This is one of those evenings when my friends hijack my evening hours and wean me away from my computer screen.
“Actually speaking, evening is for strolling and socializing” (argues my offline friends) “its not for gluing on to the insensitive machine,”
Insensitive machine?? hmmn!! Well, they are unaware of the big range of activities of my dearest virtual friends with whom I have some 'mousy' fun round the clock, and otherwise also, I do have Saturdays reserved for my offline other friends, yeah! I do!! But still, this is one of those evenings when my offline friends insist that I walk down the stairs and interact with them out in the open air.
So I have two invitations today, a stroll by the seashore for an evening breeze and later to visit another friend for Ganpati pooja.
At 6pm I get one more reminder call to get me off my butt, and I say goodbye to my 'dahlink' machine and off we go to the Jogger’s park at Carter road.
It’s worth it!
The cool breeze and the beautiful sunset, the sky changing colors every minute with sun playing hide-n-seek games behind the clouds, throwing reddish to pinkish colors around the clouds’ lining creating an artistic pattern on the sky’s belly with harmonious reflections of sky on the sea below, such is the sight I bathe in.
We aimlessly walk around a circular, concrete path for next twenty minutes . At one node there was a gardener ..er..umph! a rabbit.. chewing up the grass….(recently I have been seeing animals at many public parks chewing up the over-grown grass, other day I even saw few donkeys on the road dividers chewing up the grass, creating a nice manicured strips in the middle of the busy road, I was thinking if the animals were purposely put there to save the cost of the labor and create food opportunities for the animal and get free fertilizers’ in return??)
After four rounds of the park, the beads of perspiration trickled down my back and I sat down facing the birds cage, watching the children play.. It’s a treat, indeed. A two year old child walks up the muddy path, her tiny feet slipping on minute rolling pebbles and she squeaks…aw!! her four-year-old brother runs and holds her hand protecting her from further scratches…and there is pleasure and joy watching these two kids and I am glad that I am here to witness this.
After one hour of such pleasures, we head towards my other friend’s home for Ganpati Pooja.
‘So very glad that you could come” says my friend with a friendly hug and I am led into her room that is occupied by Lord Ganesha sitting with flute( flute?? yeah, I am wondering too) , half of her room is occupied with the decoration for Ganpati with plates containing flowers, sweets, fruits, lamps, savories all spread in front on the floor. Pundit sits near the idol performing some rituals while there is CD music singing hymns in the background. I occupy the comfy couch and we wait till the room fills in with more invitees. (and devotees).
There is a certain kind of vibrations that uplifts the mind to the higher zones, filling me with the kind of feeling that is difficult to explain.
I am not an idol worshipper, nor do I visit any religious concrete structures for spiritual contentment, I don’t follow any rituals nor chant any rhythmic verses, I have always found spiritual strength within me, it is something that is there within and can be felt every moment, it is the harmony within oneself that helps me communicate with outside world in a pleasant way and but here I was, staring at Ganesha’s eyes and feeling the profound joy.
The pundit immersed the flower into the container of water and sprinkled the drops up in the air, lighting the lamps with camphor in one lamp and oil into the other, he started chanting prayer, then suddenly, the blasting music from CD ranted the aarti “Jai Ganesha, Jai Ganesh, Jai Ganesha deva. Mata teri Parvati, pita Mahadeva” The music so loud that I thought that Ganesha was uncomfortable too..(I was thinking of all the ear specialist in that area who would have a fantastic business after the festival) I am sure all of Mumbai could hear it, plus the heavenly abodes up above, where all other Gods reside. Why didn’t they allow punditji to chant the aarti instead? Had he forgotten his lines? The aarti went on for next twenty minutes with each person in the room taking their turn to hold the plate containing the lighted oil lamps and swinging it in front of the idol of Ganesha. Soon the room was filled with too much smoke from camphor. So much smoke in the room that any asthmatic person (like Dimple Khanna in movie Debangg) would have met an instant death. Everybody in the room was chanting the hymns with teary eyes.
And then there was silence.
But only for a moment and then it was punditji’s turn again to chant more hymns. Flower petals were distributed to everybody and they all threw the fist full aiming at Ganesha but not really succeeding, there were many flower petals on my head too.
The delicious part was the Prasad, (of course) a banana, an apple, dry spicy channa, modak, dry bhel, chikki, dhokla, veg cutlet, stuffed patties, coconut chutney. Yum!!!
Hmmn!! skipped dinner…and back into my virtual world. Hahahaa!!!
Dal Divas Potluck - There was rice, bread, papad, achaar and then there were dhals..a great variety of dhal from different parts of India. All dhals were carefully cooked with...