With Ganesh Chaturti just round the corner, I see little idols of Ganpati Bappa waiting to be sold in small kiosks all around me. In our building, kids have started practicing beating the dholaks. But whether I like it or not, I don’t relate to any of this. For me, Ganesh Chaturti is the celebration of the festival in my native village in Goa. The festive season brings back fond memories of my childhood days when we would celebrate the festival with much ado. My native place is a very remote village in Goa, there are no telephones there so you can forget about email and facebook. Mobile signals are very weak and you are considered lucky if your call gets connected. Water taps have just arrived there. In spite of all this, we all cousins would all be super excited about going there for Chaturti. Our ancestral house is more than 300 years old and not in the best of conditions. So the roof would leak, there would be insects and mosquitoes biting us, but we wouldn’t mind any of it.
Be it singing Aarti loudly with everyone else or having food in a pangat by sitting on the ground, I loved every moment of it. In the evenings the men and kids would sit in the huge patio (known as balkav) in the front and laugh and crack jokes whereas the ladies would sit and gossip in the backside of the house. We kids would organise and plan games, and not only kids, but the adults would also participate. With a heavy heart we would bid farewell to Ganpati Bappa on the 5th Day, hoping that the year flies by soon and we gather together again.
Now I am married, have a kid and live in a big city. I haven’t been to Goa for the Ganesh celebrations for the past several years due to some reason or the other, be it work pressures, then pregnancy, then a young kid. Now that my daughter is 2 year old, I want to take her to Goa and let her experience the fun times her mommy had as a kid. However, I now have second thoughts about visiting the place I loved so much as a child. What if my daughter gets bitten by a bug? What if she wanders around and hurts herself in our old house? What if there is no electricity, will she be able to sleep in the heat? What if it rains and the roof starts to leak, will she catch a cold? What if she falls sick, and there are no doctors around?
Am I being paranoid? Or is it the mother in me that is over cautious? Whatever be the reason, it makes me sad that my kid will never ever experience the fun we used to have as kids during Ganesh festival.