A vahana for Ganesha

She was constantly running around Mount Kailash in search of her son, who she would find hiding behind a snow covered tree or hill. The angry mother would drag the little one back home. Then she would make him sit beside her while she completed her chores. Her eyes would frequently stray to her elephant-headed son.

Bal Ganesha was fond of sweets, especially laddoos. Whenever Parvati prepared a special meal for her family, she would keep a strict watch over her son who would happily eat up most of  the laddoos from the large platters, leaving very few for his father and brother.

Quiet Kartikeya was no trouble. He was an obedient child. He seldom needed supervision. Sitting astride his peacock, Kartikeya travelled everywhere, often  taking his father’s messages to the gods.

“I too want a vahana (vehicle),”  Ganesha tugged at his mother’s sari. This had been his frequent request for the past one month.

“You are not ready for it Ganesha,” his mother answered. A vahana for Ganesha would mean more work for her. She would end up looking after her baby and whichever creature he chose as his vahana. It had been no problem getting the self-reliant Kartikeya a vahana, for he looked after himself and his peacock.

“I will get you a vahana when you grow a little older. You have to take care of your vahana,” she explained, cradling her son in her lap.

Stomping his foot, little Ganesha pouted. “No, I will not wait. I want a vahana right now,” he said loudly, shattering the peace and disturbing his father who was meditating.

Shiva opened his eyes. Kartikeya and Parvati shivered. An angry Shiva was a fierce sight. Mother and son stared at Shiva in shock. Seeing the fear in their eyes,  he smiled.
“Come here,” he beckoned little Ganesha, who trotted up to his father on chubby legs, munching a large peda. Gathering his son close, Shiva ruffled Ganesha’s hair.

“I have the perfect vahana for you,” he said, winking at his wife and Kartikeya. They were stunned.

Over the last week, Shiva’s meditation had been disturbed by the constant squeaks of a scampering mouse. Not just that, the mouse had chewed up his meditation mat! Ganesha too was proving troublesome. It was time to bring two naughty creatures together, decided Shiva.

 With his cosmic eye, Shiva saw the little mouse hiding in a corner of the room. With a brisk snap of his fingers, he brought the mouse out. The tiny creature obeyed Shiva’s silent command and scurried towards him.

Lifting the mouse, Shiva dropped it into baby Ganesha’s hands.  “Henceforth this will be your vahana,” he said.

Thrilled with his vahana, Ganesha went down on his haunches and stared delightedly at the furry little mouse.

The moment the mouse was placed on the ground it darted away to safety. Ganesha, who taken by surprise, chased the pesky creature all over the house. Parvati smiled. Her clever husband had once again solved her problem. Now her little Ganesha would not trouble her, as he would be too busy keeping his mischievous vahana under control. It would take Ganesha years to learn to control his mouse, and by then he would have outgrown his mischief!

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