Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in Pune : Part 4

 I wake up with bells and devotional music and think to go to see the street of Pune. I follow the road, which is going to street markets. This is completely different from metropolitan Pune. Here there are no big highways, no big hotels, no big malls or anything. This is simple city, which belongs to every part of India. I can see busy vegetable market. I can see truck unloading grocery between them I can see Ganapati Pandals too. I crossed many narrow streets adjoin each other and reach to highway…




 I back and get ready for Lonawala, which is 48 km. We reach cantonment area Kahdki. I find this place green and clean. A beautiful church is also here but it’s closed. Crossing river we reached to Lonawala side. Now I can see hills here and drive become smooth and cozy but tall tax is very high. It’s raining when we touch Lonawala. Here I went to see wax museum where all great people exist in the shape of wax statues. These are so original seems that every statue will start talking in a while. Time has been stopped here which I like a lot. I am happier to see others who are happy to click there pictures with these big names. However, for moments only but they can enjoy to be with these big names. It’s heavy rain but we move forward on Mumbai Pune Express Highway. We use local GPRS to reach beach and dam area. Between heavy rain and fog I can see huge waterfalls coming down from the top of mountains. I came out to enjoy and take a walk. This is an interesting and enjoyable walk. Wind is fast but not chilled. Deep fog is making it more adventures and mysterious…






We reach to waterfall where tourists are enjoying the way they can like bathing, laying on water, swimming in possible patches or whatever they can do. This is one of the happiest moments for me. Corn shops are engaged and in rain, demand has been increased. Other part of waterfall there is a dam, which is engulfing of deep fog. I start walk on small creek meanwhile a guy slipped in water badly but luckily he is safe and smiling...

After these exquisite moments, we back to road and again with the help of local GPRS we reach to city. Lonawala is small and beautiful hill station of Maharashtra. Though now shops have been developed but other than this it’s still a village area. Now it’s becoming famous hill station, where every rich people of Maharashtra want to buy a land to make house. In weekend, it’s become more demanding. After taking coffee we back to city in rain and fog…

In morning, I follow the same routine and off to market where all are busy in struggle of their life. I take long walk between one street to another and back. Today I will go to Sirdi which is 200 km from. Sirdi Road is busy highway along with small and big cities and villages, which, makes you engage with the hustle bustle. Ahmadnagar is one big city on the road, where we stuck in heavy traffic jam. This city is polluted and absolute mismanaged. Sultry weather making it more woeful…

Though, highways is good but some parts are badly damaged where big holes are appearing on the road. I found this is truck road coz mostly trucks are running on the road which are from all over India. I saw all states trucks here and many dogs have been died on the road, which is sad part of driving. Soon we reached Sirdi…

Though the temple is busy temple but today for some reason no crowed is here. We cross market, which is same like other part of India, to reach temple. It’s an irony that I am going into temple after raising a big but stupid question by Swaroopanad that ‘Sai is not god’. Anyways when I reach inside, I found peaceful atmosphere, which I enjoyed and I am happy to be here…

We turn by another road but after few km drive we came to know that the road is under construction. After 7-8 kms tiring drive, we get one connecting road to Ahamdnagar and we back to highway again. It’s getting dark now and sun is going down between clouds which is making scenario awesome. We had Marathi food in dinner on a roadside restaurant and by 10.30 we reach to Pune which is still awaking…
 


Its raining heavily today so I cannot go anywhere. After 4 PM weather become clear and we off to see Tribal Museum. Nobody is here to give us ticket but and old man told us to see the museum but cannot see anything because all rooms are dark. From here, we went to see another Sai Temple, which is replica of real temple. I saw Arti (Main Puja) here which is done by a young priest, around 27-28. He hold lamp in his hand moving it in circular motion and his hands are doing it slowly and perfectly. I like the way he do this and I like music too. When Sai Baba Arti starts everybody sit silently and clapping with rhythm. Priest does the same thing he did before but in middle of the Arti he came out and sprinkles holy water on everybody. This is long Arti, which goes around 30 minutes. After this, we went for dinner and when we are returning I saw few artists performing Marathi Dance Lavni in a Ganapati Pandal, this is again a experience for me back to room…


