THE POST IS SLIGHTLY DELAYED.
But this Ganesh fesitval remains a fond memory, because Ganesha visited me everyday in different forms.. sometimes in the form of love, sometimes through success, a lot of times through my favourite modak and at all of the other times, through the music of the dhol.
Amidst the hustle-bustle of Laxmi Road, there were patches of dry roads. Not a soul there, just the dim tubelights of the paani-puri wallas flickering in the corners. In the background the dhol-taasha beat into the air, creating that hypnotising rhythm which just takes you along with it to the banks of the river where the Ganesh idol is dipped into the water, bidding him farewell.
The mandal showed the story of Bhasmasura, people watched silently and cheered as the show ended and the plastic dolls on the stage did a small jig (manoramak nritya). That was where the sound concentrated, that was where the people collected... all of the rest was was dark and silent. This was the first time I ever walked the streets of the city, well past midnight. I didn't know that even Laxmi Road, the soul of the city could be deserted, where closed shutters of the shops stared you in the face and the dirt strewn near the drains wasn't shuffled from end to end.
Every now and then, when we turned into a tiny gulli where the shadows of bright lights danced at the corner, a large crowd of young and old welcomed us. Some danced, some foot-tapped, some just stood around watching the show. The sound echoed a million times before the silence actually hit you in the patch between one Ganesh mandal and another.
A friend of mine who lives in Sadashiv Peth said sleep is never deep during the festival. The paani-puri walla mentioned that their business sees its peak right until early hours of dawn. It's amazing to see how Ganesha comes into everyone's life in his own way during this festival. Some he lures with his modaks, others he becomes a favourite with because of his lavish adorn and then there are those set of people who simply adore him because of the wonderful melody of his praises that fill the air during those eleven days.
This is to them and to our favourite Ganu...Ganapati bappa morya, pudhachya varshi lavkar ya