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Forget home for Ganpati

For the ten days that Lord Ganesh is welcomed, almost all of the 223 workers at the PepsiCo factory (previously Dukes) in Chembur do not go home.

mumbai Updated: Aug 11, 2010 01:35 IST
Sai Raje

For the ten days that Lord Ganesh is welcomed, almost all of the 223 workers at the PepsiCo factory (previously Dukes) in Chembur do not go home.

From managing the 10-lakh strong crowds during the days of Ganesh festival, to organising the smallest details of the festivities, the factory workers volunteer to finish every little task on their own.

Planning and preparations usually begin almost two months before the Ganesh festival. Work on the Ganapati idol will begin after August 15 and the decoration theme is yet to be decided.

But for now, a pandal is being built in front of the factory entrance and workers are busy finishing maintenance work on a 12-feet iron trolley that they themselves made in 2003 to carry their beloved God.

"Our Ganapati is usually seated on a throne and used to be 17-feet high at first. But some new flyovers that have come up in the city aren't built that high. So we have now set our idol's height at 14 feet," said Anil Bhute, a member of the PepsiCo Vyavasthapan Kamgar Sri Ganeshotsav Mandal.

Every year, the Mandal picks a mythological theme for the Ganpati pandal's decoration. Complete with movable 3D figures of popular Hindu gods and special sound and visual effects, the decoration has been drawing crowds to the pandal for years.

"I have been going for darshan almost every year, and the pandal decoration, is a treat to watch. It's usually based on stories from the Ramayan and the Mahabharat. The festival is organised very well by the workers," said Shyamala Pradhan (54), a Chembur resident.

The Mandal also prides itself for guaranteeing an equal opportunity for all people to get darshan, in spite of managing the huge crowd during the festival.

"We don't have special queues and VIP passes. Everybody gets in the same line," said President of the PepsiCo unit Bhartiya Kamgar Sena, Vijay Damne, who oversees the Ganesh festival preparations.