Happy Ganesh Chaturthi…
Although I am not an overtly religious person, the revered elephant-god Ganesha gets more than my fairshare of devotion. Not just because he is the go-to deity for auspicious beginnings.
An auspicious beginning I remember vividly was my son’s. The first ultrasound for confirming the pregnancy happened to fall on Ganesh Chaturthi. My parents, huge Ganesha devotees saw this as an auspicious portent. I was touched by their optimism and hoped for some of that feeling. Our drive to the clinic was in absolute silence and as the doctors prepared my wife for the ultrasound, I didn’t know what to do. Nervous fidgeting, not staring at the monitors, distracting myself, just wasn’t working for me. Then the doctor went to work and after a minute of Hmms and Ahs, motioned me over to the screen. He said “today is Ganesh Chaturthi and I have a present for you”. As he put the probe to wifeys tummy, a beautiful sound resonated throughout the room: our baby’s strong heartbeat. My first time ever, so I really cannot describe the feeling.
Despite being an agnostic at heart, I associate those amazing moments with Ganesha, who I thank from the bottom of my heart for all those blessings.
So, I made it a point to celebrate today in a small way at home. Of course, my baby has gone from 156 beats per minute to 156 mischiefs per second in one year, and that lent a special flavor to the proceedings today.
We invited a good friend over, also a Maharashtrian, and commenced with an “aarti” or devotional prayer. The aarti was tremendous fun because the lamps set off the fire alarm, punctuating Lata Mangeshkar’s sincere efforts with ear-splitting tweets. I had never switched off a fire-alarm before so I spent a minute locating the alarm and its switch. That done, tyke decided he liked the incense stick I was waving and held on to it for dear life. With one end of the stick burning hot, I wanted no truck with accidents so I spent the rest of the aarti furiously battling him for control. This was tougher than I imagined because he has a surprisingly strong grip. As soon as I wrested control, Lata Mangeshkar was again interrupted by ear-splitting shrieks of protest. By now, we were all trying to sing the aarti, laughing helplessly.
However, we all came through unscathed and spent the rest of the day enjoying “modaks”, “aamras”, hot puris and “masale bhat”.
I hope I have even more fun next year!