Thursday, August 28, 2014

Go Ganesh Goan

Part of being married to a Goan, it has become customary for me to be in Goa on Ganesh Chaturti and must I add, it is an amusing site at home. But later about the home. With weather in Goa being favourable to me for a change, I ventured out to explore the richness the state promises to offer during the festive season. A vacation amidst the fragrant petrichor, music of pitter-patter and the sight of shrubs and trees being washed clean with the rain is what a city dweller like me needs once in a while.
But that is not all that Goa had to offer. With Ganesh Chaturti, the festive mood is alive in every heart here. The streets showcases a vast array of creativity in the various avatars of Ganesh idols on display. There are Ganesh idols in what looks like Shirdi Sai Baba, lotus and hibiscus flower and Gandhi along with the less unusual forms like baby Krishna or, musician Ganesh along with the gigantic standing, sleeping or, sitting idols.
The other site to marvel is the mattoli bazaar. A visit to the Maatoli bazaar and I was left seeing plants I had never seen before. Maatoli is a Goan tradition where, fresh fruits, vegetables, berries, etc. are hung on a wooden frame over the idol, symbolizing Ganesh’s status as a provider. Fresh fruits, vegetables, leaves and nuts of different kinds are sold for the purpose and none of them come cheap! A bunch of 10 beetle nut is sold for Rs. 200/- and a handful of grass, Yes, you heard me right, grass that is easily available all around us to walk and trample on is sold for Rs. 35/- a  handful! What is surprising is that people actually buy it! Sellers go the extra mile of hunting the deep jungles, fighting insect and reptile bite and climbing slippery trees to get the maatoli ingredients.
The best thing about Ganesh Chaturti here is the peacefulness in which it is done. Tourist flood Goa in hoards during Christmas, New Year and to experience the Great Goa Carnival but fortunately, Ganesh Chaturti here has remained a quiet and joyous festival that graces the homes and temples rather that strutting it out on the streets. No massively blaring loud speakers playing crude songs or, donation demands at your doorstep or, any other attendant evils of celebrations. Ganesh Chaturti in Goa is simply a fresh welcome to the fragrant monsoon. Family and friends visiting, a hearty feast that makes you forbid your health conscious diets, aarti and rangoli is what portrays the festival here.

My next post is going to be on how individual houses in Goa celebrate it and the irony behind Ganesh Chaturti. Do visit again for there is more on the topic.

Happy Ganesh Chartuti.

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