inspired by harry potter, and others i really dont know what to say..whether to be irritated/angered/feel pity that even gods have not been spared in the marketing gimics.....


    Today for the visarjan... we are requesting the neighbour who is having a well..hope negotiations are fruitful...:mrgreen:
     
  5. twinsmom

    twinsmom Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Kamla,

    Ganesha with Harry Potter! What next? With a Hockey stick singing Chak De!...? Or Eating a Mac burger? Like I said, times are changing... Thank God for bottled, preserved memories...:)
    I too hope the tiny silver Ganesha heard my prayers... to safeguard my family... That's all I asked for...
     
  6. twinsmom

    twinsmom Silver IL'ite

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    Hi anandchitra,

    Thank you... for the lovely words of appreciation... It goes a long way in boosting my morale... I enjoy writing... but that enjoyment gets doubled when I have wonderful readers like you... You made my day!
     
  7. twinsmom

    twinsmom Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Shanvy,

    Happy Ganesh Visarjan Day... He will be back next year to bless us all... Festival times have become more of 'good ol' memories!' time... Don't know how I missed out on the Harry Potter and Ganesha...!
     
  8. Sumathy

    Sumathy Senior IL'ite

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    Hi Twinsmom,

    A very poignant article. I completely identify with what you said.

    I remember that there was hardly any painted idol some 25 years back. The only decoration used to be the red seeds for the eyes - and my, that simple 'pillaiyar' used to look majestic and serene. These days, one has to specially look around and order those pure clay, unpainted idols. In the name of decoration, we are using all those metallic paints which finally end up pulluting our rivers and lakes. If each one of us refuse to buy those painted idols and convince atleast one more person, we will make a small beginning towards a cleaner environment.

    Also, I was shocked to see some processions where there was booze and dancing and to read that cars were smashed in Indira nagar, where the processions passed. These are more like a mob-affair than a solemn religious festival. See this same trend in many other religious functions. Wondering what is the reason behind this - is this that People look forward to something to hold on to and make no bones about vociferously showing it up?

    Cheers,

    Sumathy
     
  9. krish22

    krish22 Senior IL'ite

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    Hi Twinsmom,

    Your articles are just my very cherished memories.I have seen the only red Ganeshas since my child hood.Now They are so huge and jaint and so variety like ITGanesh,computer Ganesh etc.
    We too used celebrate it for 2 days first day Gouri pooja and Vinayaka chaviti,
    On the third day we used to the nimmajjanam ie going to some river or canal and perfoming pooja there leaving the idol there.On day beofore the pooja my father used to go to the countryside to find the varities of leaves which to offer while in pooja.Usually I was accompaning him.Now also he tries at his best to get those patris though he lives in a town.



    Krish
     
  10. kanaka Raghavan

    kanaka Raghavan IL Hall of Fame

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    I t was very interesting post.My father had a small pillayar in front of our house as it was in the junction of 3 streets.First he was hoisted on a small platform.Then we built a small brick structure and was housed inside.My father performed a small abshikam every Saturday early morning,with rose water,milk etc..We used to buy a new vaishti for him for all important occasions.There was an electric light on near his head every evening for few hours. On Ganesh Chaturuthi it was all elaborate with sundals and kozakootais.My son and daughter used to help my father with abshikams and they used to be so excited.Many people to used to stand in front of our house and pray almost everyday.In fact there was one occasion when there was a rumour that Lord Ganesha was drinking milk.....we had some people in front of our house bringing in milk to find out whether our cute Ganesha drank!!!!!!!!!!!.
    Finally when our house was demolished ,our cute Ganesha installed in the verandah of our flat.Everytime I see him I feel that he has turning to be all the more divine.....................He is been a part of our family for almost 23 years ..........
     

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