Today I am going to see Shaniwar Wada, which is an ancient building. I stop into Mulla Mutha River and feel the cold breeze for some time. Traffic is on peak so as heat. Shaniwar Wada is huge palace and busy with lots tourists. In every part of the palace, I found people. Luckily, its drizzling so weather becomes cool. After spending time here, we went to see Chaturdashi Temple, which is again an ancient temple of Goddess but before this, I ate Wada Pav which is tasty Marathi street food. I saw many Ganapti Pandols here…




 Then we went to Parvati Temple. From here, bird I view of Pune city could be seen. We cross the city and reached to hilly area. I take a long and steep walk to reach temple, which is most enjoyable part for me. I saw temple and went up from where I can see a bird eye view of city and then back through Kalayani Nagar, a posh area of city. All huge buildings and malls and offices are here…




This is my last day in Pune and it was my luck that I saw one Visrjana too. Few children were taking their small Ganapti for Visrjan.  They are fully enjoying and dancing and shouting TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR… GANAPTI BAPPA SUPER STAR. For me it is the best Visrajan. In the evening when we went to dinner, I saw some more Visarjana…


 Morning, I off to railway station. This time my companies are an old couple and a group of teachers who are going to Nepal to perform devotional music in a temple. This is there first time in AC compartment so they don’t know anything about it but they are simple people. On the way, I saw many waterfall of this side and huge rivers which couldn’t see when I was coming here. I reach Delhi by 7 in the morning and luckily get bus to Nainital…




End

Monday, 17 August 2015

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in Pune : Part 3

 I wake up with sounds of drums and devotional music précising Lord Ganapati but my day start at 10 when Prayag called me to Aga Khan Palace. Road is same but bustling with traffic and pollution. Aga Khan Palace is small but architecture is interesting and inside this there is good collection about Ganadhi ji. Graveyard of Kasturba Ganadhi’s is also here. Garden is maintained and few tourists are strolling or some are sitting in a corner…


I don’t like this sort of tourist spots much so we move from here soon and went to Rajiv Gandhi Zoo which is again not my interest of place coz I don’t like watching animals confine into fences. I enjoy peanuts and other tourist watching zoo. They are so much amused to see the animals. Some are busy in taking pictures and selfie, which become an infectious daisies these days, to update Facebook status or other social media. Some time I think they do everything for Facebook or other. Anyway its good entertainment for me…

Soon we move from here too and off to FTTI where we are going to watch movie as they show it every evening. Crossing heavy traffic and pollution we reach FTTI but guard send us to National Archive for show. Man, bald head, thin and speaking Marathi, says that show is only for annual members not for outsiders. When I told him I am here all the way from Nainital for the show and when I inquire about show nobody told me about it.  He is a nice person but the way he was talking was very strict. In his strict voice he says - You can see the show but don’t tell to anybody that you are not member though there is no harm in watching movie…

Members start coming one by one and taking seat inside AC hall. Only few members are there but all looks intellectuals. This film is Russian film Amor based on psycho women. First part of the movie was expression wise good but second part was mysterious…







 After movie we went to see Ganapati Pandal in night. Scenario is completely changed this time. Pandals are illuminating with different type of lights. Many pandals are showing different type of religious show to attract the crowed. Watching these shows is also an fascinating experience coz they are depicting religious and historical stories using all the new age technology. It’s an interesting fusion. Every pandal has its own specialty. I came to know that lighting expenditures is very costly but all want to look best. Between these big pandals there are some pandals which are simple and they don’t have costly lights. Seems that some Ganpati are very rich and few are not so rich. Once open there was no DJ culture in Ganapati but now every pandals play DJ though this year there is no DJ because of village tragedy, in which whole village demolished in heavy rain but still few are playing DJ with new movie songs like Jony Jony haa ji…Tune pi hai na ji and Nimbura- Numbura and more. Crowed is dancing madly in these songs. It’s hard to understand relation between Ganapati and these songs…


