We asked you, dear readers to send us your Ganpati pictures!
N Balasubramanian from Tambaram Sanatorium, Chennai, takes us on a nostalgic trip as he recalls how the traditional rituals brought them joy and love.
Ganesha is the favourite deity of my father and Ganesh Chathurthi is one occasion we always looked forward to when we were young.
A day prior to the festival, my father will bring the clay deity with an umbrella to be placed behind the idol.
He will place Him on a wooden deck and decorate the platform with small plantains, flowers, a set of bulbs and at least five to seven types of fruits arranged on a silver plate and placed before the deity.
We eagerly waited for to the puja to start and end soon, so we could enjoy the delicacies my mother would prepare, specially kozhukattais or modhagams (the small round shaped sweet dumplings made of grated coconut and jaggery), the horizontal shaped salty ones filled with dal-based substance and the wonderful punjamirdham (a special offering of mixed fruits prepared and offered to the deity) made by my father.
Till date, tears roll down my eyes when I think of their dedication and devotion in this preparation.
The rituals would begin after a bath when my father would tie his traditional dhoti. He would pick an odd number of fruits, cut them to small pieces, add jaggery, honey and dates and give a good mix with his hand using his five fingers into the big bowl.
Wow! Tasty and heavenly. I have not tasted punjamirdham like that even in big temples.
My mother will be in her usual madisar (a nine yard saree worn by Tamil Brahmins) following the same rules that no one should touch them or their attire till the completion of puja and offering of neivedhiyam.
The rules for prasadam were no different -- they cannot be touched or tasted till they are offered to the deity.
I have always seen my mother in a madisar. The only time I saw her in six yards was during her last journey.
When my father would begin preparation for the karpoor aartis (camphor aarti in different forms -- from single to five faced), our hearts would leap with joy in exuberance as it was also an indication that the puja will soon be over.
It meant that we could taste the eagerly awaited prasadams. Though prasadam may sound small quantity, it will be quite a handful, almost like a meal.
Before receiving the prasad, he will make all of us chant Lord Ganesha's sloka:
गजाननं भूतगणादि सेवितं
कपित्थजम्बूफलसार भक् ·ितम् ।
नमामि विघ्नेश्वर पादपङ्कजम् ॥
I followed the same practice when my children were young.
When we taught this sloka to our granddaughters last year they reproduced it in no time and it was heavenly for us to hear them reciting the same with an accent.
For my father Ganesha was everything, even while sitting or getting up or sneezing unlike the commonly said 'Rama' 'Narayana' or 'Krishna.'
For a long time he used to tell us that Ganesha keeps coming in his dream to secure Him and that he was hidden in a muddy ground.
He was unable to guess the place for him to visit and take possession.
One late evening, while returning from an official trip to a village he brought home a small vigraha of Ganesha that he'd found in a field quite similar to the one he'd seen in his dream. The Ganesha found and brought by him is still with my sister in her puja room.
With the passing of time, us taking over our parents' place and with children moving away to set up their own families, the grandeur of the function also weaned.
On this day, recollecting all our divine memories, we paid obeisance to our father's beloved deity -- Lord Ganesha -- to bestow on all of us the happiness and joy and to remove all hurdles and obstacles throughout this journey of mortal life.
காலங்கள் மாறும், கோலங்கள் மாறும் ஆனால் பெற்றோர் நினைவு என்றும் இருக்கும். (Times may change, our lifestyle may change but the memories of our parents will remain forever.)
Dear Readers, how are you celebrating Ganeshotsav this year?
Have you made the idol at home?
What is special about the celebrations this year? Do you have a theme for the festival?
Do mention your Name and Where You Live. Also, WHY Lord Ganesha has a special place in your heart.
Do you have an unforgettable memory related to Lord Ganesha? We'd love to hear about it.
Is there a favourite prasad you make for Lord Ganesha? Do share the recipe and pictures with us.
Going pandal-hopping? Share your pictures with us.