Ganpati & Monsoon: Living the Mumbai Madness for the First Time
Video Editor: Veeru Krishan Mohan
It's that time of the year when you say “Ganpati Bappa” and you know someone will reply with “Morya”. Yes, the eleven-day festivities gets Mumbai hustling and bustling even more than it usually does, with dhol, tashe and brass bands. As a child, I saw TV news channels flooded with images and videos of a sea of people walking with a massive Ganpati idol on the final visarjan (immersion) day.
I went around the city of Mumbai, visiting some of the most popular pandals. Lalbaughcha Raja in South Mumbai is one of the most celebrated Ganpati pandals in the city. It’s said that over a million people visit this pandal every year, and this year, the number is expected to rise. I was told that people sometimes stand in the queues for over a day just to see their favourite idol. The faith that most people come here with is that whatever you wish for will come true.
My next stop was Khetwadi. Now, this area has one Ganpati pandal for each lane of the twelve lanes in the area, and one main pandal called Khetwadicha Raja. From one-inch tiny Ganpatis to huge idols, you can find a whole lot of variety here. You’ll find Ganpati idols made out of crayons, thread and needles etc, which goes to show they really experiment here.
But what’s Ganpati festival without the visarjan experience? All the festivities come to end with visarjan. It’s the act of immersing the idol in water and bidding goodbye to it for a year until it returns the next year. But, what we overlook at times amidst the festivities is the harm we end up causing to the sea and its marine life. Last year, on the seventh day of Ganpati, shores around Juhu beach and Dadar beach were filled with dead fish. Not just that, the government spent some Rs 15 crore in cleaning the beaches of Mumbai. Mumbai Police received around 200 noise pollution complaints. And about 200 broken idols were collected from Juhu and Dadar beaches.
There are a lot of eco-friendly options available in the market that cause no harm to the environment, which means we can celebrate the festival and let the sea and environment celebrate too!
On that note, let me end by saying, Ganpati Bappa Morya!
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