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Ganesh Chaturthi

Chaturthi

Dead on the road, overrun by a car,
Mooshik Bappa rots -
his intestines pulled out by crows,
one leg up in the air as if to
ward off flies
and a dog
attempting to piss over him,
pus oozing from his tail as
bacteria go about their work -
a whole ecology.

Panchami

Morning Arti on Ganesh day -
priest in a hurry,
a lay worshipper and some
stray onlookers
who seem to have nothing
better to do.
It is late morning -
lunch-cooking time say
the society women.
The men say nothing.

Shashti

Loudspeakers blare
devotional music all day;
society residents pass by
on their holiday errands.
One or two stop
to perhaps throw a few
flower petals on the idol
and peek at the
empty prasad-dish.

Saptami

Squabbles break out over
the empty prasad dish.

Ashtami

Quick visits
to private Ganpatis -
sense of community,
devotion
and who is providing
what in prasad.

Navami

Cultural program by
children
dancing to filmi music.
A girl cries
backstage about a
tight Kathak dress.
The audience claps
religiously;
eyes keep looking
towards the snacks counter.

Dashami

Some residents prefer
to stay home and keep ears
open
for when the music stops.
Time to go down
and redeem
a coupon-worth of snacks.

Ekadashi

Bell-ringing and a strong smell
of camphor indicate
Evening Arti in progress.
Crowd is bigger.
One mutters
'Jay dev, jay dev'
along with others.
Discussions of cricket,
politics, recession
suspended.
Woman distributes flowers
gloriously ignoring rivals
she is temporarily
not on speaking terms with.

Dwadashi

A war of words
breaks out
between Russia and the West
over the 60th anniversary
of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact,
and
who
started the second world war.

Trayodashi

Snack counter opens,
people descend
coupon in hand
for what they paid for -
one samosa, one dhokla,
one idli, one mishti.
National harmony intended?
Or unwittingly dictated
by preferences of
organising committee?

Chaturdashi

Crowd dispersed,
Ganpati Bappa left to his wiles,
members of the organising
committee
begin to partition
the spoils of the festival.

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