Juhi Chawla has been enjoying the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi for decades now. Here, the actor talks about her unflinching faith in God, and how it has evolved over the years.
Since when have you been celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi?
My family moved to Mumbai when I was about four years old. We lived in Cuffe Parade, and the Ganesh processions would usually head towards Marine Drive and Girgaum Chowpatty. So, we would watch them go by. It was exciting to see these processions as a kid. Once I got married, and moved to Jay’s (Mehta; husband) house (in Malabar Hill), I understood what the festival actually means. Here, we perform the puja every year. We don’t bring an idol home, but the day is spent praying and performing a havan.
What does the festival mean to you?
People decorate their homes, pray, and their friends come over to visit. It’s a happy time.
How do you plan to celebrate the festival this time?
Our Ganpati celebration this year will be similar to what we have been doing over the years. We will go to our friends’ homes. Also, I have requested people to bring home an idol that is made of eco-friendly materials.
Were you always spiritually inclined or did your faith in God evolve over the years?
Everyone has a spiritual longing deep within. It comes to the fore at different times in our lives. You could be young and spiritual, or you could be like me, who became a believer just six years ago. That was when I really found myself, when I was searching for answers and for solace. At one point, I didn’t know how to face the next day because of the personal tragedies I was going through. That’s when I was searching for ways to be happy. I started looking for guidance. That was my spiritual awakening.