My Encounter with HIM Lalbaugh Ka Raja I am born and brought up in Mumbai and have visited various Ganesh Mandaps, but not Lalbaugh Ka Raja. Last year, I paid my visit to the Mighty Lord for the first time and instantly decided to pay my visit every year. I was busily organizing my schedule to make some time for the Lord. With higher responsibilities in office, it’s not easy for me to bunk office. Even if I am crawling, I should reach office, does not matter, if I faint in the premises. Most of the Multi National Companies do not encourage absenteeism. I decided to be honest with my atheist boss and murmured my intention to visit the LORD. He looked at me with a pause mixed with suspicion. A naughty, happy go lucky woman like me always carry tale!?! I was closely watching the coverage of Lalbaugh cha Raja on <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comffice:smarttags" /><st1lace>Sahara</st1lace> Mumbai. People wait in long queues for hours and hours for the darshan. I was prepared for the tug of war. I and my friend finally made it on the 7<SUP>th</SUP> day. We both were mentally prepared to stay back in the Pandal itself, if required. It was a rainy day. Immersion procession of 7 days Ganesha was in full swing. We drove till Dadar and parked our car safely in the allotted parking space, as it would be foolish of us to take our car to Lalbaugh. We may have to just go in circles and may be to complete one circle we may require 12 hours. We jumped in to a bus as it was raining heavily we could not read the number. The conductor was kind enough to get us off at the next stop. This time we made it sure to cry loud at the passengers sitting inside the bus, “ Lalbaugh Jayega”, One tired head nodded, we hopped in. I managed a seat, my friend had to stand all the way. The bus crawling to its destination. It was really suffocating inside the bus. We finally managed to get off at Lalbaugh. The divine atmosphere was pulling us towards the feet of the Lord. I started running like a hare, my friend was following me. I had to quickly catch up with the queue. With umbrella in one hand, duppatta to manage, water on spectacles, I was dodging almost everyone on the way, I had to catch up .. fast.. it was… every second matters. I lost sight of my friend, the tall 6 feet guy was quickly discovered by my blurred vision, his eyebrows were tied in the centre. I realized he was feeling ignored and agitated. He warned me that I may get lost in the crowd and I should hold his hand and be with him. Between us, I could speak Marathi. Spotted a policeman and stuck my lips in his ears and queried, Where is the “Mannat” queue? He showed me the directions and I paced fast, this time holding my friends hand. I did not bother to read his expressions. Another policeman guided us to a queue with a warning that it would take 5 to 8 hours or may be more for the darshan. I was mentally prepared for the tug. I had to read my friends expression this time, it matters now, is he willing to spend so much time, as he had to drive down for an urgent business meeting the next day at early hours. We looked at the “Mannat (Wish fulfillment)” queue, it was very long, could not figure the tail end of it yet, we may have to spend a night, we nodded. We asked one policeman, “Mannat queue”, he whisked us through one corner, I immediately pulled out my offerings to the Lord. Tied my duppata, wiped my spectacles and got ready for the STAY. As I walked a few steps I SAW THE LORD. HE WAS JUST THERE IN FRONT OF US……. IN LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES, WE HAD THE DARSHAN OF OUR LORD, OUR GANESHA. We gave our offerings to the Sevaks and asked them to drop in HUNDI. He did it with diligence, stood in front of the Lord and THANKED HIM WITH ALL OUR HEART. Miracles happen and it did happen with us. Was that Policeman who whisked us away to a queue in DISGUISE OF MY LORD. Was he happy that his devotee, who has a phobia of the crowd with acute lower back-ache was still prepared to wait for her turn even it means kissing the dawn. Friends, he came to guide me. I encountered him, My Ganesha. :yes: We could not believe the VVIP visit. After the darshan we came out from the “Exit” route and we could see serpentine queue. We held each other and smiled with tears in our eyes. We crossed the road and a bus was waiting at a signal, we jumped in and got seat, got off at Dadar and drove back home. It was a quick, safe and effortless darshan. Nobody would believe, but it happened. God listens to your prayers, he appreciates sincere selfless desires. I bow my head to the MIGHTY KING. GANAPATI BAPPA MORYA. ABOUT LALABAUGHCHA RAJA (Means King of Lalbaugh a place in Mumbai) A set of Fishermen and women prayed to Lord Ganesha in the year 1934 asking him to grant them a boon of a market in Lalbaugh, Mumbai exclusively for them. Their wish was fulfilled and the first Idol was installed in 1934 and since then there is no looking back. Lalbaugh Ka Raja is supposed to be the richest Lord as he fulfills the wishes or Mannat of all his devotees. Celebrities, business honchos, and people from all castes and sectors of <st1:country-region><st1lace>India</st1lace></st1:country-region> and abroad, visit this pandal without fail. Devotees offer Modaks, Coconuts, Flowers, Gold, Silver coins and ornaments. The collection is in cores of rupees. A special tailor stitches his clothes which he changes twice a day. He wears only Gold ornaments, his feet is paved with gold. You ask and you get, is what he says. I have enclosed a set of photographs of the Lord since the year 1934……. (2 FILES ARE ATTACHED) I hope I have not bored the readers with this post. I am extremely touched by the grace of the Lord. Thank you God for being there with us, for guiding us, for making things easier for us, for giving us strength to face the difficulties, for giving us sense of judgement, for making us understand the realities of life, for helping us being a friend and not foe to people. For keeping us away from SHAKUNIS FOREVER.