With each passing year there is something new to look forward to during Ganesh Chaturthi. This year it is the size.
The usual clay Ganesha idol installed at Rising Heights in Hasmatpet will be replaced by a bigger one this year. The regular puja usually done by any member of the apartment voluntarily will now be done by a priest. The prasadam too will no more be homemade; “We are getting laddoos from elsewhere and the children will be putting up a colourful show each evening. This is something different we are doing this year,” boasts Ajay Singh, secretary an apartment block.
Elsewhere in Karkhana, the standard ‘baby’ Ganesha idols up for sale are no less than 5 feet tall. Under the elbow of the Ganesha is yet another familiar face the laughing Buddha! “Ganesha removes hurdles and the laughing Buddha attracts prosperity. Buyers want something new each time, so we brought these idols,” says Ramesh, an idol maker who brought three idols from Vanasthalipuram, of which he is yet to sell two.
Rising prices isn’t limiting the spending on Ganesh puja and celebrations. There seems to be intense competition between pandals and among apartment buildings, a factor that traders are cashing in on.
To meet the demand for pandals of all sizes, those in the business of pandal making are hiring extra workforce. “The experienced ones are going to do the public pandals. Experts from Dhoolpet are all engaged in erecting pandals with specific designs and sizes at big venues. Those with less experience will be doing work for offices, apartments and colonies,” says Akhram Razi, a pandal contractor in Begum Bazar.
Even the regular flower sellers who deliver at doorsteps are not lagging behind. “Would you require flowers for the festival? Besides the regular flowers we can also deliver decorative flowers for the home,” suggests Rakesh Mandal, a flower delivery boy to an apartment dweller Ragini Shah, a homemaker in Begumpet.
“I was shocked at their marketing strategy. . When I asked what flowers they can deliver, he handed me a catalogue and said, if required they can also do up the home and puja mandir at home,” says Ragini Shah.
This makes us wonder since when a private puja started to become so loud. Taking a cue from pandals everyone wants to do it the big way elaborate puja, complete with grand decorations and lunches. “It indeed is getting big, the puja which was done by sons of the construction workers in the locality are also making elaborate preparations. Lights are no more restricted to the pandal, they are spilling over to either side of the roads. And when they came asking for donations, the demand seemed to be anything above Rs. 200,” says M. Saraswati, a teacher living in Manikonda.
Come Ganesh Chaturthi and the revelry brings in different woes for commuters, colony dwellers and life in general. “Every morning huge trucks are seen carrying idols of the Lord, holding up the already messy traffic. Since the idols are big, the auto trolleys or trucks ferrying them cannot move fast; this creates a traffic bottleneck. To make life easier for everyone, these things should be done at night after the traffic clears up,” says Ravi Kishore, an insurance agent.
Many might want to second Ravi on his thoughts but there are some who feel the bigger the puja, the better would be their year ahead.
“We recently finished constructing our triplex house and are looking at doing an elaborate puja since we have more space. When God has blessed us with so much this is just a small way we can repay,” says Rishi Manik, a businessman.
And since the puja is big, the immersion will also happen in a big way. “My sons and their cousins have arranged for drum beaters and I am glad they are taking part in the celebrations,” adds Rishi.
Thus the city gears up for this year’s Ganesh Chaturthi festivities, which promise to be bigger than ever before.