Stories

Ganesh Immersion

Original story in Telugu by Haragopala Krishna Krovvidi
Translated by Seshu Chamarty

Lingamurthy woke up an hour earlier than usual. It was his favorite and pious day he looked forward to every year. After having a bath, he sat near the idol of Lord Ganesh for puja. Lingamurthy was a staunch devotee of Ganesh. He would not begin any action without offering his obeisance to the renowned ‘Obstacle-removing Lord’ according to mythology. He considered every morsel of food he ate as Prasad or manna from his Lord of the Heaves. His dedication towards his Lord Ganesh was unflinching. Lingamurthy trusted the Lord’s blessings to such an extent that he would yell “Jai Ganesh!” every time before thinking of a project, going out for work, going to the office or outdoors, and no matter whatever he did, all for good luck. After that followed his exultations in loud chanting of the various names given to Lord Ganesh, and it shocked his whole family. Inside his home, Ganesh's figurines found their place everywhere in the right places. Knowing his devotion, his friends and relatives gave him gifts of the Lord’s idols on various occasions leading to the cramming of his cupboards.

After finishing his puja, Lingamurthy ate a couple of bananas for breakfast and left home. He took out his vintage Vespa scooter and tried to kickstart it. The vehicle did not yield. It did not budge even after he bent it sideways two or three times and kicked its start pedal very hard. Everyone used to say that his vehicle was so old that even its makers forgot that they had come out with one such model. He shouted, “Jai Ganesh’. Presto, his vehicle started whirring. Maybe the rat that was Ganesh’s symbolic mount was appeased first. It was enough proof of his brand loyalty and belief in his faith.

People publicly worshipped every year the idols of Lord Ganesh at various places in makeshift pandals. After the Pooja days, they would be taken out in ritualistic processions with pomp and gaiety through the city streets for their eventual immersion in water bodies nearby. The processions culminated near the tank bund, thronged by the milling crowds chanting the name of Ganesh while playing various musical instruments. The idols of Ganesh in diverse sizes and avatars decked atop vehicles moved in the processions from all parts and were a feast to the eyes of the onlookers. The colorful idols in their creative forms did outshine one another concerning folk and modern art. Some were in the form of a weightlifter Ganesh, cricketer Ganesh, etc. Songs and Bhajans on Ganesha reverberated around the place through the loudspeakers fixed on the lorries and autos carrying his idols. The youths in the procession were chanting "Ganapati Bappa Moriya". Prasada, namely, the food offered to the deities, was distributed among the crowds. Many precautions and guidelines ensued from the loudspeakers set up by the Immersion Committee all along the routes of processions. People came from different parts of the state to participate in this democratic procession. The sounds of trumpets and the colors of bunting and balloons evoked a festive atmosphere. Thousands of idols were put into the waters using large cranes that lined up the Tank Bund road. Everyone eagerly waited for the arrival of the gigantic Khairatabad Ganesh for immersion.

Although this fanfare was not new to Lingamurthy, he had been looking for Lord Ganesh year after year to appear in person, at least once in his Avatar, duly descending from Mount Kailash in the Himalayas onto the roads of our Deccan plateau during His annual coronation day. Like always, he began looking closely at each idol with great attention. The Lord would be in one of those thousands of painted deities immersed in the process of enjoying all this fanfare. Meanwhile, an ordinary sight accidentally caught his eye. It seemed to be the ultimate result of his eternal and chimeric quest.

Lo, he was ecstatic to hear the Chants of "Ganapati Bappa Morea" and "Jai Bolo Ganesh Maharaj Ki Jai" rending the air. The sight before him made him freeze in his tracks.

That was about a 4-year-old boy sitting astride a bicycle front bar holding a small clay Ganesh, ridden by a slightly built man who must be his grandfather. Both of them looked unfazed and unmoved by the surrounding hustle and bustle. The old man was saying "Jai Bolo Ganesh Maharaj ki" in a feeble voice which was duly responded to by the tiny sweet voice of the little boy with a " Jai!". Lingamurthy wished the humble souls to be blessed. It was because he visualized the manifestation of Lord Ganesh in the purity of their ingrained Bhakti.

Lingamurthy did philosophize this. “The Lord was within everyone. Only, we should look inwards to see Him.” Lingamurthy heaved a sigh of relief as his long-term wish got finally fulfilled. He retraced his steps to his home, but he was still in a trance.

11-Feb-2023

More by :  Seshu Chamarty

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