This Ganesh idol-making workshop combined creativity with spirituality.
Off the JJ Garden Chowk,a meandering bylane leads one to an old structure that resembles a Wada. It is at this humble venue that we decided to make a trip to participate in a eco-friendly Ganesh idol-making workshop. Organised by eCoexist the event was held on the first floor of the structure aptly called ‘Loft’. A wide collection of participants made it to the venue just about on time as Manisha Gutman,founder,eCoexist stood by the door awaiting the late comers.
Armed with fervent enthusiasm,everyone sat down to a talk by Vivek Godbole,Vedic scholar and head of the Krishna Yajur Ved Pathshala,Satara. Rubbishing the popular impression that creating idols is all about creativity,Godbole introduced the crowd to a spiritual side and the connection that one needs to make with the earth rather than just the final product. For good measure he also explained the significance of Lord Ganesh and his ‘vahaan’ (vehicle) to everyone present. Of course the foreigners were more than happy to quiz him about the significance of the festival as well as about Lord Ganesh. While the mood looked somber enough to begin we took a tea break,which was to ensure that we came back all ready for the workshop to begin.
The arrangement meanwhile changed within. Sixteen seats were strategically arranged in the room. Each had a plastic stool topped with a steel plate and a rag. Srikant Deodhar,master craftsman and head of the sculptors association in Pen then went on to tell us about the harmful effects of Plaster of Paris (POP) and encouraged us to use the clay to create an idol rather than just use a mould for the same. Like most of them we chose to create using our hands and scalpels.
Those using moulds were given a crash course in the same. For the others,proportion did not matter. Willy-nilly everyone managed to create an idol that looked far from the original. Once dry,Godbole again gave us details about painting the eyes with devotion. We tried with fair success. What was interesting about the workshop was throughout the process we had shlokas and mantras playing in the background that reaffirmed the spiritual connect we felt towards the idol.