Mumbai Memoir 134 – Truly an Eco-Friendly Ganesh Festival in Mumbai!
Ganesh festival is a big 10 -day festive event in Mumbai. But this year due to the pandemic, the festival celebration was as invisible as the new coronavirus! Festivals and their celebrations are a human thing. They help humans express, unwind and reset their emotional flow. Dance & music have always helped the human spirit to regulate their emotions. This year, many have missed shaking a leg during the festival. The famous Ganpati dance needs no practice. It is just a raw expression to one’s wild side. Have a look at the dance here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ql9C7lcGnM
Given the monotony of ‘lockdown’ a build-up of toxic emotions is resulting in most of us. The cases of depression, anxiety, domestic abuse, family conflicts are on an exponential rise. The ‘animal’ in all of us is restless, as the ‘social animal’ in us has been restricted on it’s expression like never before! Definitely the emotional and social side of human lifestyle is being restricted, but with new approaches to social celebrations, I believe the relationship between humans and natural environment will improve for good.
Though, since almost a decade people installing Ganesh idols stopped buying idols made of plaster of Paris and purchased eco-friendly, bio-degradable material- based idols. But that was not enough as a holistic approach was lacking. When the ‘visarjan’ (dissolving the idol in water body) use to happen the level of water pollution would rise, thus disturbing the eco-system at many levels.
This year due to the government restrictions imposed on celebration of Ganesh festival, Mumbaikars had to majorly cut down on celebrating on various aspects of the festival. The huge size of the Ganesh idols, the playing of music, the splatter of red coloured powder (gulal), the crowding, all of this was banned. The immersion of the idols too were done in artificial ponds created by the help of Mumbai Municipal Corporation.
The best part of being a human is that we can control our environment with our intelligence, but if there is no harmony and balance maintained while practising ‘being human’, then I guess nature has its own intelligence to ‘course-correct’! COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly hazardous to mankind, but when such hazards help mankind to reflect on their social actions, which were proving disastrous to nature, then it is like learning the hard way!
This year, Ganesh festival was celebrated in a very simple and truly spiritual manner. When there are hurdles in life, but still if one is celebrating a festival in whatever small scale they can, then that spirit is truly coming from one’s soul and being offered to the ‘super-soul’ which we all refer to as God!
Photo Courtesy: Shraddha C. Sankulkar, friends, family and portals of Indiatimes & Hindustan Times