Those are the words which resound through the air as we bid goodbye to the Lord. Literally, they would translate to 'Glory to the Lord! Come again soon next year', but to the devotees who bid goodbye to the Lord with these words, it means so much more.
To them, it is the culmination of ten days of festivities, when they left their regular life behind and thought of the Lord morning, noon and night! It was Him they thought of, waking early in the morning, ready to perform the prayers to begin the day..... for ten days, they made only what they believed the Lord loved to eat. For ten days, they sang his glory twice a day, with complete enthusiasm, even if not always in tune! For ten days, they scanned their neighbourhoods for interesting idols of the Lord to see, and even stood in queues for hours just to get a glimpse of their favourite deities. For ten days, they had just one thought in mind - to make the most of the arrival of their Lord. He is, after all, Vighnaharta - the one who would destroy all the obstacles in their path. It was only fair that they took the best possible care of Him while He visited their home. He is the one guest they welcome wholeheartedly into their homes, and look forward to his arrival every year! And even as they get ready for sending him off, they are busy thinking of how they will make his arrival even more special the next year! Which is why they entreat him to return early the next year!
This year, the Lord arrived amidst pouring rains, and he decided to leave amidst pouring rains too! After a couple of dry days, the heavens seem to have opened up just for Him to leave! However, the enthusiasm has not abated.....
We went for a walk in the evening, hoping to catch a glimpse of a few Ganpatis on their way to the sea. The larger ones wouldnt leave until much later, but we hoped to see at least some of the smaller ones, and we weren't disappointed.
|The truck to carry the Chedda Nagar Ganpati was just getting ready|
... and this was past 5 in the evening!
|A huge Ganpati was on his way|
|While the devotees had their umbrellas, the Lord got drenched!|
|A closer look... see the throne...|
|Our Chembur Mandi (vegetable market) Ganpati on his way..|
|Two small Ganpatis await their larger friend for the final journey|
|A Family pushing a cart with their Ganpati, and talking turns in riding with Him!|
|Making the most of the journey in spite of the rain!|
|Running to keep pace!|
|A lavishly decorated home Ganpati|
|The drums, which are the most coveted part of the procession|
|Finally, our Ganpati is on his way, accompanied by half the colony!|
|The decoration of the truck.... |
Can you even make out that its a huge truck??
|Anna accompanies the Lord!|
|One final glimpse!|
The ten days of the festival are over, and it is now time to get back to our regular lives, before yet another ten day festival begins - yes, in just another 16 days, it will be time for Navaratri! And yes, we are counting the days again!