Saturday, 4 July 2015

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in Pune : Part 1

Once again, I am at Delhi’s Anand Vihar Bus Terminus; yes, the same Delhi which most of the time fills with hot, humid, Pollution and irritating touts who ask for Auto or Taxi then fool you demanding surplus money. But I take DTC bus for Nizamuddin Railway Station in 10 Rs ticket. Sun is rising behind the cluster of huge buildings. What an irony, in metropolitan cities sun comes from behind the buildings. Inside bus, everything is in super mess due to office workers and students. I reach railway station in half-n hour where I cross ocean of passengers to find out AC waiting room. I drop my sack on empty seat and turns to washroom meanwhile woman sitting next says – washroom is unclean and stinking without water. But as it’s nature’s call so I have to go. When I entered, it was seriously stinking. I already have many weird experiences about Indian Toilets so somehow I managed. I have to wait long for train so I roam around station. Filth, dirt, garbage and ocean of crowd making it hazardous. Railway announcements are echoing everywhere and in displaying on large screens as well. I pass 2 -3 security checks and reach other part where I found a cafeteria. I sit there with sip of much needed coffee. Spending good time, I back to waiting room where passengers of my train have started to come.

A family, a couple, couple with newborn baby. Mother of newborn baby is very smart. She entered into room and starts doing everything quickly along with giving instruction to her husband, which he follows like a good child. Poor guy taking care of baby and attending his office calls too. A woman with her teenage daughter is next passenger to enter, who sit next to me. Girl has all the new-age tantrums like she has smart phone, on which she is calling, messaging, chatting on whatsapp and updating profile on facebook. After finish, these serious things she comes to her makeup and starts from hair. She removes 1 hair clip 2 hair clip 3 hair clip 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10……….21, 22, 23, 24 and so on... I am amused how she had managed that much pins on her head but she did. Anyways now it’s time to study so she keeps out Arundhati Roy's book 'God in a small things'. I could not stop myself asking her - why you reading this book ? Her straight reply comes - this is bestseller book written by famous writer. She only knows this much about book and writer.

My waiting time passed with these sweet and small stories. I move to platform where train comes after 10 minutes delay and everybody ran like anything. Anyway, I am the first one, who entered into compartment then two young guys enter. Last entry is old couple, who are carrying a factory of luggage and now adjust it everywhere in our compartment, next compartment and next other compartment too. Sweet lovely people need everything to survive for few days. When everybody adjusted, lady introduce herself then we all follow her. Now I came to know that one is army guy and second one is singer and couple belongs to Meerut. Couple and army person are quite talkative. Singer is less talkative. I am happy that someone on this earth is less talkative then me…
Train crossing through Delhi’s slum but from yellow glass of AC everything looks amusingly tremendous though reality is just opposite. One after one train crossed many stations and reaches Ballabhagrah, a small station of Uttar Pradesh. I remember this station coz architect of station gave me hunting feeling which I saw in many horror serials and movie. Anyway lady start questioning and first is me – what you do ? I answer looking out from window – journalist. Why are you going to Pune ? For Ganesh Chaturthi Festival. I start watching out.  now it’s army guy turn – where you from ? what you do and why are you going Pune? Bunch of questions together. Guy reply – I am in ARMY posted in Leh and going Pune for transfer. He is beyond his personality like he talks like Haryanavi but belongs Jaipur and worked in Leh now going to Pune. Before singers turn comes, he move to upper berth and lay down. She is still talking but no one is there to listen…

Everybody come together when lunch arrive. Couple is still chattering. Suddenly singer look at me with smile and offers me his curd saying – my throat will caught cold so can you take this ? I accept it with pleasure and big smile. When ice cream arrives, he offered it again. I ask him – what singing you do ? classical – he replied in short removing hairs from his face. I went Delhi for music test. He smiled and went to his berth. Train is in full speed and has been crossed a long way. I wanted to sleep so everybody went off to their berth and don’t know when I fell asleep. T.T. came and woke up us all. We are now in Kota, Rajasthan. Topography has changed. Rocks are all over as Kota is famous for stones. Now all come together except singer…

