Ganpati Bappa Moraya
Ganpati started visiting my house on a whim and zid of my then 6 year old who at that time watched the movie ‘My Friend Ganesha’ almost on loop. Being an indulgent mom I gave in to his wishes and decided to bring home the deity. Now, I am absolutely clueless about the rituals and didn’t know anything about the procedure. For me praying is personal communion. On his insistence I agreed and lemme confess I am ever so happy that I did it.
To begin with I called up my hubs cousin who lives in Mumbai to ask her what it entailed and how to go about it. She sent me a detailed instruction on sthapana. Feeling a bit more confident with her details, on the D-day we ventured out to bring him home, and there found a couple of people who were buying the idol. We asked one of the ladies and she further elaborated as to how to take the deity home and welcome it etc. We felt happy and now knew more about the pooja. The 2 days went past beautifully, with my son feeding the Ganesh friend all his favorite food and believe me it was most endearing to see them bond over food. Ana would take food in the spoon, place it near his tusk and ask him to eat and then after a minute ask “Ok eaten? Tummy full?” That year clueless about visarjan procedure we went to Okhla barrage and again as luck would have it got guided by a very sweet lady with whom we shared boat space and did the visarjan. This was a classic case of when the student is ready guru will appear, the entire process seemed guided by the lord.
This was the start of a tradition for us as a family. However, past couple of years the urge to do the visarjan more responsibly kept gnawing at me. Last year I went to the potters who sell these idols and told them I want to do home visrajan and was looking for an eco friendly idol. He sold me one promising that it will dissolve soon …blah blah. Little was I aware at that time that he conned me. My home visrajan was not successful, later I realized the idol was POP and not clay.
Now I am a studio potter myself and this year the thought that I should make one kept niggling at me, especially after a friend suggested that “this will be your ultimate gift to Bappa”. Last year I had seen a friend post some pics of the Ganpati she had made, and she told me that the eco friendly clay used for the idol is Shadu mitti that is easily available in Pune. Getting this in my head I just casually asked my husband if he will be travelling to Pune and to my amazement and absolute delight he said “next week”. I piled on to him to find out and buy me some, which he did. Now it again did seem that the entire thing was guided. My son had apprehensions about whether I will be able to make a nice one worthy of keeping for the pooja, but I was confident and firm that even if I am able to make a much smaller one this is what it will be. We had decided we are not going to buy it.
Must thank my pottery teachers coupled with my experience in handling the clay, I DID it. I actually created one that looked awesome, and in any case Ganesh ji is such a cute idol that it looks beatific in any form. Have you ever seen how a couple of strokes on the canvas and it takes the form of Ganapati.
Anyway the joy of creating the idol myself was as satisfying and creatively fulfilling as birthing minus the labour pains. Yes, I felt like Parvati. I created him. Then painstakingly painted him with poster colours. The happiness, satisfaction and the meditative calm that I got from the entire process far superseded anything that I have done before. I can sum up by saying that my heart sang.
The visarjan was done at home and the next day the plants were watered with the same and the clay distributed in the plants. To say that I felt great is not enough. I thank God for guiding me and being present at every step. And while celebrating I did my bit. Each drop counts, every action matters.
So long Bappa. Till Next year, I am already itching to dip my hands in the clay.
To read the step by step tutorial on how to make Ganpati using Shadu clay, click HERE