If you look carefully round my home you will find maybe a hundred Ganeshas, in different mediums..he might be hidden under a leaf, behind a lamp, on the puja shelf, on my office desk, a doodle on my sketch pad, wherever. He is my ishta deivam, my favourite among the pantheon of gods. Everything about him is lovable, his pot belly girded with a snake, the elephant head, with his flapping ears, the broken tusk….but the only thing which gives me a little shiver is his inseparable vahanam the mouse.
He is venerated by most of us every year about this time, and we make his favourite kozhakattais and sundal in the south, the modaks in the north. Why then… (we have asked ourselves this question hundreds of times) do we buy a new Ganapathi only to sink him into the water? There is a touch of sadness, and we have asked seers and pundits who have not given us the right answer. There is only one explanation, according to me. Dust unto dust, a symbol of accepting the path we will all follow. But then, it is not the end, Ganapathi rises like the phoenix out of the ashes he was consigned to year after year when we rejoice and welcome him into our homes once again.
I have decided not to go through this practice. Every year my terracotta puliyar gifted by cousin Ganga sits decorated with flowers and jewelry and as tenderly he is placed back. What I do however, is fashion a stylised form of Ganesh in turmeric bearing a vermillion dot, which is discarded after the puja is over.
Every year I make kozhakattais, sundal, vadai, payasam, promising myself that next year I would do away with rituals knowing that Lord Ganesha will always bless me for my fervour and love for him even if I just pray to him with fruit and flowers. I know he will continue to remove obstacles from my path. Then Ganesh Chaturti approaches, I see the twinkle in his eyes, and I fall for it, and I am perspiring over making the goodies for him….Will we Indians ever change!!!???