Residents of the Deccan Cooperative Housing Society in Khar hope to set a green example this Ganeshotsav.
The society not only installed an eco-friendly clay Ganesh idol in its compound this year but also immersed it in a pit dug in a nearby ground. “Instead of braving the crowds and noise to immerse our Ganeshji in the sea, we immersed the idol in the mud pit,” said Namrata Kanwar, 42. The flowers used to decorate the idol were used for vermicomposting, a process by which worms are used in producing humus.
In the past few years, the society immersed its Ganesh idols made from mud in large drums filled with water. “The children of the society took small buckets of the water and used it to water the plants in the colony’s garden.
That way, they felt that Ganesh continued to live in the garden,” said Kanwar.
At Matunga, 40 families residing in the Savla Niwas Housing Society have put up a Ganesh pandal and split up their roles. “The housewives are participating in a cookery contest and making prasad while the children are busy with the fancy dress, dance and sports competitions,” said Niyati Kenia, 25, a choreographer.
“This is the only time of the year when the entire society gets together and mingles,” said Devendra Kothari, 49, who as a young boy rallied to set up the Ganesh pandal in the society in 1972. “Every year, one family offers 1001 laddus to the deity,” he added.
For residents of Jitendra Kunj in Kandivli too, Ganeshotsav spells a society get-together. The building houses less than 10 families and each takes turns to prepare the afternoon bhoj. The evening meal, however, is generally continental or non-traditional food such as pizzas and burgers.
The families eat the meal together. “On immersion day, we decide a dress code. All the women have to wear a particular colour and the men have to dress traditionally too,” said Nidhi Domadia, 20, a building resident.
At Paschim Apartments in Prabhadevi, more than 100 families come together for the festivities. Nirmala Athalye, 73, is one of the society members who have witnessed Ganeshotsav celebration in the society for the past 29 years. “We maintain a low profile. We do not have bands playing on the first or last day of the celebrations,” she said.
The society has set a lesson in austerity by managing on a budget of Rs30,000.
On the last day residents make kesar sheera and vatli dal at home and offer it to the God as a mark of farewell, said Anjali Gokhale, 46, a yoga teacher.