Posting again after long - tot I shud begin this month with my blog itself... :)
Had gone to Goa last weekend for Ganesh - and well - the work for the preparations for Ganesh festival was really a lot this time - reasons being it was our family's turn to put in all the effort for the preparations at my ancestral house in Panaji... some days back when I had left for Goa in mid-August we had already begun decoratingthe huge makar or in other words the place to keep the idol of Lord Ganesha and the topi for it. After we were done, we had a couple of other professionals to do the work for the ghumti or the seating of Lord Ganesha behind the makar. Once done, it was really looking good.
I got busy the moment I reached on Saturday. Of course in the evening, as it is every year, there was a lot of help to tie the matoli or the hanging of fruits and vegetables of all sorts (offerings to God) above the makar, and also to lift and place the makar, topi etc on a high level, after other formalities. Ganesha himself arrived at around 6 :) - well yeah, brought him in the car, with some crackers being burst here and there :). The next 2 days promised to be more hectic than ever!!
And well - yes they were... The main task I undertook was to perform the puja at the time of the aartis - all 4 times they were done - for 2 afternoons and the subsequent 2 nights. It was a long task, but it was a real nice experience. Uptil now, I had only been in the crowd singing the aartis with my sonorous voice (ahem!), or outside on the road with loads of crackers and a mission at hand to have fire around me ;)...
But this was something altogether different. It was something like what I felt when doing the abhishek at Marcel (where the temples of our kula-devta are situated. There were a lot of people to help me now and then, hence it was no problem at all. All the rituals went just as planned, though my dad was as tense as ever :), probably as he had a major responsibility on his shoulders.
The tasks did tend to make all 3 of us tired - especially my mom, who was involved in each and everything from the start till the very end. Thankfully we had called a cook who helped in the cooking ( and well, spoilt the tastes of the food made on the first day itself :( )... did miss da food made by mom for those 2 days, but none of us really wanted to put more pressure on her regading the cooking as well...
The nite of day 2 was the visarjan, when we bid farewell to Ganesha and proceed to leave the Ganesha idols in a nearby river or lake. Dats when Ganesh festival officially comes to an end for all of us - relatives etc who come from near and far to our ancestral house - whom I hardly see anytime in the year except at the time of Ganesh, plus some whom I cant even name the relation between them and me ;)... The visarjan took place in style - we started the aartis at 10 pm ( as announced - we wanted to make it as late as possible :) ).. and then we proceeded with the Ganesh idol for the actual visarjan by around 11 pm. My dad was in the car with the Ganesha idol, and I led the way with my cousins blasting crackers, fireworks etc etc and shouting 'Morya' all the way... this is certainly the most exciting part, though it brings about the end of the festival. The Ganesh idol was left in the Mandovi river atop from Pato bridge in Panaji, as usual... and then well, it was over...
Had a late sleep that nite ( wanted to wake up late too, as the next evening I was leaving for Bangalore, and wanted to have a relaxed day )... Normally this is the festival which brings all Goans closer, a festival celebrated with more pomp and show than any other in Goa. One line says it all -
'Ganapati bappa morya... pudhlya varshi lawkar ya'
PS - Visit Goa for the translation if you dont already know about it :)