Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ganpati is Over

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

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy Ganpati!

This week is Ganpati, the celebration of everyone's favorite elephant-god, Ganesha. I strongly encourage you to enter the heaven at this devotional website where you can light some candles for Ganesh and do a virtual pooja.

This is the week when millions of Mumbaikers will take enormous statues of Ganesh and immerse them into the sea. Some are nearly 40ft tall!

I don't have any videos of this YET, but I did put together a video from Krishna's Birthday Celebration 2 weeks ago.

The video also features my first motorcycle ride in Bombay, a truck that is filled with more people than live in most apartment buildings, and ... DEVOTIONAL GLITTER GRAPHICS!! I love glitter graphics on myspace, and who knew they would achieve sacred status? When I was living in the hotel Shubhangan, I used to love watching this devotional television channel, though it would come on only after midnight. Honestly beautiful, though definitely smile inducing to westerners.

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