Every year, we do things for our beloved Ganpati Bappa – offerings, dancing, pandals, music! Have we ever thought about what he feels about all of it? Here’s an Open Letter from him to us. As told by Ganesha to Sanika Diwanji:
“Pune has a special place in my heart. It was in Pune that Mr. Tilak made me a public figure! Overwhelmed, back then, at his brilliant idea of bringing together all my beloved devotees, today I’m not so sure of it. I’m slightly annoyed about certain things and I needed to vent it out. So consider this as an Open Letter of sorts from me because I’ve noticed that off-late people only take heed of issues once they are penned down as an ‘open letter’ and circulated on social media.
Incessant loud noise- everywhere, all the time
Over the years, I’ve come to understand that there is an unwritten rule for all Ganpati pandals in the city. The wall of speakers has to be in direct proportion to the pandal size. The bigger the pandal, the bigger the ‘bhinta’. And if you are complaining about the same thing, imagine what I must go through – what with these large ears!
Songs that make my ears and mind cringe
Honey Singh and Anand Shinde’s musical repertoires are so scary that I have nightmares about it long after I swim back to my home.
Sometimes I wonder whether I’ve mistakenly given you all an impression that I like watching plastered men trying to dance and yell at other people while catcalling at passing women. Why do I have to witness this mass drunken revelry every year?
From the above point arises another question. What’s with this ‘Ganpati Dance’? When have I ever danced that way and why is my name being given to this act of random limb movements? But then, the superior entertainment value that this provides me through the ten days is undeniable!
The unending crowd
Okay, although I admit that the throngs of people that fight to get one glimpse of me does make me feel like a total rock star, I feel quite claustrophobic by it. It is unnerving to see so many people crushing each other and yelling profanities to reach me just to click a photo.
‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the best pandal of them all?’
I know Mr. Tilak initiated this festival in my honour to bring people together, but I’ve noticed that this aspect is long forgotten. Today, I’m summoned at a pandal every 300 metres on the road almost to judge a ferocious competition of ‘who has the most psychedelic lighting amongst all’.
Also, don’t you see the irony in how you all voluntarily contribute money to dig holes on roads with heavy traffic in order to build pandals for me? And then you decorate these pandals with social awareness messages about the ‘poor state of the city roads and infrastructure’.
I am lost for words here….
Is it really necessary that each and every one of you who comes to visit me needs to lay down the sticky, sugary prasad at my feet? The ants make a feast of it along with my feet and nobody seems to care! Why don’t you guys rather give that prasad to those countless poor kids you ignored at the traffic signal? And you know what I don’t even like sweets that much!
And although I resigned to the fact that you humans will never stop politicizing religion, must you really make a fuss of which political leader will get the rightful ‘honour’ of creating traffic jams to visit me at the ‘Manache Ganpati’?
But all of that is still tolerable compared to what I go through when you drown me in filthy water and leave me mangled and disfigured along with countless polythene bags and rotten flowers.
Please use some common sense and take heed of the environment you live in!
I can tolerate these things for 10 days. But why do you put up with it all year round?”
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