It was such a beautiful early morning when some children were excitedly plucking flowers, they were all in very neat clothes. I walked towards them and asked what they were doing? They shyly said that today is Ganesh Puja so they are going to offer fresh flowers. Their eyes sparkled with so much joy I couldn’t help but smile at them, I asked if they didn’t mind if I joined them I wanted to see how they would celebrate and wanted to experience it with them too! They said they would be so happy! So after a few hours they came to me and I packed some little gifts for them and we went together. While on our way I made friends with these beautiful children. It’s so easy to make friends with them because of how lovely they all are. Slowly we started to hear a sound from the little schools window, a religious song of devotion filled with energetic music. They took me to their little shrine room which was usually used as their own classroom. They offered me Prasad (sweets made up of sweetened roasted chickpea flour balls spiced with cardamom and nutmeg.) The atmosphere there was quite warm. They asked me to take some photos of them and they posed funnily. Some wanted to have photos with their besties. I showed all their photos and they loved it so much. It was so beautiful to experience the ceremony with them. At first most of the kids were too shy to come up but after a few hours all were coming out of their shells, some pulling my hands, some playing with my hair and asking all the silliest questions. That day was filled with lots of giggles, sweets and dances. We had such great moments together.
The next day they came again and this time they asked me if I am willing to come to celebrate with them as they are going to a small lake to send off a Ganesh Statue. I joined them as we walked to each house and they distributed the sweets and some girls carried coconuts, sweets and flowers and we headed to the lake with loud spiritual songs playing on their small rickshaw-puller which was decorated with flowers. Little kids and girls all happily danced and joyfully sung until we reached the small lake. They put down Ganesh Statues and once again they started doing all the rituals by sprinkling water and flowers, offering incense, crushed coconuts and then some young boys took the Ganesh statue and went into the water. All of them started chanting Ganesha’s mantras. When the boys were back we all had the sweets. After a few hours spending time there we headed back with the same loud music on. Ecstatic joy is everywhere. It was a joyful moment. There’s an ease and calmness even though many people and activities were bubbling. It was a strange sensation, and all I could think about was despite our cultural differences and the society we live in today, there was still a beautiful sense of respect and love at this very moment we are in. This beautiful interaction gave me a nice reminder of what’s really important to me in this world. I am still very much processing everything I felt and saw. My heart is so full and in many ways I appreciate the small things and the beauty of what makes everyday just so beautiful, it is the kindness and love which is the heart of something I hope I never forget.