6 October 2007


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This is Vinayaka, the elephant god, Man with an elephant face, or elephant with a man's body. He has many names, most popular name is Ganesh. Business people love him. Shops and business establishments love to keep the idol or a framed picture in the office, He brings money and every Indian artist loves to paint Vinayaka, he is the artist's favourite too.

Please check AAARTI's blog for details.

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i missed last year, nearly missed this ear too. I love festivals, though i don't follow any faith, i love to participate and i get some goodies to eat, from neighbours and friends. Vinayaka or Ganesh Chaturti was celeberated last month. Colourful festivals make our life interesting. Nice to see people celeberating Christmas Eid, Diwali, wearing new clothes enjoying themselves.

Life would be so dull without festivities like the good old Soviet Russia, May day was the only celeberation.
And you had to sit infront of the TV watch the mayday parade and force a smile on your face.

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Besides, people make a living out of the festivals. They generate business. Buying new clothes. shopping, presents, decorations.

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These poor potters are making Vinayaka idols, which would be dried and painted and sold on the roads. you are not supposed to use the same idol next year. You have to buy a new one. This helps these potters.

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Vinayaga has some accessories, like an umbrella, sold seperately.

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Myths and beliefs should remain myths and beliefs. But people go beyond this and try to prove and establish that these elephant gods or gods with many hands and heads really existed.

Like believing the superman spiderman.

We grow out of believing in Santa Claus. But people don't seem to grow out of these myths. People go for confessions in the Churches, or take a dip in a holy river to write off their sins. They sincerely believe that they are coming out clean and all their sins are erased in the hard disk and from the recycle bin.

There is nothing beyond our minds.

Its just a feeling of purification.

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A godess with four hands, is any woman's fantasy.

Would you marry a woman with four hands knowing karate' ?

i'll keep my mouth shut always.

i'll make a rough draft before answering any question.

Would you like to have some tea ? My wife asks me holding, tea, sugar milk and water in her four hands

i have to be very careful in answering.

You can't say no.

one wrong move, all her four hands would go into my mouth. And a thorough shake,
tea is ready in my stomach. DOOINK !!!

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I was in a village near Salem, this was a sweet experience for me, i started clicking and the priests were pretty excited and they offered us the Prasadam, a bowl of SUNDAL, what is sundal ask Aaarti. yumms. Karthik and i ate it right there on the road. Very sweet of them. You can take pictures anywhere any place in India, no objections. They are too pleased to pose. i love it here.

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The idols after pooja are immersed in the river or the sea, causing pollution. Very depressing. The government has slapped a ban on it, but not very effective. Very hard enforce laws on religious practices. Hope people would understand one day.

please read Nasra's interview of Mystic Rose, you would love it.


mystic rose said...

Oh, I love Shri Ganesha. He is thoroughly adorable from his little limbs and his big belly and the lovely smile and eyes and his trunk and ears. You cannot get cuter than that. Thank you for posting htose pics, I completely forgot about the little chatris and the clay models.. Its made me so nostalgic, I feel home sick now.

vishesh said...

so were near Salem??did you go to kolli hills?i went there recently...see my blog for more....

Moi said...

I get the third comment yay!!! :D

I love the pic of the couple and their hands craving out the statues, Rauf.

Anonymous said...

and Im no 4 ..wow how lucky...Thanks Rauf but mystic Rose she has so much gratitude for your photography. I thank you for the combination of your photo with her peotry ...

You made me laugh with your poem LOL..Thanks


zzz-writer said...

rauf uncle
ganesha is so cute and adorable - dont you think? coincidentally wrote something thinking about this festival.... well almost.

i understand the light humour behind the 4 handed godess but we do know that these are mere symbolic expressions to the real (spiritual)qualities which human beings aspire and pray to the gods to grant us. let me give you few examples: ganesha is shown pot bellied, meaning he is totally satisfied. he has narrow eyes which reflect his concentration and quality to discriminate.(well we cannot be politically correct here- he is god afterall and is required to do so!!!) he has despite his hefty built,tiny mouse as a ride, reflecting his simplicity and innocence making him absolutely light and gentle.

it is intersting the way you point out things which are so much there that we forget to notice them at all. must say this is a quality because you can notice them all the while being a part of it.

Ruth said...

