Prashant Kudalkar, 39, a commercial photographer and Worli resident, has spent a lot of time in the crowded lanes of Dadar shopping for Ganeshotsav that begins on Thursday.
City households begin preparing for Ganesh Chaturthi several days prior to the festival, depending on the number of helping hands at home. "It starts with getting the house cleaned," says Kudalkar, who has won awards for the socially relevant decoration themes for his Ganpati.
The Kudalkar household began keeping the idol at home 36 years ago after Kudalkar’s sister’s birth.
His wife, Aparna, 37, and mother Nirmala, 59, take charge of the puja and feasts. "I make more than 100 modaks twice during the 11 days, apart from a new sweet dish every day," says Nirmala.
Devotees place orders for idols at least a month in advance. Once the idol is brought home, an elaborate puja is performed on the first day and aartis (prayers) twice every day. The elephant God can be hosted for a day and a half to 11 days, depending on family traditions and constraints of working nuclear families.
Mahim residents Vijay, 67, and Vasudha Vaidya, 59, get their neighbour Abhay Jain to perform the rituals for their 62-year-old Ganpati.
"I feel proud and blessed that I do everything from bringing the idol to immersion despite being a Marwadi," says Jain, 35.The decorations (Makhar or Araas) are an integral part of the festivities.
Thermocol decorations are popular but families are increasingly adopting eco-friendly options. Sandhya Tembe, 54, a lecturer and Dombivli resident, has replaced the Plaster of Paris idol with an expensive brass one. "We perform every other ritual according to tradition but felt this change was important."