It’s late at night! It’s later than I would like it to be, I’m sitting on my bed not knowing what to do, should I try to study for the exam tomorrow or should I try to sleep?
The noise is too loud!! I can’t even hear myself thinking! Finally it stops, or does it? It feels like the calm after a storm, but how long will it last? A minute or two?
The source of this chaotic noise is the Ganesh Madal in the ghalee next to my PG ka ghalee! Loud speakers blasting songs at the highest possible tone, people shouting, dancing and chanting, fire crackers going off every five seconds, all this and more, overcrowds my senses like nothing I have ever experienced.
The chaos is not just in my neighborhood, by now it has spread all over Pune, filling every corner of this usually calm city!
It starts again even louder this time! They start to play the latest Hindi songs on repeat again, so much loud that my windows rattle every time the beat hits base! It feels like the vibration is seeping in to my bones and deep in to my core! I can feel the drums beating within me. I wonder how long it will go on for this time! How long I’ll have to listen to Sonu Nigam or Shreya Ghoshal sing at the highest possible volume. Along with some well-known songs they play the unknown or the songs which are known as “chapree” songs by my Marati friends, the songs that you’re advised not to listen to unless you’re forced to, like tonight.
I look out the widow I see people dancing like there is no tomorrow, many can’t keep to the beat and many dance under the influence, chaos even on the “Dance floor”, the roadside. I see color lights being shot in to the night sky and fireworks lightening the sky. I see parades marching along the road shouting Ganpathi bappa morya.. Mangal Murthi moray.. Chaos.
A neighborhood that’s usually very silent, apart from the occasional cry of a child, bark of a dog, or PG ka aunty’s angry outbursts, is alive tonight. People gathered on the street, laughter floating around, houses decorated and alive with Ganpathi idols proudly displayed decorated and surrounded by color, a new face to the all too familiar ghalee.
With nothing that could happen under the circumstances, I finally give in and decided to give chaos a chance. That’s when it hit me! Amidst all this, the at times unbearable chatter, how beautiful India is! In India even chaos has its own beauty.
Today, a few years later I’m sitting here going through the pictures my friends sent me of the Ganesh mandels at their homes, pictures of the food and of visarjan. The memories starts to creep back in to my head! The sounds, the smells and the feeling. It feels like a dam just gave in inside my head, an overwhelming feeling courses through me taking me by surprise.
I never in a million years thought I would miss Ganesh Chaturti in Pune!! But it seems that I’ve been proven wrong, and now there is nothing I wouldn’t do to go back in time, in to my shabby shoe closet of a room and look out in to the night to see the chaos unfold in front of me! There is nothing I wouldn’t do to listen to the chapriest of music and feel my bones vibrate to the beat, to see the people dance to their own beat, or to feel the divine taste of modak again.
How lucky and blessed I am to have seen, experienced and felt the beauty of the chaos that is Ganesh Chaturti.
Until next time,