Monday, September 5

the festival of ganesh featuring... justin beiber?

So... the festival of Ganesh wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it was fun to get out and see all of the different shrines set up around town to honor him. It was pouring down rain, so we did most of the sightseeing from inside of the car. People brought peas (Ganesh's favorite food, random) to the statues and there were lots of treats set up at each shrine for the public. Though I thought the shrines were repetitive, it was great to see how spirited the folks around here get, blasting music and playing games all night and day to celebrate Ganesh.

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The Hindi temple next door, which is so close we can hear all of the prayers and songs being played from on our campus, played a tune on the day of Ganesh that I was shocked to hear. I haven't heard an American song (besides ones from my iPod) in three months, and to my surprise, instead of the normal Sanskrit prayers over the loud speaker, I heard none other then "Baby" by the Beiber himself. I guess Ganesh has joined Beiber Fever as well? I, on the other hand, certainly have not.

The best part of this day, however, was my daily walk with Sister Hilda. We've started this little tradition every evening, going for a walk for a half hour to an hour depending on the day. It's interesting to get out and see the other villages around us that I had no idea even existed. On this particular walk, the feast of Ganesh, we were passing through the wealthy area, which I've mentioned before, and were invited to the house of the "mayor" of the area (no idea if he's actually a mayor but his job seemed to be the equivalent). We sat with him outside and spoke with his children who are learning English and were eager to practice with me. They brought us snack after snack, tea, water and pretty much anything you could imagine (definitely proving that the Indian people are some of the most hospitable). Towards the end, Sister Hilda mentioned that I had been looking for a small figurine of Ganesh (he's the remover of obstacles and I figure having my very own Ganesh wouldn't hurt) and the family quickly brought out a wooden Ganesh, carved literally right out of a hunk of wood and gifted it to me (I'm telling you, the hospitality is unreal). So now, sitting next to my laughing Buddha, my small bronze "Ketut" buddha and amidst my prayer beads, I have added Ganesh. We'll see what obstacles he's able to remove from my life.

 

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