Sep 23, 2002

Ganesh Chathurthi

This past Ganesh-Chathurthi, as always, I got reminded of that other day - the last day of my stay in Bangalore. Ganesh chathurthi usually has some negative connotations to me because of all the communal violence that is associated with it and I think of the parade as just the wealthy and powerful, flaunting.

But this day was different. I was to quit the city that evening and it colored my moods. The whole day me and my friends wandered about, with no particular destination in my mind, no urgency to do or accomplish anything. My friends, KK & VKG, typical men, did not have anything sentimental to say about my departure, nor any tears to shed and were acting as though it was just another weekend and we were on our usual ramble. I distinctly remember we didn't talk much, but we walked quite a bit that day, sometimes beneath the shady trees adorning the roadside, sometimes on the pavements beneath a blazing sun, sometimes listening to the sound of the birds, sometimes the honk of a vehicle. All the time, Bharathi's "vittu viduthalaiyagi" was constantly playing in the back of my mind.

The day culminated with a visit to the lake where the Ganesha chathurthi celebration was coming to an end. We stood close to the water, gentle breeze caressing us, the sun painting glorious colors on the dusk sky and watched the crowd gathering and with all the drama, the various idols of Ganesha being brought in for immersion. The massive idols kept rocking back and forth to the rhythm as they approached in a steady pace and were sunk one after the other into the water, while the crowd kept chanting loudly, "alli nodu Ganesha, illi nodu Ganesha". I still feel the promise of an answer to some universal mystery that filled the air, that day.

September 23, 2002