Mumbai takes on a different energy when it is Ganesh Chaturthi. Welcoming the elephant headed God into their homes, societies and hearts is a matter of great joy for all devotees. Indeed, the extent to which people go to ensure that they decorate and venerate Lord Ganesha and the ‘mandap’ in which he reigns is to be seen to be believed.
However, there is a flip side to this as often the idols are made using materials that are harmful to the environment. Upon immersion, the sea, lakes and tank water gets polluted and that certainly is not the ideal manner to bid adieu to a much loved deity.
So at Rustomjee we thought of going the eco-friendly way and organized a special day in honour of Lord Ganesha where children could make eco-friendly idols of Ganapati. The amazing thing about these idols was that not only were they sculpted with completely natural earth called ‘shadu mati’ but they were also infused with ‘tulsi’ seeds so that once the idols were immersed in a flower pot they may bloom.
Over 200 children and their parents attended the workshop and they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Along with the idols they also made Lord Ganesh’s favourite ‘modaks’. There were numerous other activities aimed at entertaining and imparting knowledge about the festival including storytelling and giving an explanation behind the aarti and Ganesh Stotra associated with the festival. Children also got to try they creative skills at making rangoli and makhars with paper art. Music and dance set the mood for the event and everyone was in gay spirits.
There was an enthusiastic response to the eco-friendly Ganesha workshops that were organised at the other Rustomjee projects of Rustomjee Summit,Rustomjee Crown,Rustomjee Elements and Rustomjee Paramount as well. Close to fifty parents and kids attended the workshops at each of the properties.
A little girl said, “I’m so happy I made my own Ganapati bappa. My mom has given me a special pot in which we will do his visarjan and from that will grow a beautiful plant which will be specially mine to take care of.”
This is the sense of love and belonging that devotees feel towards Lord Ganesha and when the tulsi plant blooms in their homes, he will be forever in their thoughts and hearts.