Thursday, September 20

Ganesha on my plate

For many, the grand Ganesha Chaturthi has come and gone. Suburbs of Mumbai are however alive with the long festivities during rains.

Love for eco-friendly Ganesha idols has only grown stronger in me over the years. And attempts by those around me to make their idols at home have infused some hope in me, despite still cringing at the sight of those beach-washed broken hands and legs of Ganesha over sea-shores.

I wish the business class, read idol-sellers, makers and anyone commercialising the festival must realise that the true essence of this festival is about worshipping nature. And in promoting alternative methods to the over-abused plaster-of-paris and chemical paint idols, they are only securing long term livelihoods - those of their children too.

Am pasting below pictures of home-made efforts by two people I know.

Pavani Prasad who lives in Luxembourg and also happens to be my cousin, tried this at home. Here is the picture of the final result.

 And the steps towards it:

She used baking soda and corn flour to make this in 1:2 proportion. The tiny size of the Lord is so much prettier than our obsession with large idols. She used some food colour for the pale yellow finish.

Does that not look simple? And then, how can one miss the mouse!

She touched up the idol with nail paint, which I would not exactly advocate, but worth the effort anyways.

Does he not look cute with the tikka or tilakam? Here is a picture after the pooja.

A pooja table can be this small and still beautiful. These tea-lights only add grandeur to the spread.

Here is another effort by friend Dipti Nair who makes her own idol, year after year.

Here is her Ganesha from year 2009. Doesn't he look lovely! The pagdi or turban made with such care! Not to forget the upper garment and jewellery. The following pictures, are her step-by-step effort for the 2010 festival.

 This picture makes it look the simplest task ever. Flatten clay and shape for the ears, roll it lovingly into conical shapes for the trunk and legs, and hands...

And finally,

This year, her Ganesha got bigger!

Look at the magic a dash of turmeric (pasupu, or haldi) can do to an idol! Not a dab of paint here! Yet, he looks so beautiful and earthy!

Now, for my own attempts. I have in the past stuck to worshipping an idol I received as gift, when in Pune. One of the famous Ganesh Mandalis gave the gift, and it has become an integral part of my annual worship. 

Here are pictures from last year's pooja:

Turmeric and atta (wheat flour) on a beetel leaf. A turmeric cone is all that one needs to make pasupu vighneswarudu, otherwise called manjal vinayagar or haldi ganeshji.

The terracotta Ganesha on the right rear was also a gift. 

This time, in the confines of my home at New Jersey, I have not had access to either flowers or clay, or beetel leaves.

Inspired by (read my earlier post here), I decided to make do with whatever I had. In fact, I had to battle in my head whether to go ahead with the pooja after some recent setbacks. But decided that worship without celebration is just fine.

Here it is:

Rice spread out on the plate, some rice flour mixed in turmeric for the crown and ear contours, rice flour for the tusks, pumpkin seeds for eyes, and kumkum for the tilakam.

Grass from the front yard came in handy. And so did pebbles that I had painted with rangolis last week.

I drew inspiration for these rangolis and toranam from Rang Decor, my favourite decor blog. I plan to use these pebbles that I collected from Raritan beach, for home decor. Pasted below is the picture that captivated me in an instant and has stayed in my heart ever since, from Rang Decor.

And here is the post for reference. Thank you Rang Decor!

These are pictures of the Lord after dark. This time, I could not manage a procedural event unlike before, when I would read up the books or play the online pooja streaming websites. But the whole purpose of the day was fulfilled because we worshipped with what we had around.

Do read Rang Decor blog too, for the latest Ganesha post.

Pictures Courtesy: Pavani Prasad, Dipti Nair, Radhika, Ramya M
All pictures are water-marked.

Copyrights for these pictures rest with the photographers concerned.

Pictures from the Rang Decor blog - copyrights rest with the Archana Srinivas.