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Thursday, 7 September 2017

Ganesha & I

When I learned to write, the first words my mom taught me were श्री गणेशाय नमः (Shri Ganeshay Namah|) in Devnagari, not A B C, nor अ आ इ. When I asked the reason, the below conversation followed.

Mom: Because you want Ganesha to bless your education.
Me: Why?
Mom: Ganesha is the God of Wisdom, that’s why.
Me: Why?
Like every other child, I was a confirmed why girl. At this moment, my dad intervened.
Dad: Ganesha loved studying. He was very intelligent, and learned everything he could. Soon, he had so much knowledge that His name became synonymous with education, and knowledge. Thus, He became God of wisdom.

I was awestruck. Someone actually liked studying as opposed to playing?

My first emotion for Ganesha: Grudging respect; I might not plan on emulating him, but it still filled with me with wonder.

Ganesha & I
The Ganesh idol you see is white, it's the light which is giving the colour. I think it's Wizard of Oz effect

As you’ve already deduced from the first para, my mom is very religious, and my dad is an atheist. So, my mom used to read Shivlilamrut in the month of Shravan. There’s one episode in it with a description of Ganesha’s fight with his brother, where they tease each other. My mom thought that I, and my kid brother would enjoy it. So, she read it to us. We did enjoy it; I liked Kartikeya’s spirit, and was not amused by Ganesha’s attitude. A younger brother ought to never call their elder brother (or sister, as in our case) names or carry tales. That, according to me is the first rule of sibling behaviour 😛

My second emotion for Ganesha: Mild irritation; Why couldn’t he respect his elder sibling?

*For those who aren’t well versed in divine relations, Ganesha, and Kartikeya are brothers. Some culture consider Kartikeya, the older (like ours) whereas, others consider the opposite.

As I started school, I loved school. Unlike many others, I loved every subject too. I started to realise what drew Ganesha towards learning. 

Moreover, I loved modak. We had that in common too.

*It was the time, my mom used to fast, and perform puja every month for Ganesha. Later, my dad (and I) made her give up fasting for health reasons. Monthly modaks, and aartis were the fun part of it.

My third emotion for Ganesha: A spirit of fellowship; someone who loves modaks, and books can’t be bad.
Fried Modak: Left, Steamed Modak: right
My brother's work. By work, I mean the photo 😉 The modaks are my sis-in-law's work.

Whatever might anyone say about sarvajanik Ganeshotsav (Public Ganesh Festival), it’s funtime for kids. Oh the decorations! Some Ganesh Mandals create such lovely scenes around the idols. The scenes even portray a story with puppet shows. Then, there used to be drawing competitions, where we drew the likeness of Ganesha. I learned in these competitions, that just about all shapes can be made to look like Ganesha.  He has no strict form like other Gods.

It was at one such Ganeshotsav, that my school friend asked me if I could tell the difference in quality of the idols. I couldn’t. She shared her secret.

She: Look at Ganesha’s eyes. What you see in those eyes tells you if the idol is good.

So, I looked in His eyes. I saw—kindness, affection, and a twinkle of a smile.

*I’m still not sure if those feelings are reflected in His eyes, or mine. Because, I see the same emotions in every Ganesha’s eyes unlike my friend who can see different emotions in different idols. Or maybe these thoughts are my father’s influence on me.

My fourth emotion for Ganesha: Affection; someone with that kind eyes had to be good.

Ganpati idol
The flashing light keeps changing colour. It's definitely not good for Bappa's eyes...
After my twelfth board exams and CET, we had lots of spare time. I, and three of my friends went to Kalina, and Fort to see how an University looks like, Fashion street for cheap shopping, and places around we hadn’t yet seen. Titwala temple was one such place we visited. Titwala is a small town near Kalyan. There lies a beautiful Siddhivinayak temple.

Thanks to my mom, and other relatives I have been to a number of temples since I was born. Temples to me mean ornate designs, grand architecture, stunning idols, and sometimes, lovely surroundings. But this temple was different.

The first time in my life I felt at peace. Frankly, I wasn’t even aware what that is, nor needed it. I didn’t even name the feeling at that time. When I came home, I told my mom that the temple was very nice. I didn’t stop at that. Next week, I dragged my mom, and brother to the temple. My mom was surprised at such a reaction. To explain this, I should tell you I feel cramped at Siddhivinayak temple at Dadar if I visit during the day. At night, it is a bit better. I get bored at Ganesh temple near our place. And that one is beautiful, and serene too. So for me to put a temple on a must visit list wasn’t something she expected. She even asked me if it was the horse carts that I loved instead. After that, I have persuaded most of my friends, and relatives to visit the temple.

I don’t pray. I don’t buy flowers nor eat prasad or offer any puja. I just like to visit the temple to feel good. Even now, when I’m apprehensive or anxious, I visit the Titwala Ganesh temple. It is my happy place. I have realised, some things don’t make any sense to the brain, but they mean something to the heart.

* For those who are interested, Titwala temple is a big temple with simple design—no architectural marvel there. It has a large idol of Ganesha in the inner sanctum, and a giant mouse in the outer sanctum.

My fifth emotion for Ganesha: Love and gratitude; for in His presence at Titwala I found a place, which makes me feel good.

Indispire Prompt
The reason I wrote this post!
*You can read other similar posts about #Ganesha at Indispire Edition 185 

Ganpati Bappa Morya🙏


  1. Wonderfully written, Kiran!
    'Love'ly emotions. We share the love :)

  2. That is a good little story :)
    Hope you had a good one celebrating and eating.

    1. Thanks Indrani. Yes, I did have a good time.

  3. Such a delightful post with quite a few personal anecdotes!
    By the way, in the south Ganesh is held the elder brother:)

    1. Thanks Rajeev :)
      My grandma told me that. But in Maharastra he's considered the younger.

  4. It was really a very nice read, your feelings and journey about and with Ganesha.

  5. Very much interesting to know about your connection with Ganesha. For me, Ganesha is a happy poser for my drawings :-)

    1. Thanks Sindhu. Your drawings of Ganesha are a delight.


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