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.
ANY MEMORIES, ABOUT GANESHA OR POTBELLIES? DO SHARE THEM.