For yet another deep and meaningful conversation, we sent our correspondent for a heavenly chat, this time with the divine brothers, Kartik and Ganesh. They spoke about Durga Puja visarjan. Here are excerpts of the conversation:
Correspondent: Good evening.
Kartik: Good evening. Come, sit.
Ganesh: Laddoo Khabe?
Correspondent: Sir, if you offer me something, how can I say no to it?
Ganesh: Here, here. I have a whole plate. Kartik, one final offer. Do you want any?
Kartik: Nope! I’ve eaten enough in the past week. Too many calories.
Correspondent: So, how was your Mamarbari stay this year?
Kartik: It was amazing, as usual. But exceptionally humid. It’s getting worse every year.
Ganesh: The love and warmth that is showered on us by the Mortobashees have no parallel.
Kartik: But why do you look so pale, brother?
Ganesh: That’s because the memories of Visarjan are still haunting me. Immersion always makes me really nervous.
Kartik: I know.
Correspondent: Why is that? Do you not know how to swim?
Ganesh: No, no, it’s not that. I like water. But, whether or not I like water or know how to swim is irrelevant when it comes to Bhashan.
Kartik: It’s the crowd.
Ganesh: Not just. It’s the crowd of dancing people!
Kartik: I don’t exactly feel nervous, as much as I feel angry.
Correspondent: But why would you feel either angry or nervous?
Ganesh: Well, think about it. You’re frowing, and your family members are dancing around you. How would you feel?
Correspondent: But we don’t dance because you leave; that’s the part that makes us sad. We dance because you will finally get to go home, and try bid farewell on a happy note.
Ganesh: Well, we still don’t like the idea of people dancing around us, while we slowly sink in water. What kind of a goodbye is that?
Kartik: And what kind of a DANCE form is that? I’m telling you, Baba is never happy to see that. You all could have learnt something from Him. Instead, you picked up the ludicrous Bhashan dance. It looks like you have ants in your pants!
Correspondent: I guess nobody thought of it this way. And the Bhashaan dance has now become a part of the Puja.
Ganesh: It’s a rather hurtful and scary ritual. And while we are on the subject of making Baba unhappy, he also doesn’t like what the Durga Puja Bhashan ceremony does to River Ganga.
Kartik: Well, to be fair, they don’t let our idols sink and melt in the water anymore. They simply dunk us for a while. But, I guess that’s long enough to knock us out.
Correspondent: I have always been concerned about the colours, accessories, and flowers.
Kartik: But haven’t they started using paints free of chemicals and led?
Correspondent: Yes, they have. And they also clean the river up within 48 hours of the immersion.
Ganesh: Still, I am not comfortable with the concept of dunking the idols and everything else in the water.
Correspondent: Many of the Puja committees choose to immerse the idols in water bodies that don’t run into any river.
Ganesh: But the problem doesn’t end there. When waste is dumped into any water body, it gradually seeps into the water table, which might be shared by many households which draw water through tube wells.
Kartik: To be honest, no garbage should be dumped in a water body. It’s about ecological and aesthetical hygiene. When a water body is used as a dump yard, as it happens in case of urban lakes in India, they finally dry out, and the pollutants are left exposed for germs to thrive.
Ganesh: We don’t want to hurt the sentiments of the people, but this is the reality.
Correspondent: Is there any other option? It is impossible to expect the entire process of Durga Puja Visarjan to be stopped. It won’t happen, at least in India, in a hundred years. So what is the alternative?
Ganesh: In Pune, the municipality constructed the makeshift tanks with an impermeable layer of rocks, for my immersion. They are not that expensive. I think the Durga Puja committees need to appeal to the civic bodies for the same.
Kartik: I also loved the eco-friendly idols, which are made of natural clay, potting mix, and organic fertilisers. The idol turns into rich soil for growing plants! Now isn’t that a lovely concept?
Correspondent: Indeed. And it’s great to see how much you are concerned about the earth and Nature.
Kartik: Yes. I am happy to see the initiatives being taken to make the Durga Puja visarjan more eco-friendly.
Ganesh: I also hope that none of those crazy dancers slipped and fell into the river. And that reminds me of my own immersion again.
Kartik: Don’t worry, brother. Just try to remember the good parts, like all the lovely sweets which the women fed you before we left.
Ganesh: It’s all for Maa. And she was so busy watching shows on Hoichoi that she wasn’t bothered about me. Besides, sweets actually made things worse. It’s always better to swim on an empty stomach.
Kartik: Well, then… It’s all over, and we are back. So, enjoy the happy memories, and find your best pictures that the Martovaasis are uploading on Facebook and Instagram.