Ganpati Bappa Morya 2017

I do one of these posts every year (here is last year’s), and since last year I have been on a mission to make the pooja less elaborate. The reasons are two-fold: firstly, I am tired a lot and the elaborate set ups, with fresh flowers, ghee and oil lamps, the separate idol for pooja, and more besides, take a LOT of effort; secondly, my heart has just not been in it since we lost Dad.

This year, mum and I decided to keep it small. “Small” though is a relative term. It turned out quite big, but after perusing last year’s post, I see that at least it was smaller than that one.

I didn’t have fresh flowers at all this time. No separate idol for pooja, and no paan leaf pooja either. I got rid of two of the oil lamps, and lit the candles only once a day. The entire process took half an hour less each in the morning and the evening, and honestly we didn’t even notice that it was reduced. So success, I guess. Next time, might well be substantially smaller than this year.

Here’s hoping. And a picture.



Saffron-Coloured Glasses

Ah, I am in the mood for a rant. Of late, I haven’t been spending too much time on Facebook, having been swamped with work of all description. So, I was ripe for some gossip when I logged in a few days ago.

Now, I have several relatives on my Facebook, most of whom are computer illiterate, and essentially are ghost profiles with the odd picture with a caption in all caps. But one of my cousins is not quite that useless; she uses her page to share posts, pictures, videos, news stories, updates, and the minutiae of the daily life of her guru, Nityananda.


First, in his list of awfulness, is the fact that he assumed the name of an older sage, venerable and divine.

Second, the man has been embroiled in a sex scandal, and has the ineffable temerity to claim that his driver morphed the video. I wonder why this apparent video production wizard toils at being a driver.

Third, he wears so much gold that it looks like the Dubai gold souk vomited on him.

Fourth, he has woven such an elaborate web of deceit and conceit that his followers are entirely besotted with him. They fail to see the blatant aggrandisation. They are oblivious to the fact that true spirituality doesn’t seek material wealth. True spirituality exists alongside only humility.

Fifth, my stupid cousin has embroiled her children in this insanity too. These youngsters are now his disciples, and spend time and energy spreading his “teachings”. There is a photo of him dressed up as a revered deity, blessing my niece. My niece, with all the clarity of a teenager, went bonkers. It is now “one of her most precious photos”. The creep is looking at her like she’s meat.

I could go on really, and believe me I have derived much amusement from my cousin’s utter nonsense. But right now, I’m annoyed, and don’t feel like joking about the baboon’s arse any longer.

Ganesh Chaturthi 2016

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.

img_20160905_204929The whole set up.
img_20160905_204953The big Ganpati idol, which has a story of its own. No visarjan.
img_20160905_205012The little silver idol for the pooja stuff.
img_20160905_205024 A glass of water, in an exquisitve crystal glass bought by my grandfather, and the panchaarti.
img_20160905_205057 Coloured lanterns on the ledge above for a little backlighting.
img_20160908_114700 A marble statue given to my father in Jaipur. He loved that little thing.
img_20160908_114723 China coasters that my grandfather bought in Holland.
img_20160908_114735 The lit brass lamp catches all the facets of the crystal.
img_20160909_200603The end.

Ganesh Chaturthi Through the Ages

I’m exhausted today, after a long day of working my ass off for Ganesh Chaturthi. So I’m going to cheat a little and just post pictures. Not of this year’s festivities though, because those aren’t over yet.

GC - 2005 2005
Ganpati (6)2007

[Missing 2012. :-(]


Most of these were at home, but first few were during college, and I was absurdly young and clueless about the festival. So I made do with limited funds and small bits and bobs that I could find at short notice.