Hello my dear readers! I’m assuming that everyone has, by now, gotten used to the various drumbeats and rhythms that spill out all over the streets on Ganesh Chaturthi. The city is decked up in its finest splendour, with the ever generous and indulgent Lord Ganesh being worshipped and celebrated throughout India. It’s quite a spectacle to behold!
As I drove in from the international airport on Sunday night, I witnessed some foreigners in a taxi ahead of me almost fall out of their window, mouths agape, frantically trying to snap up pictures of a procession in full throttle. The speakers were blasting a pop version of a Ganesh Mantra, firecrackers lit up the road and spurted some red hot embers right into their vehicle.
People at their colourful best danced and swayed and rejoiced in bringing the jovial looking, round-bellied elephant God into their homes. I watched in amusement as the foreigners had a true blue "Indian" experience just less than 500 yards from the arrival terminal!
You’ve got to love this time of the year. It’s chaotic and noisy but there is such incredible spirit in the air. Eid is also as grandly celebrated, with the Mount Mary Bandra fair. Add to that some rain that washes away the old and makes way for the new, and you’ve got ‘Incredible India’!
I was immensely thrilled to head to New York City two weeks ago. I lived there for two-and-a-half years, returning in the March that followed September 11, 2001. It is a city I love deeply, and I’ve always wondered where life would have led me if I had chosen to stay on. I love the vibrancy of the city and the freedom it gives you to be truly unique and different, yet this time, while I was there, I felt a sense of something missing, I missed a sense of home.
As much as we rave and rant about the traffic and the infrastructure and the noise and pollution and lack of space in Mumbai, there is something about this city, which once it welcomes you into it’s fold, envelopes you in a sense of belonging that I feel no other city offers. For all of us ‘out of towners’ who have come to this city of dreams, seeking our fortunes, the incessant rain and crowded trains and noisy pavements and matchbox apartments have intermingled with the beat of drums and the spirit of bravery, the customs of diverse faiths and the sheer, raw instinct of survival, to become the land of all opportunity… the city that pulses in our veins… the home we always dreamed of!
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