'It's time we stop thinking only about ourselves.'
'Whether it is love or wealth, give generously.'
India's most accomplished icon, Lata Mangeshkar, feels the change in Mumbai's social fabric during the Ganesh Chaturthi festivities this year.
"Earlier, it was an open house at Prabhu Kunj (the Mangeshkar residence at Peddar Road, south Mumbai).
"Since last year, Covid and social distancing have put an end to the stream of visitors at our home during Ganesh Chaturthi.
"Now, it's just us in the family," Lataji, who has been in strict quarantine, tells Subhash K Jha.
Not that she is complaining.
"I admit I miss the bustle of guests in our home. But it's the need of the hour and we must comply with the guidelines. Or things will get worse, much worse, if we insist on community festivities."
Lataji, who will turn 92 next fornight on September 28, feels the world has changed.
"And the sooner we accept it the better.
"We cannot meet friends and relatives as we used to, even on festive occasions, let alone on a regular basis.
"Those of us who have families living with us are lucky to be able to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with our loved ones.
"My brother Hridaynath, my bhabhi, my sister Usha are all with me. I am blessed."
The melody goddess's advice to her fans and followers?
"Count your blessings.
"Now is the time to be grateful for all that Ganpati Bappa has given us.
"Every gesture of kindness and compassion counts.
"It's time we stop thinking only about ourselves. Whether it is love or wealth, give generously."
"And please remember: this year Ganesh Chaturthi is not what it used to be. Please avoid meeting too many people. Stay home and spend time with Ganpati Bappa."
Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/ Rediff.com