Passing through the nerve centres of South and North Bangalore, where the festival is still big and retains some charm of the yesteryear, you now see a whole new range of the friendly god. When the Kargil war happened, Ganesha came wielding a gun. When Sachin Tendulkar became the cricketing sensation, he sported a bat. Then again, to appease kids, he’s all dressed like Spiderman, waiting to fly over rooftops. The eco-conscious Ganesha has shed his layers of paint and gone back to all basic, all clay. The changing appearance of the God perhaps coincided with the changing nature of the festival.
From making elaborate tindis at home, starting much ahead of the festival, we’ve moved on to eating out at restaurants that promise homely festive spreads. Even at home, the health conscious are weary of making too many fried or sweet foods, tradition and nostalgia notwithstanding. No more elaborate rituals spread over five days. It’s Ganesha-come-Ganesha-go, depending on how much time you have on hand to spare for the Gods.
Prateek Mukunda, a 25-year-old software engineer says that the general enthusiasm for the festival is no longer there like before. “That whole dedication and drive, I don’t have it now, and I don’t know why. As kids, we would compete with each other in the colony about seeing 21 Ganeshas. It was a celebratory mood. Now, I’ve lost interest in rituals. But I listen to good music, maybe some bhavageethe, or watch movies. Festivals have become more about a time for yourself, to indulge in other activities.”