"Such lovely colorful idols of Ganesha!" she heard a passing by kid yell. She stopped, surrounded by those larger than life idols of Ganesha and closed her eyes. She smiled, tapped herself on the head and called her silly. You don't need to close your eyes now to not see anything. She inhaled the aroma of the fresh paint and thought of the days when she could see colors. .
It was a scorching afternoon and an old man was struggling with his trembling hands to finish sculpting an idol. Suddenly a woman approached and asked if she could help. The old man accepted as he was running out of time. She joyously helped him sculpt and the shapeless clay turned into a majestically beautiful idol of Lord Ganpati. The old man was ecstatic and just when he looked up to thank her, no one was there! Next day when he visited the pandal, he saw her, she was smiling effervescently beside Ganpati as His consort! .
The old pale hands
that held magic in them.
The curled fingers
that helped grow faith.
The freckled face
that helped pull smiles.
The beautiful thoughts
that moulded mud.
Now drapes those colours on herself and plastic around the art to feed herself..
"But I am older than you!"
"Only 5 years older, I am not a kid, at 40, no one is a kid. Think about it will you, we've known each other for more than 3 years now. Also, you are looking beautiful today."
"It's my grandmotherâ€™s dress. She gave it to me when I left Rajasthan for Mumbai. Now Iâ€™ve got to go. Work to do." As she left, Devashankar yelled standing beside his Ganpati creations, "Okay, but we are meeting at 8 today, right?" "Yes." Bhurki replied then left with a shy smile and a cool sway.
She began to smile as she heard her new name "ASHA" given by the couple whose embryo she has in her womb. She is smiling at the coincidence as her new name is similar to the health activist's name that encouraged her to be a surrogate mother for some money. She is also smiling at the new cheap smart phone in her son's hand who has just got relieved from the bane of manual scavenging. She is practically smiling at "ASHA" which has just come to her life.
Hailing from a little hamlet, this bustling city was now her home. Standing amidst an array of mammoth statues of the elephant god, a smile graced her face.
Having an ecologically friendly Ganesha at home, was her dream. Back in her village, they made the mold out of sugarcane, which was then used as a prasad, along with some sweetmeat.
Here in Mumbai, she was greeted with an unsightly sight of large plaster of Paris idols being hacked off with hammer. It pained her and she decided to do something about it. Good going, till today.
â€œDid you see her? Rama asked.
â€œWho?â€ Gopal was busy painting the eyes of the Ganesh idol.
Same time last year heâ€™d seen her for the first time. She passed him, walking into the next lane, like she knew this place well.
They said in the nearby village that a lady, worshipper of Lord Ganesh was killed by her land lord. Some say she used to paint the idols. The land lord died last year during the Ganesh procession. Stampede to death.
Maybe this year sheâ€™d come to avenge the others.
Some powers are Godly.
After being pulled over,"Show me your license", said the Policeman. "I was driving perfectly fine, policeman. What have I done?" asked the driver. "You were driving, that's your crime, woman!' said the Policeman.
11 days of bhakti defined the celebration of ganesh utsav at my native place goa . But as years passed glamorous tunes of bollywood dj mixes have replaced bhakti.
the idol which used to be made of clay have been replaced by POP material thus loosing the charm and making it non eco-friendly. Local sculptors have moved to greener pastures and the business is taken over by the north Indians for whom making ganesh idols is just business not bhakti, which used to be for local sculptors. But the best thing is Ganesh utsav is democratized.
Unprecedented rain had demoralized the citizens of Mumbai because their favorite festival ganesh utsav was nearing, people were confused whether rain god was blessing or cursing them with such heavy rainfall. Even the ganesh idols were covered with plastic sheets to protect them from rain. Thatâ€™s when the ganesha decided let me take over from here and gift the devotees their much awaited happiness of the year. Not only did the down pour stopped and brought the smiles on the face of devotees but also proved why he is called the vighnaharta (Vanquisher Of Obstacles)..
