Ganesh Visarjan – Polluted end or a fresh start?admin
Kapoor is introduced into the flame as it ignites and fill the air with its pungent odor. Mr. Sharma is sweating profusely with his eyes radiating the war of emotions going inside him. “Ganpati Bappa’s presence feel like grandpa to me. The last 10 days have been so good being with him. But he will be gone now. I can’t even imagine how this place will be without him. These flowers, the table, this house will not be the same tomorrow. ” he thought.
With his hands lost in the subconscious motion of Aarti, he looks at the environment around. A small idol of Ganesh ji is placed between a number of marigold around. A hung garland of Jasood ended its length at his tummy. The price of this flower skyrocketed at this time of the year. Obviously as it is the favorite of the elephant headed as they say. Hence, Mrs. Sharma had made it with her hands today. Those hands which were now busy clapping for the last time this year before they bid bye to Bappa. Her eyes were fixed to the Lord’s contrary to the loose pallu she had taken of the saffron saree she was draped in.
But there was some more occasional music other than the clapping by her. The little Riya dressed in a pink frowk could not ring the big bronze bell continuously. So she took breaks during the Para and only used it to give the impact when there was the repeating part. Mrs. Sharma had offered her to ring it herself, but the 10 year old insisted on doing it herself as it was the last day of the festival.
It not only meant the end of these family music every day, but the end of her daily feast to sweets her mom made. She was sad about it as Mr. Sharma concluded the last line with the chant of Ganpati Bappa and the little girl screamed Morya every time to the best of her throat. Mrs. Sharma patted her hair smiling at the kids excitement. Mr. Sharma offered Aarti to the whole crew including the couple of neighbors who had come for the Farewell.
The little Riya was very hesitant sharing the choorma ladoos with them,
“They didn’t come for 10 days. They must have come eyeing my last day ladoos only. And mom made so less this time”. She thought.
Mr. Sharma lifted the Lord Idol finally to take him for a tour of the house before leaving. This was a practice every year. It showered the almighty’s blessing to every part of the house they felt. Little kid was busy showering all the Gulal out of the small pouch she saved from Holi. She was focusing more on spoiling the neighbour aunt’s white dress who were not expecting the color.
After balancing the ladoos revenge with them, she sprayed the Gulal on Ganpati, which finally landed on Mr. Sharma’s blue kurta. Riya was more than excited this year. It was the first time her parents had allowed her to accompany with them for visarjan. It was not safe for the little kid there they felt.
In the small hatchback car, Mrs . Sharma sat in the front with Ganesh Ji in her hands, while the little kid moved from one side to the other trying not to miss having a gaze of the big Plaster of Paris idols in their parades. She wanted to go out and dance with the guys clad in Gulal. But only her eyes could manage to pop out of the central locking system of the hatchback they were in.
At the river front, they had to take a long walk before they reached the point where the idols were submerged. Throughout the walk, Mr. Sharma held the Lord close to his heart while Mrs. Sharma held her girl’ hand tight. She could latch her hand. But not her eyes. The little girl saw a scene she never dreamt off. The Lord she had worshipped since birth was lying dead in pieces in front of her. The legs she used to touch before going for an exam were floating without the body along the river. The whole coast line was filled with differently sized but equally shattered pieces of the Idol.
She almost skipped a beat when she saw a solely floating face hitting an iron post in the river and breaking into pieces. She instantly closed her eyes as she thought it was a bad dream. Because floating skulls is only what you see in nightmares. But she was wrong. As she opened her eyes again, nothing had changed. She could see parades submerging idols one after the other to the waters and adding more to the gathered remains at one corner. With the idols lay a huge number of plastic bags with the used flowers, dry coconuts and some red clothes.
Her legs went weak. Mrs. Sharma was not nearly pulling the little girl along with her as otherwise, they will have to wait a lot for their turn.
Once they were there, they had to wait a lot. “we should have walked faster” Mr. Sharma said. He seemed little angry at both his ladies.
The weight of the Idol may have got him irritated. Riya thought.
“i told you, we must not bring her along.” Mrs. Sharma told finally leaving her kid’s hand.
She looked tired now. As Riya got free access, she started wandering around. But she could only see the same, people coming, dumping in their lords and leaving. The water had turned white on the surface with the pop showing its color.
The sharmas sat on one of the side pavements and riya found some of the wet soil there to play with. She always used to. Mrs. Sharma tried once stopping her,but they were dirty any way. Let her play is what her man suggested.
Riya started making small dumplings out of that mud. It even had some Cow dung mixed which gave it stiffness to hold. After some time Mrs. Sharma bored out of waiting, thought of checking on her little one. She turned around to see that riya was making kind of a sculpture out of the mud and waste. She walked up to her interested to know what her terrorist had created this time. What she saw stunned her eyes though
The little girl had made a small Ganpati out of the dung and mud. She even used some waste dry tree twigs to make eyes and ears. Mrs. Sharma got very angry seeing this.
She puller her by the arm and scolded “Pagal hogai he tu? Kachre aur gandagi se Ganpati banate he kabhi??”
The innocent kid paused for a while, thinking of a valid defense. She spread the mud dung mix on her face while cleaning the sweat and says “Mom, jab Ganpati Bappa Itna kachra Kar skte he, to Kachre se Ganpati to bata hi skte he na?
The small girl’s innocent question moved the big lady. She left her hand and took a step behind. She had no answer to her. The girl’s questioning eyes as if drilled the whole belief of faith and religion Mrs. Sharma had in her. She could not face those eyes any more. She went and sit beside Mr. Sharma again. She told him something in the ear, they discussed for a while and both walked back to their little princess draped in mud now.
“Chalo Beta ghar chale”. Mrs.Sharma said signaling her to come.
“aur Bappa? ” the little girl asked curiously pointing to the Idol in Mr. Sharma’s hands.
“Bappa he. Sath ghar chalenge. Ese Kachre me thodi na chod k chale jaenge.” he says
The little girl jumps with a scream and rushes to her parents and they circle in a family hug before walking back to the car.
Back home, Mr. Sharma dissolves the mud idol into a bucket as Riya and her mother are chanting Morya and then pours the liquid into a small new pot in their balcony.
Days after this, one morning, Mr. Sharma opens his balcony door to pick up the morning news paper roll. As he bends down to collect the roll, his eyes get distracted by a fresh red rose budding out of that same pot. It instantly brings a smile to his face and a tear rolls down his eyes and he says
“Now, you will always be with us! Mere Bappa!”