The remover of obstacles can be anything from Spider-Man to farmers’ well-wisher

Whether it is six-year-old Anusha’s clay Ganesh, 15-year-old Rakesh’s Ganesh made of leaves or 62-year-old Jayamma’s traditional clay one but daubed with colour, the spirit remains the same. As Shamal Bantwal puts it, Ganesh Chaturthi to her is “a family tradition that we have been following”. “Every year, my entire family looks forward to the festival. Ganesh, in my opinion, symbolises calm, peace, prosperity.”

It is that time of year again when the city’s marketplaces are swamped with idols of Gowri and her much-loved son. As usual, the elephant god reflects popular tastes and concerns. A walk down R.V. Road should demonstrate the varieties of idols that are making a statement this season. One gives you a laddoo in a jiffy if you bend and touch his feet. Another has morphed into Spider-Man. But a personal favourite among the vendors on the street is the Drought Ganesh.

Deity of drought too

As soon as Srinivas M., the proprietor who commissioned this telling Ganesh, learnt that swathes of Karnataka were hit by drought, he knew he had found his muse. The tableau, created by his team of artisans, depicts a pair of tired oxen ploughing a field, minded by farmers in tears. Ganesh, standing in the centre, is projected as the only hope for the farmers.

Street-smart vendors have realised that innovative Ganeshs fetch big bucks. Mr. Srinivas mentioned that the Drought Ganesh and Spider-Man Ganesh were sold for Rs. 10,000.

Customers are grumbling this year as the idol prices seem to have spiked by at least 20 per cent. Mahesh J. and his friends who live near Peenya buy a six-foot Ganesh every year. “Last year, I paid Rs. 10,000. This year, the same Ganesh costs Rs. 15,000.”

Rakesh N.C., who lives in Thippasandra, said every year, he and his friends set up a pandal at the corner of their street for their idol. Last year, they bought a grand, 11-foot Ganesh. But this year they just can’t afford the price and have decided to be content with a smaller idol and decorate it with innovative designs.

While customers are upset about the inflation, Sreedhar M., a vendor, claimed the increase was only 10 per cent, as a result of the increase in the cost of raw materials as well as labour charges.

The most popular idols this season seem to be the Bombay Ganesh, which vendors claim are transported from various parts of Maharashtra such as Mumbai, Pune and Kolhapur.

Kotappa Ningaunavar (54), who was on R.V. Road in search of his perfect Ganesh, said he preferred a Bombay Ganesh as there is more variety among them. “The colours are brighter and the designs more intricate,” he said.

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