Our 3 year old Dia was so excited about Ganesh utsav. She insisted on inviting Ganeshji of her own choice. So we went to a nearby shop that sells eco-friendly Ganesh idols. Dia chose a tiny cute idol and we were looking for the shop owner to bargain. Manglabai came out with a pleasant smile I assumed it is because we might be the only one who came to buy the idol. She looked at excited Dia and pleasantly announced â€œIs saal bikri badiya hui.Yeh lejao aapke liye Gifatâ€
(The sale is very good this year. Take it as a gift)
A rush of relief unfolded millions of tiny memories on her face. She was sensing, caressing that godâ€™s sculptures carelessly. A lady in her folk dress was trying to repeat her innocence. She leaned her head upon sculptureâ€™s base and revived those days, when she was banished from a temple just because she had some special organs to produce another life, a tear rolled down her smiling lips.
â€œMaâ€™am! Have you checked whole consignment, should we deliver now?â€ Pensive sound came from behind and brought her back into present.
â€œAlmost doneâ€ She replied in teary voice.
Amid the giant ganpathi idols,
She stood shy and smiling.
A colourful attire and innocent smile
She waited to get her photo clicked.
At first she had refused to lift the veil,
But the photographer had pleaded.
So for the first time she opened her face to a stranger. As he clicked and the polaried print came sliding out, she came hesitantly towards him and on seeing her photo, burst into a shy and bright smile. As he handed her the copy, she pulled down the veil and walked away smiling..
â€œDoes God really exist?â€was my next pop up to Jay as he was super busy in Ganesh Utsav preparations. He gave me a look in vexation and asked to accompany him. I was mum and kept walking with him. We reached a huge ground where all idols of Lord Ganesha were kept for sale. I felt trapped. Closing my eyes I again thought â€œDoes HE exist?â€ and I saw her. In comatose I opened my eyes, but she was nowhere. I got my answer â€“ Yes God exists not in idols but in humans â€“ in my MOM..
The mighty protect the meek but there are times when they need protection too. The strong care for the weak but there are times when they will need the care too. Lord Ganesha protects all, but with the onset of monsoon in the middle of monsoon, he needs the protection from rains too. The Mother cares for her children all her life. But age takes its toll and there is a time when she needs her children to take care of her too. The Nurturer needs nurturing too â€¦ .
Those words of my father still echo in memory "NANDA God is from forever, nobody created him". So I taught the same thing to my kids and my kids to their kids. Today my little grand son asks me every day that what do I do? When I leave for my work to the workshop. I can't tell him that we make GOD, so I lie every day and tell him what you had told me that "I work with God" whenever I asked. And it always made me smile thinking that I work with GOD..
The festive season was round the corner. The area would always be filled with mammoth idols, all in varied postures, colors and variants. It was their ground zero for endless fun of hiding and seeking.
As she watched the teenage couple walk by, she couldn't help but smile at the memory of how she had met him around that very intersection. She could hear giggles now. She grinned at the thought of new age hide and seek. .
Had been long since, he made her happy. Then he left. Since then was this rampage. The picture perfect- husband, kids and a dog, playing in the lawn. All wondered, how lucky! Not everybody needs to know, right? She tried to indulge into vivid interests and lost aspirations, like it helped. Once somebody introduced her to model making. There had to be a smile, but was God happy? The neck was damaged and it was procession time. The necklace curtailed it. Hurry up. She knew how flawed perfection and perceptions were. She finally smiled and left..
She felt dwarfed walking amongst 15 foot tall Ganesha Idols. The taller ones fetched the largest profits , but she didnâ€™t seem to care. Idols made of Plaster of Paris and Paper-Mache were more in demand but she was never bothered by the trends. Her neighbours were exporting their Idols but she knew where her market was. She had more than one reason to smile. Her minuscule clay idols were all sold out already and her only son was visiting her tomorrow after six long years. She is an artisan, a single-parent and the mother of a successful architect..