 We went to see Dagru Seth ka Ganapti for night decoration and no doubt, that temple is looking awesome. This year theme of decoration is Ajenta-Alora caves. Whole area is bustling with crowd but one can see Ganapti far from temple. After Ganapti festival temple would be destroyed and original Ganapti will back to his original place and replica will go in to see for Visarajan…

It’s raining again so we come to Maharashtrian hotel for dinner. Specialty of this restaurant is unlimited Marathi Thali. Hotel is packed so we wait for an hour to get seat. I enjoy Marathi food and specially Sri Khand, which is a Marathi sweet. We back through FC road which is a happening place because collage area. Youngsters stroll here every time make the place happening…

Drizzle has been stopped and weather becomes awesome. Sky is blinking with stars and roads are almost empty and long array of street lights making it charming. Good to drive in empty roads. We cross Mulla Mutha river which is again a happening place of city coz all youngsters come here for date and enjoy beautiful moments and family people enjoy with families. Soon I reach to my room…

Next morning I wake up early as we decide to go for trekking. Pune has lots of fort for trekking. We are going to Purender fort which is 48 km so we will drive long and then our trek will start. It’s drizzling but not heavy rain.  After crossing city we reached to village area. Which is beautiful and due to rain all green everywhere. Road is going between huge green fienld. I can see the hill range which is known as Shahyadri hill range but like everywhere here also unmanaged construction is going on which is destroying nature badly…


 
Anyways road is going to upward and becoming narrower. Temperature is also dropping and fog is all over. It’s hard to see anything due to dense layer of fog. When we move little more upward road become thin and rough. We park car here and start walking but before that we took permission from Army as this area is in charge of Army now. They check my camera and tell- don’t take lots of pictures…



I am excited to see the fort and so as trek but by now heavy rain start. I start trek in rain and fog and soon reach to fort. This is small trek for me. Fort has been almost abandoned but Army is taking care of it now. I get nothing much to explore here so off to other side where I found a small pond full of tadpoles and other water insects. I move forward though its rainy, windy and chilled but enjoyable. This weather making it adventures too. After finishing trek till last point I back to road where I talk with army guard who is from Rajsthan and few days ago posted here. He tells me – now people don’t come here much. Only those come who want to enjoy chilly weather. After this small talk I move to see Shivaji temple and then back…




Weather is getting clear and I can see the valley all green and surrounded by small shahyadri hills. No doubt so peaceful and away from city chaos and pollution. We drive back to city and as we enter into city everything become hot, noisy and pollute. I come to my room after finishing lunch in a restaurant. In the evening, we went to see movie Mardani in multiplex which is again a different world. Everything is glaring with high voltage light. People come here in search of happiness. Though I can see happiness in there smiling faces but don’t know it’s true happiness or fake… 

continue.... 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in Pune : Part 2

 Now it’s time to explore the city so I sit on bike with Prayag. Exploring city through bike is good idea. Pune is metropolitan city with huge highways, buildings, malls, shopping complexes, multiplexes extra-extra and watching city on bike is good idea indeed…

Pune is a city from where Lokmanya Bal Ganagdhar Tilak initiated this festival called Sarvjanik Ganesh Utsav to bring all together. City is in full mood of festival. Everywhere I can see people carrying Ganesh idol to their house or in societies. Some idols are huge in size and groups are carrying it with big procession with music. Some groups are carrying procession with the beat of drums. In some groups school students are playing drums and in some group, elders are playing drums. This is very fascinating to me. In one group, Ganesha was carrying by attractive long decorative chariot. Though I could not see the Ganesha but person, wearing sunglass, Pagadi and Kurta Payjama, sitting on it was quite handsome…



We crossed army area, which maintained like all other Army areas. No crowd and traffic jam here. In this area, I can see old architect houses. Pune has not its own culture. It’s basically a technical city which is made by migrated people who come here from all part of India. Ganapati fever is all over in Pune and everywhere I can see people carrying Ganapati according their status. After crossing this area we reached Laxmi nagar road which is famous for huge and decorative Ganapati Pandal...


