OM गं गणपतये नमः !
By Asavari Deshpande
So many things have changed over the years, but one thing that did not diminish even by a fraction – my affinity for the ‘Aarati’s sung during the Ganapati festival. Just as some loud speaker in vicinity starts blaring, my lips automatically follow the words.
Don’t remember ever taking efforts to memorize these devotional tunes, don’t know when they got engraved in there. I’m sure, it must be the same with everyone who attended Ganapati celebrations during their childhood. Something like cycling or swimming, once you learn, it is never forgotten.
Now all the housing societies have these festivities – a good custom as everyone gets to meet for a happy occasion. But back then it wasn’t mandatory for the co-op housing societies to celebrate a community Ganapati festival. It was celebrated more as only family tradition.
Two or three families in the neighbourhood observed this custom of bringing the Lord home every year. We all hopped from one house to the next, for the morning and evening pooja. The families, too, were accommodative – one family would wait for the other family to complete the Aaratis, so that the whole group could run from one house to the other. Then once again it would be a competition amongst all, to see who could sing at the highest pitch and who could hold breath the longest during particular stanzas.
I enjoyed the Aaratis to the fullest in one particular household – all because of the dholak that accompanied the singing and clapping. It is a totally different experience to sing in a big group on the rhythm of a dholak. Divine!
Year after year the Aaratis create the same magic and give only more and more of happiness. Ganapati Bappa Moraya!