Today is Ganesh Chaturthi.
My inbox is flooded with images of Ganesha Ji.
And just like every other celebration this year, that’s all it has been.
Celebrations were different when we were children.
It didn’t matter that I was a ‘Thomas’ or my friends were ‘Guptas’ or Maheshwaris’ or whatever else they were.
When it was Lohri, we knew we were all to gather around the huge bon-fire as Sawhney Aunty would treat us to goodies. No one missed the gathering. Except once when a dear friend told me she couldn’t attend because there had been a death in the family.
For a young mind, it didn’t make sense even back then, why a child had to stay away from a celebration as custom.
Wouldn’t it only make her sadder?
When it was Holi, the whole colony would be drenched in colours. Religion and culture was meant for all.
For Kanjak, we would be invited across homes, our tiny feet washed in milk or water, being served like little goddesses. And at the end of it, we’d sit and count our haul – coins of one or two that we had received from each home.
And when we were too old to be invited, our aunt would make it a point to send us halwa, poori every year. First for us; And then for our little children.
Now there will be no halwa, poori on Kanjak– The joy and pain of those memories.
When it was Diwali, our house was flooded with people and sweets. Oh how we cursed! Tired of washing dishes and saying ‘Namastey Uncle‘ and ‘Namastey Aunty‘. The doorbell wouldn’t stop ringing and we would be exhausted, waiting to drop onto our beds.
I remember my keralite grandad discovering ‘barfi‘ when he made his first trip to our home during Diwali in Bahadurgarh. In the beginning, he was elated. By the end of it, he couldn’t see another one!
Christmas was our turn to distribute goodies. And so we were assigned by mom to traverse the neighbourhood, gifts and cakes in hand or to accompany her as she went from home to home, family to family.
Now, we get no sweets.
The doorbell doesn’t ring ever unless it’s Amazon!
My children don’t go bearing gifts either…
On Ganesh Chaturthi, we get Ganesh Ji in our inbox.
No modaks come home!