Ganesh Chaturthi festivities have begun. This is the first festival of the season and disciples of the Lord can’t keep calm. The celebrations are usually huge in Mumbai but given the pandemic scenario, things are happening a bit differently this year, much like last year.
TV celebs talk about the festival, its significance, most memorable Ganpati celebration moment, if they get Ganesh idol home and their celebration plans this year amid the virus scare. Some of them, who are not from Mumbai, also share the experience of being introduced to the festival in the city where the celebrations are always grand and beautiful.
Since the time I came to Bombay, I have been witnessing these wonderfully huge Ganpati celebrations. In my home town Kota, Rajasthan, I have seen Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations but in Mumbai the fervour is different. This city is filled with a completely festive atmosphere but given the pandemic scenario strict social distancing should be maintained and the celebration should be low key. I will visit a few friends who bring Ganpati home.
Ganpati is one of my most favourite festivals because my husband as his side of the family has been celebrating it for the past 27 years. They usually keep Ganesha home for a day and a half because for them it is like they don’t even visit anyone’s house, not even the neighbours as they avoid leaving Ganpati alone. But they have a lot of guests home during these two days. But last year was different, so is this year. Hence, I will visit my friends Arjun Bijlani, Sharad Malhotra and Vipul Mehta’s houses. I will also visit Ekta’s [Kapoor] place. I would urge everyone to avoid stepping out much keeping the third wave in mind and celebrate at home.
I feel very positive even with the thought of the Ganpati festival. Bappa is the Vignaharta and when he comes and solves all the problems. I always pray and ask him to take away all the negativity in the world and make this world a better place. Bringing Bappa home has been the fondest memory of the festival for me, the celebration, the arti and the vibe at my place used to be different when we all could do it along with our loved ones around. I got him home for three consecutive years. This time too we will do puja at home and won’t step out or have guests coming given to the Covid scenario. Fortunately, outside my set in film city, we have a big Ganpati idol, I will pray over there every day. I had seen Ganpati celebrations on TV and in films before I came to Mumbai and became a part of it for the first time when my then-girlfriend, who is my wife now, introduced me to this celebration in a proper way.
Gaurav S Bajaj
This is my favourite festival and the best ten days of my life in a year. I feel very positive and it’s going to be a little different due to the pandemic, but I feel it will be much easier than last year because I will be spending the time with my family in my home town. We celebrate it for 10 days, and on the 10th day, it gives me so much positivity. I am very lucky that Bappa always gives me something or the other when this festival comes and this year already I have received the offer of this brilliant wedding song titled Dholna, I feel grateful and blessed. Every year there is a different memory, but last year, while we were in our hometown, Indore, me and my wife made an eco-friendly Ganpati idol and decorated it beautifully. After Visarjan in the mud, we sowed a Tulsi plant. I always bring Ganpati Ji home and keep him for 11 days. My family have been doing this for the last 38 years. This year we have planned to bring Ganesh Ji home in a different way. There is a well-known temple in Indore where many of us keep our Ganpati idol and not immerse the same in water. So we will be bringing our idol of the Lord that we have kept in the temple home. Ganpati celebrations are huge in Indore too, big pandals are erected. When we used to live at our old house at that time my father used to celebrate it for the entire colony, but now we try to visit that place once because of where it all started. This festival means another parallel world to me.
I've been getting Ganpati home for the last 11 years. I feel attached to Lord Ganesha and the fervour in the city of Mumbai during the festival is unparalleled. I will be following all protocols. My mom has especially come for this festival. It is usually for one and a half days. I would be celebrating it with my family and close friends. Since it's the pandemic time everyone should follow the protocols.
Himanshu Ashok Malhotra
For me, Ganpati is always closest to my soul. I have been bringing Ganpati home for years and kept him for one and half days. But in between, I could not because of the shoots. This time too I am probably going to miss bringing Bappa home because of my shoot. The first time when I came to Mumbai, I actually saw how Ganpati is being celebrated because in Delhi nobody celebrated Ganpati like it is done here, so I totally loved it. I go to my friend's place, pray, attend the aarti and eat sweets as I love to do the puja. It’s always beautiful to connect with Bappa. This time somehow I will try to visit Lalbaughcha Raja and this will be my most memorable Ganpati darshan. I will be going to Naman Shah house as he will be bringing Ganpati home. The first time I got introduced to this festival, I totally loved it, and still cherish my first visarjan amid the sound of puneri dhol and all the dancing.
I have always been an ardent fan of Lord Ganesha. Being a south Bombay girl there is an entire culture of Ganesh Chaturthi which is celebrated with much fervour, happiness, love, colour and laughter. Though I am a Parsi, one fine day I thought I also wanted Ganpati Bappa home and this happened two years back. This will be the third year when we will be having Ganpati home but because of the pandemic, the celebration will be low key. If Bappa wants he will continue coming home and we will be continuing with the rituals. I pray to the Lord to give all good health, peace and a Covid free world.
Ganpati celebration, which used to be extremely huge, has reduced considerably given the pandemic. Social distancing and following protocols is more important than lavish celebrations. I get Ganpati every year. I even paint our murti myself and even my mom makes mithais. But given the scenario this year, I am not getting Ganpati and also because my mom is out of town. I will celebrate it with a simple puja at home and maybe visit one or two of my friends who would bring Ganpati home.
I was born on the day of Ganesh Chaturthi so my family celebrates my birthday on this day as well. So l have two birthdays every year, once during Ganesh Chaturthi, and the other on the date I was born. I have many amazing memories of celebrating the festival. Ganapati is my favourite God. Whenever I am in any kind of crisis or problem, I just close my eyes and pray to him and also think of Siddhivinayak and everything falls in place. When I was born, I actually didn’t have one ear. It was just skin there but no shape and it was grey in colour. When I was born, everyone said Ganesh ji came home. While growing up my ears took shape and it got their colour also. If you look closely, my left ear is slightly bigger than the right one. Ganesh Chaturthi is a very special festival for me, given that I was born and raised in Mumbai. This year, I would not be in town but Bappa is always with me in my heart and prayers. I want to pray that everything is normal, people get jobs and become happy and we get back to our Covid world.