Scenario changing quickly. Now it’s all green everywhere, no sign of drought, as I came to know that due late rain drought is everywhere but might possible that few rain gave life to earth and it become green. I saw a woman working in field below scorching sun wearing bright red long skirt, yellow blouse and long red scarf on her head. She is looking beautiful amid of green field but thought shakes me that they do such a hard work then why they get suicides in result. They should have to be prosperous but no, they are not. Scene changes quickly and small thatch appears on screen. This always gives me feel of live movie. Inside compartment old couple still busy in chatting with Army guy. Man have habit to say ‘you understand you understand’ after every sentence or sometime after a word. Its evening and I can see sun set and all become beautiful red then become dark in a while. Now it’s dinner time. Singer again gave his curd to me. After dinner soon all fall asleep.

Mid night I woke up when, train stop in station it dark all over. Train is also in silent mode I also lie down. After 2 hours, all are wake up. We are in Maharashtra and place is Lonawala. It’s rain, fog and green everywhere. I saw small mountains, stone roof houses and people wearing local dress, men dress is similar to my hills. Between these, I reach Pune…

My Marathi brother Prayag is there to pick up me with whom I went to my room where I will stay for next few days. Its early morning and city is still sleeping. I am sure as day will come city will also get ready to run. I am hungry so Prayag take me into restaurant where I first time ate Maharashtrian dish Missal Paw n coffee. Crossing huge buildings of metro city, I reach to my room. Prayag drop me there and tells that I can attend Ganapati Sthapna Ceremony at his friend’s office. I got fresh and went to his friend’s office…

 When I reach her office, everybody was ready to take Ganesh ji from shop which is also a big function. All office works walking with band and shouting GANPATI BAPPA MORYA. Whole city is echoing with this phrase. I think whole Pune is going to take their own Ganpati Bappa according to their status. My group is singing, dancing and enjoying. When we reach shop, I amuse to see different type and size of Ganpati. All shops are pack with customers. We took our huge Ganpati but before taking him out they did some rituals and cover Ganapati’s face. My friend tells me that face would reveal after completing more rituals in office. All set up Ganpati onto Truck and move beck to office with same passion and enjoyment…

 In office, they establish Ganapti on a decorated place where priest is waiting for further ceremony. He starts worship, which goes almost hour or more and after completing all rituals he uncover face of Ganapti. After scrutiny of Ganapati face, everybody has their own opinion like face should be like this or that day face was not like this or statue should be little more big or color should be like this and so on. I move off from there now as Prayag is taking me to city for more Ganapti Pandols…    



  1. They're all so colourful.
    I've seen the green parrot god before in Malaysia too.
    But I don't know its name.

  2. Train journeys are always interesting and you have shown how!

  3. Thanks for the wonderful minute by minute description of train station and train journey. I love it because we had similar experience a few times. However, I would not have accepted the curd and ice cream from an unknown stranger. Heard a lot of bad stories about accepting food from strangers in Indian trains.

    Thanks for these beautiful photos. Now I am also ready for Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. Waiting for your next post.

  4. Fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable post, and lovely photos! Please be careful in the hot and humid weather. It gets pretty hot and humid here in Montreal, Canada, and I have to make sure I don't stay out in it for long, and I drink plenty of water.

  5. Described well.Ganeshnji's images are serene.

  6. द गॉड ऑफ़ स्मॉल थिंग्स !
    सफ़र के दौरान छोटी-छोटी चीजों कों देखने की आपकी विशेषता बताती है कि आप आभासी दुनिया में नहीं बल्कि वास्तविक जगत में ही जीती हैं... :- )

  7. Very colorful photos, and a fascinating post!

  8. This is one festival that I love.

  9. Interesting thoughts indeed, and nice photos!

  10. Nice write up about the train journey.Great capture of Ganesha.

  11. Hello,
    Wonderful images.
    Nice to see the figures with music and happiness.

    Many greetings,

  12. A popular myth associated with Ganesh Chaturthi is that one should refrain from looking at the moon on this day.