It is that time of the year when entire India (most of it) breaks into a tizzy. Lord Ganesha comes down to live with us for a couple of days, and as usual, we shower him with all our love before we immerse him in the nearest water body :) Among the Hindu deities, Ganesha is the Salaman Khan of deity-dom. Everybody loves him, owns him, prays to him. The craze for this star is so much that the Ganesha idol that the kids in my apartment had so lovingly placed vanished overnight! Somebody stole our Ganesha!
One one street in Alwal, where I live, there were 6 Ganesha's on public display ranging from our little Ganesha to huge idols. These were the big Ganesha's owned by the upper middle-class and the small one's owned by kids and the poor. The evening prayers by each Ganesha ensured that the Local Brahmin made some money (for a change), and the poor and destitute too had some food in form of Prasad (offerings made to god and then distributed among the worshipers).
Hindu's are a race of people whose festivals are celebrations of life, of hope, of prosperity food and wealth. There are no major festivals of mourning, of grief, of loss. Its all about victory and winnings. For a religion that mimics fatalism to a fault, the festivals are the only escape route, they maintain balance between the cycle of Karma and the fun of living. In a life full of strife, our forefathers who walked thousands of years ago ensured that there is always something to cheer about, something to come together and share.
Jai Bolo Ganesh Maharaj Ki!