It’s that time of the year, the much-awaited arrival of Mumbaikars’ beloved god, Ganesha. Ganpati, as the elephant-headed god is called here, visits for 10 days every year, and he is eagerly anticipated.
Elaborate, colourful pandals go up in neighborhoods days before, in the same way a guest room is dressed up for a beloved family member’s arrival. Large drums bellow out loud, high-paced beats, groups of young boys practicing energetically the welcome sounds for the big day. Lights get strewn along the road, and the little bulbs flicker to life with a burst, keen to add to the atmosphere of optimism and joy. “Bappa is coming!” The refrain is heard over and over among different people, old and young, the affectionate name for the god used to share the happy news with each other.
There is no sight that matches oversized idols of Ganpati ambling along Mumbai’s roads. Sitting comfortably in the back of open trucks, the god smiles amiably into the distance, unbothered by the potholes that cause him to jerk left from side to side. Flocks of children and men alike accompany him, finding a spot around his feet in the truck’s back. They look out proudly, yes, the loving god who removes all obstacles from life, is coming to bless their homes.