PREPARING to mark the 100th year of installing Ganesha idols in their household, the Bhosales of Dadar are emotional at having successfully observed the tradition without any hiccup through four generations. For the 50-member family, it’s also a reason for the family to come together for the five days the idol is in their house.
The Ganpati idol is hosted in the house of Hemant Bhosale, the third generation of the family. Though the idol is brought to his house, all family members contribute towards making the festival a success, he says. Now retired, Hemant was a cargo supervisor at Mumbai airport. His father worked for the Indian Railways.
“The celebration during the five days is more of devotion than a ritual for our family. We all like to come together and make the five days memorable. On the first day, almost all members of the third and fourth generation gather together without fail,” says Hemant, who says his father gave him the responsibility of hosting the idol.
The Bhosales believe they honour everything that’s good in their lives by welcoming Ganesha home. “My grandmother decided she would bring home a Ganpati idol if she was able to conceive a child back then. In August 1916, when she announced her pregnancy, my grandfather immediately decided to start observing the festival at home, initially for one-and-half days. Since then, there has been no looking back, no doubts about whether to continue,” says Hemant.
“We never broke the tradition, not even once,” he adds. “There was a time when our financial condition was not so strong. But my mother stood by her word to never break the tradition. It is through her dedication that we believe, nothing bad has dawned upon us till now, “ he added.
The family wishes to celebrate the century of Ganpatis by decorating their building with lights and adding a signboard to let others know of this feat. “We have already circulated messages among those we know asking them to visit. We have also decided to dress up differently on each day, make various dishes so that every day is celebrated with equal pomp,” says Nirmala, Hemant’s wife.
The Ganpati idol, they say, will be unique just like every year. “This time, our Ganpati will be sitting on lions. Two months before the festive, I always get a dream about how the Ganpati could be made this time. Every year, there is something new added to the Ganpati decoration,” says Hemant.
When asked if he has observed any changes over the years in which the festival has been celebrated at his home, he said, “Earlier, my family stayed in the Parel village chawl where our house saw the presence of my fathers’ friends, colleagues and neighbours in huge numbers during the days of the festival. So famous was our Ganapati that devotees would hold navas (wish) with it. With years, people moved out and its grandiosity reduced,” Hemant added.
“But some things remained the same,” he added. “One of the five days always marks the presence of a bhajan mandali in our house. Since so many years, the idol has always been made of Shaadu mitti (Shaadu soil) as our father believed only that makes the Ganapati gain weight and complete. What will also not change is my future generation continuing to host the idol, “ Hemant added.