Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Arrival of Ganesh


When I was growing up, festivals were a time for families to get together and meet friends and neighbors. It was more about socializing than anything else.

These days it seems everything is more about the noise - How much louder and longer I can blast my music and fire crackers than the next building. Where I stay, every opportunity they get, they bring in the loud speakers and mic. There will be an announcer no one wants to hear and loud music. In case of the current Ganesh festival, also a group of very out of tune bhajan 'singers'. Our ears have been ringing with all the noise. Except for Eid. Nothing happens on Eid. There aren't enough people who celebrate the festival who want loud speakers.

Now I don't have anything against people celebrating. I in fact have nothing against anyone doing anything as far as they are not infringing on someone else's space. I will also tolerate fire crackers for a day if required. But unfortunately that's not what usually happens. The 'celebrations' go on for a few days consecutively. That means you don't even get time to recuperate from the headache you got last night.

There is absolutely no consideration for people who don't celebrate the festival or for those who prefer to do it in a quieter fashion.

How I remember the festival is the colony getting an idol on day one; then every evening at the pre-fixed time everyone would gather around it and sing hymns (without mics); then on the eve of the idol immersion, there would be an entertainment show with residents dancing or singing. A procession would be taken out the next day to take the idol and immerse it in a water body. Plain and simple.

You know you're getting old when you wish for 'the good old days'. Sigh!



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