Livinghigh: God of All Things
Friday, September 16, 2005
Livinghigh was here at 8:05 PM /



God of All Things

I was walking home last night from the station. One thirty am. And Lower Parel was quite deserted. Except for the sparkling, crinkling, winking fairy lights overhead, courtesy the local Ganpati puja. And it reminded me of home. Calcutta. Durga Puja.

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Ganpati Bappa Moriya! ;-)

The two, of course, are quite different. I guess I have a natural bias towards Calcutta and Durga Puja. I'm in love with the way the city teems up with holidaying people, mulling in crowds, or even simply idling their way on footpaths. Couples, lovers, singletons, groups of friends. Late night walks. I remember this particular night in Calcutta: my friends and I must have walked ten or twenty kilometres across the city, stoppping at roadside pujas and pandals, having ice cream and cold drinks, stopping to rest our aching feet and walking again... we walked all night, and travelled to the ghats, by the morning... saw the sun rise over the Ganga. Beautiful sight. And then, we all took cabs to our homes, to wake up our parents. ;-)

Durga Puja is much more... involved! Much less political, than Ganpati is in Mumbai. Much more... grand. The idols are huge. The pandals are huge, and beautifully moulded to form castles, rocky caverns, temples, palaces, and even the ordinary pink-and-green cloth box. The lights are much more dazzling - not overhead reams of moving light as in Ganpati, but columns of standing intricate designs in electronica, and overhead platforms depicting scenes from the epics or even daily life, all in dancing spectres of fairy lights and tubes. Cotton candy and tshirt sellers hoping you'll buy something from them, even as you travail across the city. The traffic jams are same for both Ganpati and Durga Puja, however.

There are times when I think I'm completely integrated into Bombay, and there are times when I realize I'm not. This is one of those times. I don't think of Ganpati as 'my' festival, the same way as I think of Durga Puja. Will miss going back home this October, but it'll still be 'mine'! I don't identify with Ganpati. As simple as that. I may know how and when to avoid the traffic jams in Mumbai on the days of the festival... but I will never think of them as mildly charming, as I do of Durga Puja.

And when I'm walking back home at night on a deserted street, save the fairy lights, though I may smile, I'll probabaly remember another city, another festival, a Goddess I've been brought up to believe in.



11 Comments:

I agree, Durga Puja is a much warmer festival. Not to mention the prasad is much better

By Blogger Akshay, at 9:33 PM  

go back then!

By Blogger aristera says, at 12:21 AM  

No don't go back!!!!

Nice post by the way.. I'm sorry I forgot to call you for ganpati at my place...

By Anonymous Phal, at 2:56 AM  

No don't go back!!!!

Nice post by the way.. I'm sorry I forgot to call you for ganpati at my place...

By Anonymous Phal, at 2:56 AM  

Ah, I agree with Akshay about the prasad being much better in Durga Pooja. Who can forget those Kheer Kadams!

By Anonymous Truman, at 12:06 PM  

i actually find it most insulting when people in Mumbai try and compare Ganpati festival with Durga puja ... I remember when I had first come to Mumbai, people used to ask me: "Isn't your Durga Puja more like our Ganpati?" ... i used to find it quite hilarious actually that people even tried to make that comparision ...
as they say, ignorance is bliss ...

Disclaimer: I am an extremely biased Bengali .....

By Blogger Bonatellis, at 12:55 PM  

Celebrating the son is not the same as celebrating 'Ma'. Somehow Durga Puja trascends the politiciness I see in Ganpati - half the festival it seems is all about Narayan Rane vs the T family. Durga Puja anywhere in the country (and I have spent Puja's in Cal, Delhi, Dharamsala, Bangalore) are somehow a more spiritual event, and the fun that I've had dancing around with 'dhuno' and as a kid performing at the cultural festival at my didima's house, ahh shucks. Damn I miss the Mughlai Porotha, Kosha Mangsho and the occasional Bijoligrill Fish Roll.
Again, like Bonatellis I have to admit I'm a very biased Bong.
Joy Bangla!

By Blogger K, at 1:21 PM  

oh yes the prasad is much better. bhog is sumthing i look forward too.unfortunatley durga puja's in bombay are all abt is all where is hema malini or shaan/baappi lahiri
is performing. every puja mandal asso tries to out do each other.so wen akshay say durga puja;s are warmer than ganpati puja i somehow dont see that in durga puja's in bombay.but i still love going to
durga puja.do chk out durga puja in bombay this time.

By Anonymous aparna, at 8:16 PM  

akshay - so0, uve been to cal, during de pujas, have u? or are we talking abt de bambaiyya/ pune pujas?

aristera - try not to be rabid.

phal - forgiven. dont forget next year.

truman - i looooove kheer kadams... though i think aristera says they're overhyped! lol.

bonetellis - disclaimer accepted ;-)

k - aa, yes, de bijoligrill fish rolls.. and the fish orlys! ;-) u did de dhunuchi, did ya? a frnd of mine did a variation of de same at de now-shut Provogue Lounge at Phoenix! hehehe.

aparna - do invite me for ure community puja this year!

By Blogger livinghigh, at 11:39 AM  

Hi, all friends

NAVRATRI
'Nav' means 'nine' and 'ratri' means 'night', thus, 'Navratri' means 'nine nights'. There

are many legends attached to the conception of Navratri like all Indian festivals but

all of them are related to Goddess Shakti (Hindu Mother Goddess) and her various

forms. Though it is one of the most celebrated festivals of Hindu calendar, it holds

special significance for Gujratis and Bengalis and one can see it in the zeal and fervor

of the people with which they indulge in the festive activities of the season.

Thanking

http://desidirectory.com/indian-festival-events/

By Blogger sushilsingh, at 6:58 PM  

GANAPATI IS BASICALLY HOME PUJA . THE UPPER CLASS MARATHIS DONT COME OUT AND ASSOCIATE WITH THE SARVAJANIK MANDALS .THEY HAVE THERE PUJA IN OWN HOME OR SOCIETY CAMPUS .SARVAJANIK ARE ALL HELD BY ILLETERATE MARATHIS WHO ARE HEADED BY POLITICIANS . WHO ALSO HAVE 2 INTEREST FIRST TO GET VOTES AND SECONDLY TO STEAL MONEY BY MAKING TRUSTS.ALL THE BIG GANAPATIS IN MUMBAI AND PUNE ARE UNDER SOME TRUSTS WHERE THERE IS LOT OF MONEY LAUNDERING UNDER POOJA.

Durga Puja on other hand is specifically Sarvajanik where the Biig shots from all works of life participate for 5 days . Above the extravaganza is for 5 days including Food delicacies.

By Blogger tamal, at 1:14 PM  

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