 Laxmi nagar is jam-packed. We hardly get space to par bike. Here I saw an old building with colourful glasses and attractive architect. After parking, we went to see Dagru Seth Ka Ganpati Pandal which is famous for its temple theme and monument. Without any doubt I can say expense behind this would be in corers. I can see Ganapati far from the temple. Making of this pandal is scientific so that one could see Ganapati far from temple. Pendol is pack with devotees and devotees are busy in taking pictures or selfy. Atmosphere is echoing with the Vadic hymns, chant of Ganapati Bappa Morya and other devotional songs…



 This is vegetable market also so I can see many shops selling vegetables though these days’ flowers and other worship paraphernalia are also in big demand. Today is first day of Ganapti so the shops are bustling with customers…



Then we went to see Navsacha Ganapti. This is another big Ganapti of Pune. This pandal is again a huge and decorative. I get inside to look Ganapti from near which is big in size and decorated with expensive jewelry. Outside pandal there is a big pot standing on water and everybody was throwing coin inside as it brings good luck. I also tried and coin was inside pot but don’t know it bring me luck or not…



Crossing mob we reached another road where massive Ganapati procession was going with big drums and music. Young girls, boys and children, dressed in white, are playing drums and other music instruments. They are doing this in rhythm and all are enjoying it. I can see the happiness on their faces. Being part of this celebration is life time experience for me…


 Drizzle has been start by now so we back to parking area. Soon drizzle become torrential rain but all are enjoying Ganapati. Nobody is bother of rain. We also enjoy bike ride. Road was clear due to rain but it become bit cold too. I parcel dinner for me and Prayag dropped me into room and leave to his office…


Continue…. 

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in Pune : Part 1

Once again, I am at Delhi’s Anand Vihar Bus Terminus; yes, the same Delhi which most of the time fills with hot, humid, Pollution and irritating touts who ask for Auto or Taxi then fool you demanding surplus money. But I take DTC bus for Nizamuddin Railway Station in 10 Rs ticket. Sun is rising behind the cluster of huge buildings. What an irony, in metropolitan cities sun comes from behind the buildings. Inside bus, everything is in super mess due to office workers and students. I reach railway station in half-n hour where I cross ocean of passengers to find out AC waiting room. I drop my sack on empty seat and turns to washroom meanwhile woman sitting next says – washroom is unclean and stinking without water. But as it’s nature’s call so I have to go. When I entered, it was seriously stinking. I already have many weird experiences about Indian Toilets so somehow I managed. I have to wait long for train so I roam around station. Filth, dirt, garbage and ocean of crowd making it hazardous. Railway announcements are echoing everywhere and in displaying on large screens as well. I pass 2 -3 security checks and reach other part where I found a cafeteria. I sit there with sip of much needed coffee. Spending good time, I back to waiting room where passengers of my train have started to come.

A family, a couple, couple with newborn baby. Mother of newborn baby is very smart. She entered into room and starts doing everything quickly along with giving instruction to her husband, which he follows like a good child. Poor guy taking care of baby and attending his office calls too. A woman with her teenage daughter is next passenger to enter, who sit next to me. Girl has all the new-age tantrums like she has smart phone, on which she is calling, messaging, chatting on whatsapp and updating profile on facebook. After finish, these serious things she comes to her makeup and starts from hair. She removes 1 hair clip 2 hair clip 3 hair clip 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10……….21, 22, 23, 24 and so on... I am amused how she had managed that much pins on her head but she did. Anyways now it’s time to study so she keeps out Arundhati Roy's book 'God in a small things'. I could not stop myself asking her - why you reading this book ? Her straight reply comes - this is bestseller book written by famous writer. She only knows this much about book and writer.

