Apoorva Joshi

PhD student - Information and Media; Environmental Science and Policy @Michigan State University

Independent journalist -

Environment, Science, International

God Bless You!!

The lights, the crowd, the corn being sold at every nook and corner of every street.. it's like the entire city decided to take a walk at the exact same time! 10years ago, we'd have to walk so much to feel like a true adventurer the next day. There used to be at least 15mins of a walking radius between one Ganpati mandal and another. There used to be craft and lovely figurines on display, there'd be decorations, scits and plays.. 
  Anyone with this memory of the festival of Ganesh chaturthi, would be shocked outright if he/she were to witness the exact same festival today. Select one street. Walk down the street. And you're sure to pass by at least 3 mandals if it's a by-lane, 5mandals if its a wider longer road, 7 if its a main road, and if you're as lucky as I am, 11. 
  I wonder why people in this country, and to be more specific, in this city, find it so difficult to celebrate ANY festival silently! Why is it so hard to accept that this is not what God's will was! He/She/whatever god is never wished for a decibel tribute! The fanfare about who has the biggest and best speakers in the neighbouring mandals, who has the loudest and latest songs playing, who has the prime location [blocking a main road entirely is considered prime!].. and so on.. is simply baffling! 
  Thousands and thousands of stalls, selling idols of Ganesha, decorations, music CDs, speakers on rent, and god knows what else.. [pun unintended]. For the next 10 days, there will be parades, processions, drums, horns, traffic jams, choked by-lanes, power cuts, decibel levels tearing through roofs, plastic cups, plates, half-eaten corn lining roads and lanes and every public place, public toilets will be nightmares, public transport, even more so! Worse still, the corporation strongly believes in barricading people inside their own houses for they block all entrances and exits to my entire colony so none of us can get out or in.. 10 glorious days of house arrest! Months after the festival is done with, potholes from the mandals will still remain and poor unsuspecting souls walking on roads like decent people, will twist their foot in one of them and fracture it adding to their woes. 
   Festivals, as we were taught in school, are meant to spread happiness. When did they stop being cheerful gatherings and turn into these rival competitions against fellow beings? When did they stop being happy events and turn into tormenting and traumatic times that people wish wouldnt arrive at all? When did they become the things that people dread? I never thought I'd see a day when I'd be wishing that festivals just get cancelled, or celebrations are forcefully silenced! And yet, here I am, and Im only 21. This transition from the quintessential festival of cheer, beauty, happiness, social gatherings, and peace of mind.. just became an ugly nightmare!! 
   I dont think people realize what a fool they're making of themselves when they go around piling up food in front of an idol, and when they worship the exact same idol, and then "immerse" it in hopelessly polluted water bodies! You should see people at immersions now! They practically drown the poor Almighty in plastic infested rivulets!! I dont blame Him for the floods in Ladakh and Orissa and Bihar and Delhi ... its his way of "immersing" us. 
   Anyway, all those people who strongly believe they have the insight to read "God's will" - may God Bless You!! 

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