Karthik looks uncertain about eating it, and did he take your picture eating same?

I celebrate Christmas even though I don't follow Christ. We put up a tree, pretty white lights, hang winter greens around the house. Religious traditions become cultural traditions that bring families together and give happy memories. In fact, I think they become part of our spiritual bond. We don't do anything at Easter, maybe buy some candy, that's it.

I've seen pictures in books of Vinayaga, but I thought he was bigger. I guess he can't be too big if you're going to have him on an altar in your house.

It would not be my dream to have four arms. I already feel guilty I don't do enough with the two I have. Your sister is different, she works very hard and might be happy to have four. I quite liked the image of your wife shaking you with two hands and pouring tea down your throat with the other two.

Ruth said...

I forget to tell you the human smile frog is creepy! And funny. I jumped when he moved!! "What's this!!!" Then "phew! He's not real."

Ruth said...

Oh, one more, sorry. I don't think you had the link to the Nasra/Mystic Rose interview last night, or I missed it. I had read it already and enjoyed both of them very much. Yay POETRY!

Sonia said...

Great post, Rauf. Really you did an amazing reportage with great photos very colorful!

What a beautiful that boy with the tongue between his teeth! Just beautiful!

Wow! The frog with human teeth is creepy and funny, too.

Have a good Sunday and good week ahead!

isabella said...

Are you saying Santa Claus is not real? Next, you'd be telling me there is no tooth fairy ;-)

To quote Ingersoll: "Few nations have been so poor as to have but one god. Gods were made so easily, and the raw material cost so little, that generally the god market was fairly glutted and heaven crammed with these phantoms."

I'm OK with people believing in gods if it brings them peace and happiness. It's when they start believing they are a superior race...or their religion is the only true one, that's when I worry.

Anonymous said...

once again another interesting post of yours...with crisps pics as always...great job rauf! ;;)

umm...i think that frog grinning is so cool! ;))

Rauf said...

MYSTIC ROSE, Yes i was once told that pot belly is a sign of prosperity. Ganesh doesn't seem to be a god of the poor, though his devotees are mostly poor who participate in processions, pulling the chariots. But Sri Ganesh gives them hope.

Rauf said...

VISHESH, Yes this was on my way back from Kolli Malai. Went to the falls but did not take many pictures as there was too much of water spray falling on the camera. Been there twenty years ago, now it has lost its charm. All the tribals have disappeared, very few left. On my way back from the falls i had wonderful Herbal soup.

Rauf said...

Thank you MOI

Rauf said...

It was a beautiful interview NASRA, mystic rose deserves more of such exposure.

Rauf said...

Karthik ate first RUTH, i washed myself on the street tap. then i had prasaadam (an offering to god) Very tasty. Vinayaka varies in size depending on the money you pay. huge in some places.
they all are immersed in river or the sea.

yes my sister is very busy always. village ladies farmers planting seeds or harvesting would love to have four hands. its all Fantasy Ruth.

It is a fantasy of our indian cricket team. India and Pakistan are supposed to be the worst fielders. given four hands still they would continue to drop catches. Cricket is the most popular and unifying religion od India. No religion guru swamy or politician has contributed to peace and harmony in the country they way indian films and cricket did.

mystic rose gave me the link in the morning Ruth.

Rauf said...

Thank you SONIA. We have festivals almost every month. India is a land of holidays.

Rauf said...

SWEET IZZIDEE, you know what ? i played Santa many times. i had to wear only the cap and the dress, no false beard. But all the kids knew who i was, it was fun, just had to take toys out of the bag and give them one each and some sweets.

i am writing about myths in my next post Izzidee. the quote and your observation are terrific.
Me the agrees with Izzidees.

Rauf said...

Thank you SHIMMER Hope you are doing fine, having fun.

Rauf said...

JEE JEE BITIYA Quite true, but these things don't remain symbolic. No harm in believing in these myths. i am writing about it in my next post. But the problem is people go about proving that they really existed. We have a talking serpent in the genesis. Christians Muslims Jews believe the story to be true without applying common sense.

Kathy said...

Great post Rauf. I know I've said this before but your photos are really awesome! you made some great points in here. Life would be so dull without festivities you said...true! in every culture from the beginning of time we have had them, i think we humans need them.

Love & hugs


Stunning pics mate.

