Faith – Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad

1
Ganesh Chaturthi (Hyderabad, 2012)
Ganesh Chaturthi (Hyderabad, 2012)

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

Faith and frenzy go hand in hand in a country like ours. We, as people, feel the need to believe. In a higher power. In a God that is often cruel, but has a ‘plan’.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

That’s what we keep saying to ourselves. There is a plan for us. A role in a grander scheme of things. And we have to believe this illusion because not believing it is scarier. Not believing it makes all the bad things around us seem pointless. Like everything is happening for no reason and is actually nothing but a sorry accident. And that idea of truth terrifies us. So we believe. With fervour. With blind faith. With a madness that is always unexplainable, but sometimes understandable.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

We are a sea of people. Hungry, not for happiness, but approval.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

Approval from that one divine presence. One that we have to please at all costs.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

So we do everything it takes to appease this entity. This magical creature. Who is an apparition to some. A daydream to others, but an idol to us.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

He sits on our heads and watches our every move so that we don’t err.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

But err, we do. We err and pray for instant forgiveness. We hold our ears and break coconuts. And then we err some more.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

We wait patiently for our prayers to come true. We watch and do nothing as everything around us burns, self-destructs and disappears. But we keep waiting. For miracles. Every single day.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

And when we look back, we don’t see what we lost when we were busy being blinded. But we see stories. Of how our faith actually changed our lives and made us better people.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

And we truly believe those stories.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

Because it’s these stories of hope and the promise of redemption that make us want to keep hanging on.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

Because believing in these stories is easier than believing in ourselves.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

After all, we say, we are mere mortals. Helpless at the hand of fate and the mercy of divine power.
Faceless devotees of that Omnipresent being.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

We are actually just floating along our lives powerlessly like a piece of debris. With no control over anything. With no free will.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

But we don’t know this yet. Because in our subconscious battle between faith and free will, it’s faith that wins.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

But maybe, that isn’t so bad. Maybe this kind of faith is not all that blind and baffling. While some believe in magic, love and happiness, others believe in God.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

But either way, at the end of it all, we are all just hanging on to abstract ideas.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

So yes, the truth and the reality may be two different things for us. But till the day we keep believing, we can live unafraid. Reassured.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

We live knowing that our actions – our very mortal deeds and human failings – will be evaluated fairly someday.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

Not evaluated anytime in this life maybe, but in the afterlife by an all-seeing God who will divide the rights from the wrongs. The goods from the bads. No matter how many masks we wear in our lifetime, we believe, he will see right through us.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

So, we hang on dearly to the idea of him.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

Sometimes because of love.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

Sometimes because of fear.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

Sometimes because of innocence.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

And most times, because we think we have to.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

Seeing is not believing for us.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

Believing is seeing.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

But if we are stripped of all pretense, all our conditioning and all that faith has drilled into us, we are in reality, just lost souls. We believe in the idea called God, but we stopped believing in goodness and humanity. In compassion and tolerance.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

We hurt, plunder and kill everyone around us. Destroy everything around us with self-created weapons till it bleeds dry.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

And when it’s all done and when we are standing alone.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

We don’t even stop to look at the empty shell of rubble and ruins we leave behind.

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

We just turn our backs on everything and walk away like clean slates. Like nothing ever happened. Because it’s all in the name of God. And God forgives, doesn’t he?

Ganesh Chaturthi, Hyderabad (2012)

Ganesh Chaturthi (2012) by Lovell D’souza on Flickr.

An idol of Ganesha is lowered into Tank Bund during the immersion day.
You can view the entire set on Flickr.

About Priya Ramachandran

Amused, detached observer. Dreamer. Writer. Wanderer. Comic-strip collector. Secretly awesome singer.


Share the love

Pinterest
Share
Loading Disqus Comments ...

1 Comment

  1. […] from Hyderabad, I was used to all the grand displays and fanfare leading up to the Ganesh Visarjan, when thousands and thousands of idols would be immersed in the Tank Bund. But in Goa, you don’t […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Loading Facebook Comments ...

No Trackbacks.