For the residents of Panchsheel building in Kamathipura, the Ganesh festival demands more than just financial donations towards the society’s Panchsheel Rahivasi Ganeshotsav Mandal, the biggest mandal in Kamathipura.
Several residents go a step further and take time-off to actively contribute in preparing for the festival.
Chandrakant Gaikwad, a fashion designer, who designed and created the 18-foot Ganesh idol, took a 21-day leave to complete the elaborate idol that also has several mobile features for effect.
“While most societies outsource the work for their Ganpati mandals, we usually do all the work on our own to avoid the huge costs,” said Gaikwad. “Despite this, residents spent a big amount for the festival this year,” he said.
This year, the 34-year-old mandal has shown Lord Ganesh seated on the mythical eagle Garuda, and the wings of the bird are made such that they flap. There is also a mythical interpretation of an elephant and a crocodile made with mobile parts. The entire concept can be explained through a recorded audio at the mandal.
“It is difficult to make an idol with mobile parts, and preparations for the festival began in June,” said Gaikwad.
Residents started the mandal in 1978 and the building now has more than 1,000 residents. At least 800 residents turn up for aartis at the mandal every day. Devotees from neighbouring streets in Kamathipura, commonly known to be a red-light area, also visit the temple.
“Several sex-workers from the area come to our mandal almost every day, and no one has a problem with it, since the spirit of the festival is such that it is celebrated together,” said senior member Bhaskar Parab.
“In fact, there have been occasions where several housewives have beaten up some men for harassing these women,” he said.