Ganeshotsav, Pune (Part II: The Minions)

     Have you ever been to a Ganesh Visarjan in Pune or Mumbai or for a movie at the Movie Theatre? And why would I mention such drastically different situations here? In both of the situations there is always a centre of attention which attracts almost everybody’s attention and throughout the illusion we see nothing but that particular object, in this case the Ganpati Idol or the Movie! But have you ever tried to look around you? You’ll notice hundreds and thousands of faces just like you and doing almost exactly what you are doing, looking with grave attention at the cynosure. And epiphanically it occurs that you are a mere unimportant minion in this Universe! That is what made me title this article as ‘The Minions’. Be not demoralized! It’s a beautiful thing to be a minion too. It involves being in close company with various words like struggle, strive, hard work, success, excellence etc., but where is the fun without them! And may be in some micro universe of yours, you might be the Lord, the center piece of the table, the superstar of the movie!

     'Sometimes the shadow is more depictive than the actual object'. I like following this idea. Whenever you are outdoors try to notice the things that we usually involuntarily neglect. You’ll start noticing a very new and different but collateral world coexisting. As I walked around through the crowd trying to get pictures, my attention was snatched by, of course as mentioned above, the Epicenter or the Ganesh Idols. After a while though, I thought I wasn't getting what I wanted. But first, what was it that I wanted? I did not know that either. So I paused. Looked around and suddenly a thousand different types of people and faces started appearing. Everyone distinct. Everyone important! (Because I considered each to be an independent micro universe). From infants to veterans, from rich to poor and from healthy to malnourished, an array of minions walked the face of earth right in front of me, some to get blessed by lord Ganesh, some for the experience. But there were these people who couldn't care less about the Lord. They were there to make a sale because probably their life or even that night’s dinner depended on it. One thing that made me happy was the reduced (almost nil) number of beggars present during this Festival. Each one of them tried to sell something or the other, be it the Ben10 soap bubble gun or the suddenly popular ghost masks which took the market by a swoop! The ghost masks were sure an indispensable part of this year’s Visarjan. They also proved to be interesting subjects for photography.

Hue is on Sale!

Surprising to find such haunting pictures at such crowded places.
Undoubtedly my favorite picture!
The visitors and the vendors crowd the street during Ganesh Utsav!

"A Street Fight!"
The girl threatens to hit the man with her stick for occupying her slot.

During the Ganesh Utsav days, as the people queued, which is probably the price one has to pay for seeking Lords blessing, my lens stumbled upon a group of young girls who gathered around the Mouse Idol to share their desires with the Lord through the ears of the mouse. (It is believed that the mouse is the Lord’s messenger who, when spoken in his ear, delivers our messages to the Lord). What disheartened me was why such young people choose to believe in such dogmas over working hard and achieving their desires? But it’s their personal belief, matter and life and hence I wouldn't say more.

During the Visarjan rally or ‘Miravnuk’, as variety and pep fill the streets, the Dhol Tasha players become a constant source of energy and inspiration and the audience, a source of sweat! The atmosphere, though sweaty and suffocating, is as electric as it could be. Even young teens play tirelessly for hours as the unwavering sound of the Dhol Tasha fills the air.  There is not a place on the entire Laxmi Road where you can just stand for even a minute. Balconies, windows, terraces, fences and any type of platforms available are jam-packed with spectators from all walks of life.

Finally as sleep started to penetrate our (i was accompanied by two of my friends for the rally) staunch will to experience the complete rally, we decided to wind up right after the Dadgusheth Ganpati crossed the Alka Chowk, the usual epicenter of the Visarjan rally. On our way back, I saw the visarjan aarti of Dadgusheth Ganpati in progess and thought of getting a few clicks, when suddenly my sight landed on the tired eyes of two of the eight bullocks who were forced to stay up all night just for dragging the ‘Rath’ or the chariot of Dagdusheth Ganpati, which according to me, though traditional, is extremely cruel and irrational exploitation of the helpless beings! The feeling was saddening and even though I tried to click a picture, I just couldn't deliver!

To sum it up, the Ganesh Utsav is just Pune on a plate! You get to see almost every kind of human living in Pune, that is if you observe around you and not just stare in front of you! As against the Woodland advertisement which inspires you to ‘explore more’ by making the actor travel miles, I suggest you first explore more by observing and exploring the people, events and things around you. It just makes your monotonous life far more interesting and perhaps might provide you newer alternatives for enjoying your social life.

"Deliver my mail, will you?"
The man, whose son was probably the same age as the toy vendor,
treated the vendor extremely rudely. Where the hell is humanity these days?

"Back Off! I'm too cute to be clicked by you!"
His charm and enthusiasm turned quite a lot of heads!

Let it rain, let it snow
I'm going to play all night, and that is all i know!

"GOD! I just can't catch a break!"

The ecstatic crowd!

Beware! The demon could be right amongst you!

"Slow Dance" is what he called it.

Some kind of a folk performance the kid and his grandfather put up.
Its tough to see how much the old man had to strive for some money.

"The Conjuring"

Ganesh Visarjan got the poster excited too!
The over night food stalls to tend to the mid night hunger - Dosa!

The over night food stalls to tend to the mid night hunger - Roasted Corn!
Camera: Nikon D5100 with Nikorr 18-105mm

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