For shop owners and workers at Irla market in Vile Parle, business will take a backseat as the festival of their favourite deity arrives.
The Ganesh pandal in Irla is not known for its elaborate décor or grand celebrations, but is considered auspicious by the residents of the area. "For eleven days that the lord is with us, our business is shut as the pandal takes up the footpath and the entire parking space. But we do not complain as our business increases as he leaves. The lord brings us all luck," said Kishan
Soni, a street vendor at the Irla market for the past 30 years. Irfan Shaikh, another worker at a garment shop agrees with Soni. "The business is slow during these days, but it does not bother us as after the deity leaves, we get customers throughout the year," added Shaikh.
It is because of this belief that the shop owners and workers double up as volunteers that help control traffic, decorate the pandal and organise the other necessities.
This 11-feet idol has always had the look of a king since the time it was first installed.
"We always maintain a simple look for the idol. The look of a king is common as he brings luck in our lives," said Jitendra Patel, secretary of Irla Mitra Mandal, which has been organising the Ganpati for the past 31 years.
Several shoppers who visit the market regularly have also expressed their faith in this deity. "I have been coming to the market for the past 12 years and have felt that my business has improved. For this reason, I also wanted to buy a shop in the area," said Veenu Khanna, 41, a fashion designer from Andheri.
The pandal is placed close to the road so that people crossing this stretch in their cars can also stop for a darshan of the deity.