Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ganesha Habba

The time of the year when India forgets its internal squabbles, finds time to get together on a common platform to celebrate the most popular Hindu festival - Ganesha Habba (Festival). The idol of Ganesha exhibits a persona that can lift any person from gloom. It takes him to a new level of happiness and a sense of prosperity creeps in slowly and steadily. People gear up for the festival amidst hectic schedules, but the love and affection for Ganesha never diminishes. This may not be the ideal time for a festival, what with the end of summer and a long work session commencing. But, time and again we observe that the festival takes people to a new plane of unexplainable bliss.

In India, the festive parade hits off with a frenzy, what with all the important bazaars, markets, shopping malls, small and large shops alike, packed beyond limits. The shopping extravaganza starts well before the start of the festival, and the spree extends well after the festival has ended. In a way, Ganesha brings fortune to all. The scene in Malleswaram 8th cross is worth putting in words. The road is jam packed with people from the area shopping for various things. Importantly, flowers, and clay idols of Ganesha, fill the street. On an average, the shopkeeper has to trade with more than ten people at a time. Marking this important occasion, the street is lined up with barricades at the entrance to prevent two wheelers and four wheelers from swamping the already swamped area. It is generally a fascinating sight to see the contest between the vendors and the ladies. The bargaining power of the customer is tested to no end, as each of them fight for every penny. At the end, somehow, both of them come to a deal which leaves both sides satisfied. Truly, a stockmarket phenomenon, and of course without the big bucks. Flowers and other important ingredients required for the puja have their prices escalated more than double that of normal days. The battle for mallige hua (jasmine flowers) is always nice to watch.

Shopkeeper: Ondhu mola haththu rupai (One cubit: 10 rupees)
Customer: Illa, aidhu rupai (5 rupees)
Shopkeeper: Aayithu Final rate elu rupai (Ok final rate: 7 rupees)
Customer: Seri, eradu mola kodu (Ok, give me two cubit)

And when the shopkeer is measuring the cubit, the customer invariably comes up with Your hand is not long enough, add extra flowers!!! The bargaining for extra flowers goes on for a few seconds, and finally, the vendor would add in one or two flowers for namesake that would leave the customer with a small tinge of satisfaction that would be concealed in murmers and grumbles.

A day of shopping during the festive season can be totally fulfilling as well as exhausting. It is no joke to push your way through the sea of enthusiastic shoppers, and find the shop of your choice. But, one thing is for sure. The crowd never ceases to disappear. Year after year, amidst all the wrong things happening in the country, amidst security threats, amidst social and economic problems, amidst harrowing family problems, amidst uncertainities, the thick blanket of certainity that engulfs the nation is our very special Ganesha Habba!!!

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