For the aunt-niece duo, Padmini Kolhapure and Shraddha Kapoor, Ganesh Chaturthi means family time. Good food, of course, has also been part of this Maharashtrian family’s celebrations for the last 50 years. We catch up with them a day before their festivities begin, to ask them what makes these 10 days so special:
What is your oldest memory of celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi?
Padmini: This is our 51st celebration. For years, we all used to go to Lalbaug in truckloads to bring the Ganpati home. We look forward to this festival because, for us, it is a family affair.
Shraddha: Even our distant relatives from the most remote villages come home. Ganpati guarantees a gigantic family get-together. Last year, I missed it because I was shooting, and my heart was sinking because it’s the one festival I really try not to miss.
What are your celebrations like?
Padmini: We keep the Ganpati idol at home for a day-and-a-half. On the first day, we have a function in the evening. Since we come from a family of singers, we sing bhajans and songs for everyone. But our food menu is what everyone loves the most.
Shraddha: Frankly, people only come to eat the food (laughs). We all sit on the floor and the dishes are served on banana leaves.
Padmini: We cook things like Khatkhata (a mix of all the vegetables), Shevayachi Kheer, puri and Batatyachi Bhaji early in the morning.
Do you bring home an eco-friendly Ganpati idol?
Shraddha: Yes, we adopted the eco-friendly idols soon after the concept was introduced. My youngest mausi (maternal aunt), (actor) Tejaswini Kolhapure, is a front runner for anything that is environment-friendly. She made sure we incorporated that change.
What do you like the most about the festival?
Shraddha: The steamed modaks are my favourite part of this festival — I can eat them non-stop. And I like the fact that everyone gets together during this time. I’m more of a Marathi mulgi than a Punjabi kudi (her father, Shakti Kapoor, is Punjabi).