About 10 days ago, I was so shattered from the incessant demands of Ganesh Chaturthi pooja that I cheated and posted a photo collage from years gone by. The truth of the matter is that I was partially tired, but mostly depressed. This is the first festival without my dad and his absence felt like someone had pummelled me all over.
Festivals in India, as all they are all over the world, are family occasions. In my household, the family consists of a tight-knit group of 3 people: mom, dad, and me. We shared the joys and work of festival time together. Mom cooked, I set up the altar, and dad did the shopping. This year, I did the shopping and the setting up. I was drained of energy by the end of it all.
Mom and I decided to keep the festivities small, because our hearts weren’t in it. But the definition of ‘necessary’ grew and grew till I ended up with an elaborate pooja, very like the previous year. The only two things I left out were fresh flowers (although I did drop a pretty penny for a garland), and the paan leaves for the pooja. Ah well.
I actually used more lights than the last time, and sure enough I spent ages cleaning and setting up the lamps every morning and evening. But it turned out beautiful, so I guess the effort was worth it.