It’s that time of the year again, when we welcome Lord Ganesha into our homes. Devotees would be engrossed in the loud chants of “Ganpati bappa morya,” praying to their favourite god of new beginnings. We spoke to a few of the prominent names in the city to understand how they celebrated these 10 days devoted to Lord Ganesha, believed to be removers of all obstacles.
‘My kids enjoy the prasadam’
Ganeshaji embodies the spirit that duty is above all else and that one should finish every task one is entrusted with. This is my learning. I started celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi since 2005 when I was posted in Hyderabad. My first memories of the celebrations go back to 2000 when my husband (IPS Vijay Kumar) and I were both posted in different districts but were drafted for the Ganesh bandobast at Hyderabad. The bandobast that year actually allowed us to spend some time together. Every year, we bring home a small eco-friendly Ganesh and immerse it on the seventh or ninth day as the 11th day is usually busy for us. My kids really enjoy all the prasadam that is traditionally made.
— Shikha Goel, Addl. Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad City, (Crimes & SIT)
‘My favourite god’
Ganesha is one of my favourite gods. I believe he removes obstacles, and that’s why, both at home and in my academies, he is worshiped daily. In addition, I love the whole concept of Ganesh Chaturthi — the aarti, singing along and the opportunity for the whole community to be a part of the celebrations. Of course, for me, the loud noise doesn’t work, but the culture of everybody getting together — be it for the making and sharing of prasad or the bonding — makes sense to me.
— Pullela Gopichand, former Indian badminton player and Chief National Coach
‘Eco-friendly Ganesha always’
Ganesh Chaturthi is a family affair where everyone — from the kids to grandparents — join in voluntarily to celebrate and dance to the dhol tunes. For us, it’s always been about eco-friendly Ganesh idols which I make every year. The Ganesha figurine is such that without much effort too it looks cute and attractive, we don’t even have to put colour on it. It is the simplicity that makes Lord Ganesha a favourite of everyone. I even insist that my neighbours take the idols from me; it is my way of contributing towards saving our planet from more pollution.
—Rohini Reddy, artist
‘It’s a family tradition’
I have very fond memories of the festival since my childhood days. Celebrating Ganapati is a family tradition, an occasion when my entire family comes together. The festival is more about expressing gratitude to God than asking more from him. From the last so many years, we’ve been bringing home eco-friendly Ganesha, and I feel it makes a lot of difference. We must aim to leave behind a clean environment, so that even in the future people can continue celebrating Ganapati.
— Sudha Reddy, Director, Megha Group of Industries
‘Seek His blessings’
My fondest memories of Vinayaka Chaturthi are when I was 10 years old and we were living in Delhi. We pray to the Ganesh idol in our puja room — don’t buy and immerse the Lord. My mother would have me and my brother place our school books near the Lord, for his blessings. We would chant a prayer for lord Vinayaka to remove all obstacles and that we should study well. And I think it worked especially for my brother as he ended up going to IIIT & IIM. We would have a special lunch with pulihora and payasam definitely on the menu.
— Supraja Rao, Architect, Interior Designer
‘We make our own idol’
Ganesh Chaturthi is our family’s favourite festival of the year. During my childhood, I remember the entire colony coming together for seven days for the Ganesh Puja and cultural activities such as drama and dance. We celebrate the festival in our hospital, too, where families of patients come to seek solace and strength. At home, my family makes a Ganapati idol of ‘Shaadu Maati’, a special type of clay and use eco-friendly paints for colouring the statue. In fact, such idols even dissolve in a bucket of water at home, thus avoiding the polluting of our water bodies. At the end of the festival, it’s always sad to say goodbye to our idol but as the saying goes, “Ganapati baappa morya! Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Yaa!”
— Dr Kushal Hippalgaonkar, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Sunshine Hospitals