Monday, September 9, 2013

It's that Ganesha time of year again!

Ganesha is somehow all that is Indian - his round cuddly belly, curly trunk, chubby fingers and little bright eyes are but a canvas for colors galore, bling on top of bling  - nothing subtle for our Ganesha! You gotta love him!

Previous years Ganesha blogs I have covered the history and background - so this is all about Ganesha today!!

This year we thought we'd experience Ganesha locally, within walking distance of Ozone. We forayed out in day light behind the local government school where Ads and I spend an hour on Saturday mornings with a handful of six 6th grade boys listening to them read. Just within stones throw of the busy Varthur road which heaves with traffic 24/7 is another world full of folks only too happy to share their festival with us.

Our initial lunch time foray set the scene, the little streets were lined with lights not yet turned on, in some of the pandels Ganesha was already sat resplendent, in others he was covered awaiting the initial pooja and others were empty, awaiting his arrival.

These people are very poor but so willing to smile and share - we had prasad (I always ponder the wisdom of accepting and consuming........but it is always so yummy), bindi's on our foreheads, were given a few bangles, a flower tied round my wrist, a banana and some paan leaves.

We saw some of 'our boys' as I think of them, the smiling faces of the kids from mine and Ads class, full of smiles and welcome.

Each small group of houses had it's own Ganesha placed in his temporary leaf shrined home, among garlands, lights and pooja offerings. Around which all gathered to share in prayer, food, music and chat. In an area of a few hundred meters full of numerous small houses (some smaller than my tiny indian kitchen) we must have paid homage to at least ten Ganesha.

When we returned in the evening, amongst the twinkling lights, the party was in full swing, the streets busier but the welcome just the same.

We were again invited up to the front to see each Ganesha, to be blessed, bindi'd and fed!!

For some Ganesha, life on earth is very short and the same day as they are brought out they are returned to the clay from which they were moulded. Other Ganesha stay in situ for 3, 5 7, or 9 days until they head to their watery graves.
Even next to the most polluted river you could imagine - smelly, green and stagnant, the official dunkers are on hand but someone is parked in amongst the trash at the side of the road watching you........
Such an experience, a different world, culture and religion all on our doorstep. To be made so welcome and invited to share - the kindness and generousity of the "have-nots in material terms" makes me feel quite humbled as we return through the security gates to the closed doors of Ozone.

No comments:

Post a Comment