This was an experience like no other!
Every year a Ganesh idol is placed in my uncle's office on Ganesh Chaturthi and on the tenth day the idol is taken out in a procession and immersed with much fanfare. I have never participated in the festivities before except for the traditional lunch which is served on the last day. This time I decided to throw my reservations and join in the festivities even though I have plenty of concerns about the environmental issues associated with these celebrations. (I don't mean to sound like Ms. Holier than Thou... But I know I do. Eeks! Sorry!!)
I reached office by 6:00 PM and since it had already been pouring cats and dogs the roads were already flooded. We rolled up jeans, plucked our courage and literally waded in...
I was given an over-sized kurti to change into so I could be part of the group. I grudgingly agreed. After that though there was no stopping me. Dress change complete, and after a hurried photo session my cousins and I walked out of the office and onto the street, into the pouring rain where are a DJ was dishing out some rather bizarre, but pacy, numbers. There were about 60 odd people dancing in the pouring rain like people possessed. The mood was rambunctious and the energy was palpable!
We danced like monkeys who had been given a shot of I-don't-know-what. Not elegant. Not graceful. Not anything you'd want to see. But oh, I could do it again.
A game of uttu followed. A star was suspended by a rope. You were given a stick and you had to break the star by hitting it. And all the while people would throw water on you so you couldn't see. Great fun, if you like mild forms of torture... Almost everyone had a go at it, including me, until someone got hit on the forehead with the stick and had to be rushed to the hospital for a bleeding forehead. The next player too managed to hurt someone else, when uttu was immediately stopped.
Dancing resumed. Spirits were a little dampened but the festivities continued even as the rain kept pouring. After all the only way to keep warm was to keep moving.
Meanwhile a 40 feet long trailer / truck was being readied for The Lord's journey.
After the final puja, the idol was transferred to the truck and we all piled in. I immediately proceeded to do what I am best at... Fall and get hurt when I am doing the most harmless thing. Like walking. I didn't fall off the truck but I did manage to fall on one of those huge vessels, one of seven, that held the Prasad for distribution.
I was tired, hungry, soaking wet and now hurt too. But that was forgotten soon enough. The moment we reached the main road and started distributing the Prasad packets. There were too many people and not enough hand to distribute. We ran out of the packed packets. We ran out of the leaf bowls. We purchased glasses enroute. Ran out of them. Ditto paper cups. We dished food onto people's hands. About 7 boys on my side of the truck were helping pass the food around. We were moving at a snails pace. Yet it wasn't enough. Even the bouncers joined in to help. (Yes, there were two of them!)
About 2 hours later we finally reached Tank Bund. It's just about a kilometre away from the office. The idol was transferred to the crane as chants rang in the air. Lord Ganesha was bid adieu and we headed back home, shivering and cold.