Sunday, August 31, 2008


With the Ganpati Festival round the corner, Mumbai takes on a whole new festive aura.

But I also remember the Ganesha-stories from my childhood Durga Pujas. The elephant-god would stand, benignly smiling, at one corner of Durga's family (Durga, the mother, at the centre, flanked by the beauteous Lakshmi and Saraswati, and the group guarded be the handsome, though rather dandified, Kartik and the aforesaid Ganesh). Ganesh, with his potbellied imperfections, always seemed more accessible than the other remote residents of the Himalayas.

Ganesh, the lover of good food and good books (presumably, since he scripted The Mahabharata). Ganesh, who was wedded to the humble banana-tree (kala-bou) who would be dressed in ordinary handloom sarees offered by us devotees. Ganesh, who had a ludicrously undersized vahana (pet?) - the mouse. Contrasted with Kartik's dashing posture and exotic peacock, Ganesh seemed more domesticated, more lovable, more CUTE, if you know what I mean. At least, that's what I felt as a child, surreptitiously rubbing my hand on his smooth pink potbelly when the idols were brought down from the dais on Dashami-day before immersion.

And the wise omniscient God smiled into his elephant trunk, knowing very well the future where I would be blessed (and burdened) with a pot-belly of my own, which would no longer be cute but calamitious. Anyway...I still have a special fondness for the gourmet-god, altough my opinion of potbellies have changed quite a bit.



Aleta said...

I don't know much about Ganesh, other than what you have shared, but pot bellies - that is something often seen in New Orleans! We have delicious food in this area and not much exercise, makes for more than just a pot belly. I remember reading that as a Scorpio (Zodiac), that the stomach will be a place of trouble.

Lazyani said...

Both your blogs speak about the same God simultaneously!!

Lady, You must really love the laddu loving, pot -bellied,problem solving,giver of wealth:)

The Scatterbrain said...

What is the story behind ganesh's elephant head? Ive always wondered.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Yes, I do love the food-loving deity, don't you, too? And as for the elephant head, the story goes: once upon a time, Parvati created a son out of the dirt scrubbed off her own body. The boy was Ganesha, and his mother asked him to guard the door while she was taking a bath. When Parvati's husband, Shiva, arrived, the boy blocked his path, and in anger, Shiva beheaded him. Parvati was inconsolable. Shiva, to placate her, sent his followers, called Ganas, to bring the head of the first creature they met in the north (I am not too sure of the direction). The Ganas brought an elephant head which was attached to the headless boy, who became Ganesha, the elephant-headed Lord of the Ganas.
Anyway, I guess, he was not too particular about his looks after this mishap and so never dieted, which led to his potbelly.

Peter Rozovsky said...

I knew Ganesh was invoked to secure favorable outcomes for a new venture, and I knew that I always smiled when seeing sculptures of him in museums. But that he should be a lover of good food and good books as well is just too much good for one god! I shall look on him with redoubled fondness and respect.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"