Last night, I was travelling back home via Eastern Express highway in Mumbai. It was jam packed. But in between that traffic there were quite a few vehicles carrying their favourite almighty home, in their usual fashion, playing dhol tasha along with loud echoes of Ganpati Bappa Morya. A sudden realisation struck that its that time of the year. One festival which Mumbaikars await the most, of their favorite almighty, Lord Ganesha, is here. There's hardly any street in the town which is not decorated. There's hardly any person in the town who is not echoing the chants of Lord Ganesha.
Yes the pandemic is still ongoing and according to Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar, 3rd wave has already struck. But has it struck the faith of Mumbaikars in their beloved Vighnaharta? The answer is no.
If one compares how situation was last year during Ganesh Chaturthi, they will realise how vibrant the city looks this year. Notably, Mumbai's famous and unarguably the most popular Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Lalbaugcha Raja is also back this year, but the size of idol has been reduced to 4 feet.
Ganpati Idol installation at Lalbaugcha Raja, Mumbai. Image Courtesy: Anurag Tiwari
Though public visits are not allowed to any Ganpati mandal due to low-key festive norms announced by the administration, but the vibrant atmosphere across the town gives a sense that Mumbaikars faith in Lord Ganesha is still intact.
Though the festivities are on across the city, administration is quite serious this year on making sure that no crowding happens. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has issued low-key guidelines earlier this week.
According to the guidelines, from bringing the idols of the deity and during their immersion, there will not be more than 10 people in the processions of public mandals and not more than five for the household Ganpatis. All devotees should wear masks and observe social distancing. Also, the 10 participants should have taken both the doses of COVID-19 vaccine and completed 15 days after taking the second dose.
Devotees seen on the street of big city Mumbai carrying the idol of Lord Ganesha home. Image Courtesy: Anurag Tiwari
There isn't much disappointment among the Mumbaikars for not being able to visit the popular ganpati mandals as compared to last year a large number of people have brought Lord Ganesha to their houses. One evidence supporting the statement is that there were cues spotted outside the shops making ganpati idols. But there are some businesses which have continued to suffer like the ones of dhol tasha organisers which could not see a spike as the administration banned the procession.
Ganpati Idol installation inside the house of a devotee. Image Courtesy: Anurag Tiwari
Mumbai has once again proved that pandemic has failed to suppress their faith in Lord Ganesha. Their belief in Vighnaharta remains unaffected by the inception of 3rd COVID wave as they again wholeheartedly pray for their prosperity and hope that almighty this year completely takes away the hardships caused by the pandemic.
(Edited by : Aditi Gautam)
First Published: IST