My waiting time passed with these sweet and small stories. I move to platform where train comes after 10 minutes delay and everybody ran like anything. Anyway, I am the first one, who entered into compartment then two young guys enter. Last entry is old couple, who are carrying a factory of luggage and now adjust it everywhere in our compartment, next compartment and next other compartment too. Sweet lovely people need everything to survive for few days. When everybody adjusted, lady introduce herself then we all follow her. Now I came to know that one is army guy and second one is singer and couple belongs to Meerut. Couple and army person are quite talkative. Singer is less talkative. I am happy that someone on this earth is less talkative then me…
Train crossing through Delhi’s slum but from yellow glass of AC everything looks amusingly tremendous though reality is just opposite. One after one train crossed many stations and reaches Ballabhagrah, a small station of Uttar Pradesh. I remember this station coz architect of station gave me hunting feeling which I saw in many horror serials and movie. Anyway lady start questioning and first is me – what you do ? I answer looking out from window – journalist. Why are you going to Pune ? For Ganesh Chaturthi Festival. I start watching out.  now it’s army guy turn – where you from ? what you do and why are you going Pune? Bunch of questions together. Guy reply – I am in ARMY posted in Leh and going Pune for transfer. He is beyond his personality like he talks like Haryanavi but belongs Jaipur and worked in Leh now going to Pune. Before singers turn comes, he move to upper berth and lay down. She is still talking but no one is there to listen…

Everybody come together when lunch arrive. Couple is still chattering. Suddenly singer look at me with smile and offers me his curd saying – my throat will caught cold so can you take this ? I accept it with pleasure and big smile. When ice cream arrives, he offered it again. I ask him – what singing you do ? classical – he replied in short removing hairs from his face. I went Delhi for music test. He smiled and went to his berth. Train is in full speed and has been crossed a long way. I wanted to sleep so everybody went off to their berth and don’t know when I fell asleep. T.T. came and woke up us all. We are now in Kota, Rajasthan. Topography has changed. Rocks are all over as Kota is famous for stones. Now all come together except singer…

Scenario changing quickly. Now it’s all green everywhere, no sign of drought, as I came to know that due late rain drought is everywhere but might possible that few rain gave life to earth and it become green. I saw a woman working in field below scorching sun wearing bright red long skirt, yellow blouse and long red scarf on her head. She is looking beautiful amid of green field but thought shakes me that they do such a hard work then why they get suicides in result. They should have to be prosperous but no, they are not. Scene changes quickly and small thatch appears on screen. This always gives me feel of live movie. Inside compartment old couple still busy in chatting with Army guy. Man have habit to say ‘you understand you understand’ after every sentence or sometime after a word. Its evening and I can see sun set and all become beautiful red then become dark in a while. Now it’s dinner time. Singer again gave his curd to me. After dinner soon all fall asleep.

Mid night I woke up when, train stop in station it dark all over. Train is also in silent mode I also lie down. After 2 hours, all are wake up. We are in Maharashtra and place is Lonawala. It’s rain, fog and green everywhere. I saw small mountains, stone roof houses and people wearing local dress, men dress is similar to my hills. Between these, I reach Pune…

My Marathi brother Prayag is there to pick up me with whom I went to my room where I will stay for next few days. Its early morning and city is still sleeping. I am sure as day will come city will also get ready to run. I am hungry so Prayag take me into restaurant where I first time ate Maharashtrian dish Missal Paw n coffee. Crossing huge buildings of metro city, I reach to my room. Prayag drop me there and tells that I can attend Ganapati Sthapna Ceremony at his friend’s office. I got fresh and went to his friend’s office…



 When I reach her office, everybody was ready to take Ganesh ji from shop which is also a big function. All office works walking with band and shouting GANPATI BAPPA MORYA. Whole city is echoing with this phrase. I think whole Pune is going to take their own Ganpati Bappa according to their status. My group is singing, dancing and enjoying. When we reach shop, I amuse to see different type and size of Ganpati. All shops are pack with customers. We took our huge Ganpati but before taking him out they did some rituals and cover Ganapati’s face. My friend tells me that face would reveal after completing more rituals in office. All set up Ganpati onto Truck and move beck to office with same passion and enjoyment…






 In office, they establish Ganapti on a decorated place where priest is waiting for further ceremony. He starts worship, which goes almost hour or more and after completing all rituals he uncover face of Ganapti. After scrutiny of Ganapati face, everybody has their own opinion like face should be like this or that day face was not like this or statue should be little more big or color should be like this and so on. I move off from there now as Prayag is taking me to city for more Ganapti Pandols…    

Continue…