Festival, celebration of life with nature

First week of the September, the festival season has started. I never thought that this year’s Vinayaka Chaviti / Ganesh Chaturthi will be remembered for a special reasons. Firstly, I entered into professional life and got my first salary which is always a special one. Yes, I know the experience now. The second reason was Ganesh, a person in early 20’s from a rural background. For his professional reasons he shifted to the city. As a fresher due to the training sessions we couldn’t get a holiday to visit our hometown. So we planned to celebrate the festival together.

We planned for the puja and started our shopping. Ganesh couldn’t join us for shopping as he had to be in the flat we share. For our luck we got a special combo where all the required things needed for the puja were available. When we returned to the flat Ganesh who is anxiously waiting for the idol of his beloved god took the combo box from us and unpacked. He was dumbstruck with the contents of the combo. After watching him I asked him about the reason. He said that there is something not natural with these things.

First comes the idol of Ganapathi in lavender color though it’s very beautiful we have to admit that it’s a work on ‘Plaster of Paris’. He asked whether it’s natural and would decompose naturally without harming environment. Obviously our say is “NO”. Then comes all remaining things some of them are plastic non-decomposable. Some are un-naturally grown.

One of our friend who happened to be present there questioned Ganesh why is he considering only natural things instead we could find combo packs easily available also at a lower cost. Ganesh in reply stated that

It’s about taking and giving back to the nature

Idol is made from mud collected from the water bodies at this point of the season so that depth of the water bodies increases and more rain water can be collected a rain water harvesting technique. Next comes the various leaves for the puja when submerged along with the idol after the festival in the water bodies helps in purifying the water. Food offered to Ganesha during the festival have less fat content and easily digestible. You are taking from the nature and giving it back. This is how this festival is to be celebrated. In contrast, we are celebrating the festival to show ourselves rather than to show our devotion to god and commitment to the nature.

It is better to have 1 inch of naturally made idol rather than 100 feet plaster of paris one.

We tried to get mud from various sources and in vain couldn’t find any. So at last after a major search and many resources we managed to get some mud and leaves (patrulu in telugu) for the puja and tried our best to perform the puja in the mentioned way.

During the visarjan/nimarjanam(in telugu) the last part of the festival when all of us celebrating, dancing to the beats of drums he stood quietly and most of the time never turned an eye on the processions that carried the idol. I asked “What’s wrong with this? Why don’t you come and enjoy the process?” He replied “What’s the point in making such sounds? Can’t we carry them silently? Sounds are a way beyond the permissible limits they are small children, elders, heart patients whom should not be exposed to such magnitude. Everyone should be able to see the god in a peaceful way and offer their prayers but not frightened by these sounds sorry noises.”

Festivals are the celebration of lives.

They are the integral part of our culture. No species other than human can celebrate festival. They remind us our bond with nature. It is better not to celebrate the festival rather than celebrating for not it’s intention.

Belated Vinaya Chaviti/ Ganesh Chaturthi wishes.

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