http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali I went to Mangesh's house in Khar-Danda last night for Diwali. We lit some fireworks and ate lots of sweets from his neighbors, all of whom had different powdered decorations on their doorstep.
But the best part is that we decided to go to Mangesh's village in Maharashtra today! I can't wait to go.
Recently, I have been so busy that I missed most of Ganpati (I even missed the India-Pakistan Cricket Match--although Ganpati probably makes more sense to me than cricket).
So on the the last night of the festival, I went out to Juhu beach at 1am to see if there was anything still going on. By the time I got out there at 2am, there were still thousands of people crowding the streets and dancing. I stopped by the 24 hour cafe at the J.W. Marriott Hotel--but it was so incredibly boring there. And expensive. People pay a lot of money to make things boring, I've realized.
Right, but as I left the Mariott, I realized that I was stuck walking in the pouring rain, because the roads were completely clogged, and no rickshaws were available at all. Already soaked in seconds by the monsoon, I waded out into the ocean, where these 20ft tall Ganesh statues were being carried into the surf, held aloft by huge crowds of people. And all over the beach there were these broken limbs and pieces of brightly painted ganesh statues that had washed back onto shore. Everyone was covered in red pigment and shouting "Moryia!" Yet, it was raining so hard it was sometimes hard to see, with all the water in your eyes. Radical!
See, everyone puts these decorated Ganesha Statues in their houses, and people come by and say prayers. It is weirdly similar to having a christmas tree, actually. Except that everyone eventually immerses their Ganesh Statues in the ocean, instead of burning their xmas trees in the back yard (well, if you are from ohio).
Ganesh riding on an eagle-->
Making traditional Ganpati Sweets... I thought their coconut grater was really interesting. You sit on this board, and rub the coconut on these metal teeth... but I think it is the only kitchen tool that you have to sit on to operate.
Animatronics show starring ganesh, Ram, Hanuman, and Shiva! -->
Sunita Williams, the Astronaut, was HUGE in India. So maybe it is no surprise to see this space themed Ganesh... RIDING A FLYING SAUCER!! (With a windmill behind him??)
Watch the mildly psychedelic Space Ganesh Action show, here:
Space Ganesh was actually part of a Women Power installation for Sunita Williams
Now if you really love heavy metal, what better way to show it than to get a tattoo? (Or a blood-bourne pathogen, for that matter...?)
There were tons of these tattoo ladies at the Bandra Street Fair (which is right outside my house, and involves tens of thousands of people). Their tattooing device was powered by a chain of 6 D-Cell batteries that had been taped together.
Then thousands of Hindus and Catholics ascend the steps to Mount Mary Cathedral where they say a prayer and burn a candle. They buy candles to burn in the shape of their prayer--everything from body parts, babies, rickshaws, and airplanes.
And this kid was selling bubbles for rs5, in the form of old film canisters filled with soap water with a wire twist as bubble wand.