Indira S. Somani, journalist, PhD

Public Immersion of Large Lord Ganesha idols

I traveled to Ulsoor Lake yesterday near Mahatma Gandhi Rd., also known as M.G. Rd., in Bangalore to witness the public immersion of many Lord Ganesha idols, both small and large. Ulsoor Lake is in the northeast part of the city, approximately 1.5 square kilometers.  Some people come to the lake for boating.  But there is also a make-shift lake tank that serves as the venue for the immersion of Ganesha idols during Ganesh Chaturthi.  Crowds gathered around the gated tank to watch the idols immersed into the water.  The larger idols came on big trucks or tractors in a procession with music.   The immersions continued after dark, but I only stayed until dusk.  The slide show below covers the all aspects and various sizes of Ganesha idols immersed into the water. 

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I rented a car with a driver to get me there.  Perhaps I should be taking a public bus to get the true Fulbright experience as they say, but I’ve rarely taken public transportation during my travels in India.  Granted, I’ve only been here for about three weeks at a time except for that summer in 1987, when I was here for about six weeks.  But I don’t feel guilty about having the means to be able to afford a driver and car to get around this congested city. It’s important to me to feel comfortable and safe.  Even though I’m of Indian descent, I feel I already stand out.  This could be just because of what I’m wearing, jeans or pants and a kurta.  I usually don’t have a bindhi on my forehead.  I just didn’t grow up wearing them, and it doesn’t come natural to me to put them on.  Plus, as my mother is from Kolkata, she’s not used to wearing them either.  I also don’t speak the local language, Kannada.  But maybe these are excuses.  With a good map and no inhibitions about asking for directions, I could use public transportation.  I would still stand out, but I could use public transportation.

I appreciated the discussion, as I was coming to work this morning, of not hesitating to pay for comfort, if it is within means.  I was traveling with someone from my building, whose factory is about two km. from my Institute.  He has offered to take me to work, since it is so close to his business.  For me, this is a blessing as I can get to work, door-to-door.  I will still take the faculty van home, because I get a chance to socialize with my colleagues and it’s also quite comfortable.  This morning we took the Nice Rd. (toll road) to Mysore Road (as we usually do), which is a smooth ride.  I appreciate the highways that have been developed, since my travels here during my childhood.  My memories of traveling through India by road have always been a bumpy ride where I felt like I could suffer from a slipped-disc in my vertebrae.  It was even said in the car this morning that Americans do not hesitate to pay for comfort, where Indians won’t hesitate to save money where they can.  This is a significant cultural difference between the two countries, primarily derived by their socio-economic differences.