• It’s a festival, of which, I have fond memories as a child and relate to, far more deeply than any other festival.
• All through my stay in this college, the photo of ‘Lord Ganesh’ is the only photo of any God that I have in my room. So, he is the only one who has listened to all my little wishes and fulfilled them almost every time.
Today, on this auspicious occasion of ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’, for the fourth time in a row, I have missed being at home. Even after having darshan of ‘Lord Ganesh’s’ idol in front of the Penman auditorium I don’t feel satiated. I sense a degree of hollowness around me today.
Despite being powerless to do anything, but eager to fill up the hollowness, all I could do was to look at some old pictures of our family celebrating the festival. I lay on my bed recollecting old memories of this festival.
|A pic of 'Ganesh Puja' at my home in 2006...brings back memories.|
Here is brief account of them:-
• When I was 4 or 5, I remember my family celebrating the festival in our ancestral home in Mysore. I used to hate the puja for running so late, because until the puja got over I was not allowed to have my favorite delicacies.
• When I was 6 or 7, I liked the festival because on the next day of the festival we were allowed to go to school in civil dress. Thus, I could wear my new clothes to school!
• When I was 10, I remember how I used to compete with my Dad while doing puja, because I was not given priority…LOL! That year, we had a very grand celebration at our quarters (if I remember correctly, G-201 was the Quarter No) in ONGC colony Sibsagar, Assam. My Dad had invited almost the entire colony for the puja and there was such a rush in the house! I think my mom was furious at him after that!
• When I was 13, I remember that my Dad couldn’t make it home for the festival, as he was on duty, and I had done the puja instead of him. I recollect my grand mom sitting beside me and teaching me how to do it.
• When I was 17(in my JEE year), I loved the festival, B’coz it gave me a day off from the rigorous and boring routine of solving tricky problems. Being the complete foodie I was at that time, I remember how I had overloaded myself with the wonderful delicacies on offer and had a stomach ache in the night. (Even today, my mom doesn’t know that I had gone out in the night to get Pudinhara tablets!). Also, this was the last time I had been at home for the festival.
• First year in college…I was feeling sad that I was not at home and would not be able to have darshan of even a single ‘Ganesha’. I was relieved and elated when I came to know that there was puja in ‘Diamond Hostel’. At least something is better than nothing.
• Second year in college…Everything was same as in first year, except that I knew what was in store. To add salt to injury, as if missing home was not enough, there was a gas cylinder strike that day and all the messes were off for the day. Had to contend myself with maggi in the canteen.
• Third year in college… Had become so used to it, that it didn’t matter anymore
Final year in college… Now everything seems redundant, but the desire is endless. It seems I have forgotten how my family ceremonially celebrated the festival. Even though the mess is running I have fasted voluntarily.
I am looking at the photo of ‘Lord Ganesh’ in my room and making another one of my little wishes…
You know what it is…
P.S. :- Happy 'Ganesh Chaturthi' to All!
P.S. :- I missed you in the 'Shining white', but my imagination takes me places as to how simple and elegant you must have been.