When we left to go off town in the late evening couple of days ago as mentioned above I took the traffic knowledge stored in my brain about the area we were going to get through to get ourselves out of the city. I was one of those preconceived notions regarding the traffic on that day. To my surprise traffic was as accurate I had hope for, but when god wants you to get late there is no power in the world that could stop it from happening.
We had almost left the city when we were stopped by this heavy one sided traffic. It was not difficult to figure what was happening on the blocked side of the road. It was Ganesh visarjan (immersion) carnival. The carnival was huge, I guess the whole suburb was there to make their presence. There are various methods of Ganesh visarjan carnivals in Pune. There is one method where they will use all the traditional Dhol and Taasha to make it look culture and there is another where they will recklessly play anything and mix with beats to please the crowds. I maybe saint in my behavior and in my imagination ;-) but I have no issues what method is being used.
There is this new way these so called Djs or I should call them more appropriately knucklehead entertain the crowd. They use these four square speakers attached together in a box with loudest volume there possible is and they play these hit songs from the Hindi or Marathi movies. That night they not only delay the traffic but they had the courage to play all the latest garbage song at their loudest volume and I am not kidding about it but the volume was so loud that window of our car was shaking continuously. Had it been little louder than that then we would have travelled without the front or other windows for sure. My father expected had some rough comments about the crowd’s behavior and that got me thinking.
Ganpati festival is being celebrated in Maharashtra more than a century. I am sure when Lokamnya Tilak decided to make this annual festival that was limited to public event to bridge the gap between societies; the old people of that time had some reservations about the idea. I am sure fifty years ago some college going boy or a girl had this idea of using a lighting around the Ganpati Idol like we do in weddings, I am pretty sure even then old people of that society would have had hours of argument about this idea but society eventually adopted this change and move on.
I remember Ganpati festival in my childhood days. I spent my childhood in different cities and none of the time we had the privileged to use movie songs around Ganpati idol. We used to see big celebration on television in Mumbai city but even then they had these traditional instruments being used for the visarjan carnival.
When I see today’s kids dancing on movie songs around Ganpati I get worried. I feel worried that the purity of the Ganesh puja is getting neglected. I am worried that they will eventually start ignoring the tradition piece by piece, but there is another way of looking at it too.
Yes kids today are using instruments no one ever heard of. Yes their methods are worthy of argument. I am sure my grandkids or their kids will use some new gadget to make the whole scenario in the Mandap look hip, trendy and cool. Nevertheless even they do everything that we may or may not agree what different situation would they be than us? One of these days the people who started this festival hundred years ago are probably looking down from heaven and will have stronger reaction than what we will have hundred years from now
The crux of the story is this that we just need to let it go. We will have let them use all the new hip gadgets in the world. We will have let them dance on the vulgar numbers from the Hindi and Marathi movies but after the whole chaos at least for 10 minutes in both morning and evening kids and youngsters will stop their unforgiving acts. They will fold their hand, they will light up the diya and they will sing the traditional Aartis with their parents just like we did in our childhood or our parents did in theirs. They will sing the same aarti that our ancestor sung hundred years ago with the same dialect and same pronunciation. After all it is the thoughts that counts and not the action. God wins the day despite some of us disagreements. That’s what makes him Divine!