Technology

How households adapted to virtual Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations

Prominent idols like Lalbaugcha Raja and GSB Seva Mandal have gone online this year.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Viral Shah, 21, faced a dilemma as he sat down with his family a week before Ganesh Chaturthi: how do we keep the celebration of the festival alive amid the pandemic?

Bringing home a Ganesha idol is a generational practice at the Shah household. In the last 32 years, the family witnessed nearly 3,000 guests visiting their south Mumbai home each year within the span of a day and a half, to seek blessings of the elephant God. This year too, the family knew the celebration wouldn’t be enough with simply four members performing rituals.

And so, the idea of a virtual Ganesh Chaturthi celebration was born. The family organised a Youtube live session that streamed throughout the day for friends and extended family to join the festivities. Nearly 2,000 people viewed the livestream throughout a day and a half.

Close family members connected on Zoom or Google Hangouts video call for aarti celebrations.

The live stream was uninterrupted and accessible to everyone, said Viral. “We tried and tested it two days beforehand to ensure there are no glitches,” he added. The older family members were receptive too as long as they were able to catch a glimpse of the idol.

Eminent personalities like Sachin Tendulkar also resorted to virtual celebrations this year. The former cricketer had posted a short video on Instagram of him hosting a group video call during darshan.

The committee of Mumbaicha Raja, Mumbai’s most prominent Ganesha idol, is also conducting live darshan for devotees this year.

The story is no different in large housing societies in Mumbai. Committee members of Safal Twins Cooperative Housing Society in suburban Chembur were conflicted with the idea of having a fancy 11-day celebration this year. The committee almost decided against observing the festival, until the group dynamics shown by the residents a week earlier on Independence Day changed its mind.

The members devised a technologically superior way of enjoying the festival with the help of the IT minds in the society, said Pramod Duvedi, secretary of the housing complex.

Facebook live sessions are held twice a day, with most of the 152 households viewing. Even residents aged above 50 are finding this system very convenient as it’s safer and they can enjoy the comfort of home while seeking blessings, added Duvedi.

Instead of door-to-door collection, Duvedi asked the residents to make donations via Paytm and Google Pay. More than 80% of the residents paid using these payment apps, he said.

The committee also tried its hand at connecting the audio system on each floor directly to the pandal, so the prayers could be heard at the doorstep.

These celebrations give reason for members to reunite and it happened virtually this year, the secretary said.

Both Shah and Duvedi believe although celebrations were silent this year, technology has surely helped keep the festivities alive.

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Printable version | Jan 15, 2021 9:16:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/how-households-adapted-to-virtual-ganesh-chaturthi-celebrations/article32437867.ece

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