The landlord of the house where we are staying proudly leads us up a narrow stairway, past the two floors. The entire house is strewn with furniture of the kind we would exhibit with a view that generates a sense of envy in our neighbours. The walls are a veritable gallery of beautiful paintings and exquisite artifacts.
I live in Mumbai and yet this was my first time at KGAF (Kala Ghoda Arts Festival). Call it my bad luck, I was always out of town at this time of the year. I used to wonder what is so fascinating about this festival that people come here from other parts of India to attend it and I haven’t done so! Thankfully, I now know the reason.
This 9 day art festival is held every year in Mumbai with various themes and interpretations with representation of social issues, the state of our country what it is today. Many artists show their creativity through their work. Not only this, the sub-festivals feature the visual arts, dance, music, theatre, cinema, literature, lectures, seminars and workshops, heritage walks and special events for children as well. Various NGOs also have their stalls selling their products.
As I walk towards the camel fair ground, I have a preconceived image of the fair in the back of my mind. From what I have seen in the photos till now, visit to Pushkar is a very colorful atmosphere with decorated camels on sand dunes, tourists galore, stalls and so on. The shops are open on both sides of this narrow road. It is around eleven in the morning and there is no rush to lure the tourists. Also, there is no sign of sand anywhere. Am I mistaken? At a distance I see a Ferris wheel being fixed up. Oh that’s the ground! I run towards it. I hear some strange grunting sounds. Do camels sound so? I am excited. With rucksack, camera and water bottle I go in the direction where camels are parked.
My first impression on seeing the camels is a disappointment. There is only one color and different shades of it in the vicinity. Brown. There are more camels than men in this huge ground. The whole atmosphere is a little languid. Under the scorching sun I see people lazing on string cots or near their carts which serve as their temporary homes.
And so we bade farewell to our Lord Ganesha. The Elephant God was worshipped for ten days amidst fanfare and now it was time to say goodbye.
Reverberating “Ganapati Bappa Morya ! Pudchya Varshi Laukar Yaa!”, requesting Him to come fast next year, people carried Him to the respective immersion place, whether it was a small pond or a lake or the Arabian sea !
They carried Him on their heads, in their laps or in large trucks, the spirit of this festival remained high. It didn’t make any difference whether they were just two or a large group; whether they were Hindu, Muslim or Sikhs. Everybody rejoiced.
I have tried to catch the mood in my camera. There are many, many photos which I’ll upload soon in my photo gallery.
தை பூசம் (Thai Pusam) is an important Hindu festival mainly celebrated in Tamil Nadu and Kerala during the Tamil month of Thai (January – February). It is also referred to as Thaipooyam in Malayalam language. But if you think these photos belong to one of these states of India then you are wrong !
Outside India, the festival is celebrated mainly by the Tamil speaking community settled in Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka and many more countries around the world. But I never knew this festival is popular in Mauritius as well !