Soaring spirits behind festivities

Joy comes home

Despite the swine flu scare, the City is all set to bring in Ganesha habba in the same spirit as it always has. When the streets are filled with artistic Ganesha idols, when groups of young men are going around their localities with their ‘collection boxes’ seeking donations to organise the festival and the markets are filled with flowers, one knows the festival has arrived. And if one listens carefully, one is bound to hear the popular rhyme Ganesha Banda Kai Kadabu Thinda... floating in the air.

This sure is one festival where one gets to see the traditional side of a modern City coming out. Preparations for the festival have already begun.    

Shamala, who has been celebrating the festival for a very long time, says that the first thing she does is to buy new clothes for her family. She says it takes a lot of time in preparing the wide variety of food. “This is one festival, when we get together with all our relatives,” she says while adding, “On the day of the festival, men in the family go out and buy the idol while the women make preparations for the pooja.”

When it comes to purchasing the idol, many have become very conscious of the environment and are going for the eco-friendly Ganeshas, made out of clay and natural paints. But not all people bring home an idol. While some go to the temple for a glimpse of the idol, others are happy visiting the idol placed in their locality with the loudspeaker blaring out a combination of devotional and film songs. Poojas celebrated in a grand manner and those conducted in a small way, are all there in the City.

K Ranganath recollects how different the festival was when he was a child. “In the evening, before nightfall, we  used to go around our neighbourhood to have a look at the Ganeshas in other houses. The goal was to see as many as we can and we would gladly collect the sweets and sugarcane offered by the lady of the house,” he says while adding, “Those days, we would happily ring the doorbell of any house as the City was considerably safe. It’s not the same today.”

The flower markets are another place that remain packed.

“Festival time is always a busy time for us. Some of our regular customers order the kind of flowers they require weeks in advance. There are also those who come a day ahead,” says Amarnath, a flower vendor at the Malleswaram flower market. Known for his love for sweets, the Ganesha habba cannot end without holige and kadabus.

Many traditional families spend hours in the kitchen preparing them.

Today, with the availability of home-made products in shops, many families prefer to order the sweets.

Buying new clothes too is a must and with the ongoing sales, shoppers are more than happy. There are still those who feel that the crowd is not as much as it used to be.
“Either due to recession or due to swine flu scare, not many people are coming out to shop. Hopefully, more people will make their way on the day of the festival,” says Shashank, a shopkeeper.

With Ganesha habba around, people are hoping to get rid of all their obstacles.

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