With all those elephant man shots I kept expecting John Hurt to appear in one of your pics....

Rauf said...

Hi KATHY, Quite true. i love Harvest festivals all over the world. i would love to know more. We in South India have Pongal and Onam in Kerala thanking mother earth, thanking gods for their kindness.

love and hugs Kathy, my love to Richard and Marcey and an affestionate pat on Bubba.

Rauf said...

please watch the movie 'Perfume' FOUR DINNERS it has a very powerful narration by John Hurt.
He has made many documantaries rich with his clear and deep voice, can't forget the one on VanGogh.

Bodil said...

Hi Rauff - love this Ganesha-figure. I have a few pictures of Ganesha for good luck myself. Sorry, but I have been somewhat busy of late. Just said goodby to my friends daughter (35) who left quite suddenly from meningitis. Still hasn't really sunk in yet. Soooooo I'll be back again - haven't felt like posting anything for a few weeks, but will get out and take some pictures of this beautifull and most colourfull autumn we are having here. Be good - love Bodil

Lyrically speaking said...

Such vibrant pictures, lovely post

adi said...

hi rauff, my first time here. liked the post a lot. keep wording :)

Sangita said...

Nice pics..Had seen orange colors in ganesha idols first time saw blues(more like shivji's color) and browns..Never knew abt umbrellas.. did u make it up..I thought those were firanis for kids :-) Good post..never jear dof the prasadam u said will have to attend puja here i guess to taste ;-)

Sewmouse said...

oOOH!! The beautiful colors!! Now I want a little pink Ganesha. I don't suppose they sell them here, however.

I think the problem with religions is that many who follow them consider other religions to be "challenges" to their beliefs - "If you do not believe as I do, then you are saying I am WRONG" - rather than different paths taken to the same goal of inner peace.

I do not enjoy the taste of pineapple - but I do not think those who love the taste of pineapple are WRONG - just different.

Sharon said...

The colors of India are so vibrant and you always manage to capture them in your photos.

That does look like a fun festival! Does India have a lot of different festivals?

By the way I love the smiling Frog!

Rauf said...

Dear BODIL, i apologise for my late response. i was plain lazy.
Sorry to hear about your friend's daughter.
Ganesh is the most popular figure here and a most common name. Ganesh Vinayak are the same.
People believe that Ganesh brings good fortune.
Hope you are doing fine
i have not been able to access Ashi's blog for quite sometime. Please convery my regards to him.

Rauf said...

Oh Thank you so much LYRICS
welcome to Daylight Again

Lyrically speaking was the only way of speaking till about 500 years ago. There was no prose.
All the debates, kings court orders, messages were written and spoken only in verses.
All official work was done in verses

Rauf said...

Hi ADI thanks for stepping in.

Rauf said...

They all speak of the same SEWMOUSE, In the end 'BE GOOD' is all they say. but unfortunately being good is made very complex. Simply being good is not enough. They want you to be good wearing the colours they approve. They don't seem to agree with each other.
There has been bloodshed between different brands of 'be good'

Rauf said...

Yes SHARON India is a land of festivals and holidays, too many of them.

Rauf said...

SANGITA, don't know how i missed your comment.
these chatrees are essential accessory of Ganeshji Sangita.
Very colourful. What is Shicaji colour ?
the prasaad i got was ubla huaa masaale'daar chana, it was very tasty yumm yumms. the pujaris wanted to know if i want a second helping. i was tempted but i was full.

Raw Kale said...


"Angeldust" said...

Raufie dear
I definiely TAKE Vinayaga and FOUR hands!


It all boils down to the people needing something to believe in... it is particularly "usuful" when one is not quiet in control of ones life - it not only gives "ine power away" but also ones responsibility... ah, it makes it all easier to live with!

Big Hug

Rauf said...

hahaha thank you RA CHEL

Rauf said...

Oh dearest ANGEL,
Don't know what i'll do with an elephants tusk, but four hands will definitely land me in trouble,
getting them entangled, though quite useful in climbing the trees.
Read a story series in Urdu in my childhood called Nastoor. He could extend his hands at will and take anything he wanted just from where he is standing or sitting.
We indians know how to misuse than using them. Belief goes to our head. becomes more than a belief.
love and hugs from me too Angel.