Although the spiralling inflation has tightened purse strings of the organisers at the Abhyudayanagar Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal at Kalachowkie, Parel, it has had little effect on the spirit of the celebration.
“As compared to last year, we’re spending about Rs. 2 lakh less on lighting and decorations inside the mandap. Since a major part of our budget comprises small contributions made by the 3,500 residents of the Mhada housing board (MHB) we have no option but to trim our expenditure,” said Mangesh Parab, president of the organising committee at Abhyudayanagar. Apart from larger donations from some devotees, every family in the colony has contributed Rs. 51 for the festival this year.
Despite the committee’s monetary constraints, Chand-rashekhar Parab, a mandal art director, agreed to work for them. “One cannot let the condition of the economy determine the spirit of celebration.I have designed the mandap such that it resembles a Haathi Mahal,” he said.
While the size of the idol cannot exceed 7.5 feet because of the height of the mandap’s door at the Samajmandir Hall, the décor compensates for lost grandeur, Chandrashekhar added.
At the 11-day Ganpati celebration this year, students of Ruia College, Matunga, will perform a street play to protest against female foeticide. “I have been visiting the Abhyudayanagarcha Raja ever since I was born. As residents, we extend our support to the mandal’s 300 volunteers in every possible way,” said 24-year-old Prajakta Bagwe, a resident of the MHB colony.
The immersion on September 29 will not mark the end of Abhyudayanagar mandal’s activities. The mandal, which conducts blood donation, eye donation and health check-up camps through the year, will begin preparations for a charity event for children at a Badlapur orphanage during Diwali.