Now Showing: God and His Creation

Now Showing: God and His Creation

Pitale family from Thane is one of the few who celebrate Lord Ganesha’s birthday by spreading a socially relevant message. After winning the award for the best eco-friendly Ganpati decoration for two consecutive years, Jidnyasa’s managing trustee Surendra Dighe requested them to create a “role model” decoration this year for the rest to follow. And Pitale’s gladly obliged.  

Visit their home at Shruti Park in Kolshet, where Lord Ganesha sits in his comfortable abode – a mini-theatre, complete with sound effects, lighting and an LCD projector. As devotees enter this room, they are treated to a 10-minute show, made of stories that leave them in deep contemplation. The narration is in Marathi or English, depending on the visitors.

Lord Ganesha and His Creation

The show begins with a voiceover narrating a story that beautifully illustrates how people follow rituals blindly without understanding the basis. A Brahmin is on his way to perform his morning prayers. Because in Hinduism it is customary to bathe before a prayer, the Brahmin decides to take a dip in the river. Before the dip, he creates a shivling next to his belongings so that when he comes back, he would be able to identify his stuff from others. While he’s doing so, he is unaware that a young Brahmin is observing him. When he goes into the river, the young Brahmin concludes that creating a shivling is ritual before dipping in the river. So he too creates a shivling, keeps his stuff next to it and goes bathing. Soon the entire bank of the river is adorned with Shivlings. When the Brahmin returns he is shocked as he can’t identify his belongings anymore – all because of a blind ritual!

The next story is about a farmer in the olden days, who reaps a good harvest and is grateful to Mother Nature. To express his gratitude he takes some soil from the fertile land and makes an idol of Ganpati, who is the Lord of Prosperity, and worships it. After his veneration, he immerses the idol in the river that flows next to his farm as it is the same river that makes his land fertile. The idea is to unite the idol with the source from where it came. Looking at this farmer, other farmers follow suit and thus a ritual of worshiping the soil, the nature begins. Unfortunately, in the modern-day celebrations, we have forgotten the soil and focus on the idol instead. Instead of quiet, heartfelt expression of gratitude, we now have idols made of non-biodegradable plaster of paris and harmful chemicals, accompanied by loud cacophony music that cares little for Mother Nature.

The next story is about Lokmanya Tilak’s Sarvajanik (Public) Ganpati celebrations. During the freedom struggle, when the British banned public gatherings to prevent freedom fighters from conspiring against them, Tilak set in motion public celebrations of Ganpati to hold political meetings under the guise of religious celebrations. In the post-freedom era, the idea of celebrating Ganpati has taken on a new, competitive meaning, where pandals compete on whose idols are bigger and better.

The show is captivating and the decor is simple yet refreshing. The background is made of paper cut-outs that are used to illustrate the stories narrated in the show. All the three stories are narrated with the help of an LCD projector. The timed lighting effects add to the overall appeal of the show. The show ends with the narrator reminding us of the importance of respecting Mother Nature: “Our ancestors knew that they owe their existence to nature and endeavoured to live in harmony with the environment. But modern man assumes that he can dominate Planet Earth. Natural calamities like Tsunami, Mumbai floods caused by the heaviest downpour, and now Katrina Hurricane in the US are perhaps reminders that Nature is still beyond our control and we must learn to respect it lest we face the consequences.”

 The Pitale’s don’t just preach, they even practise. They don’t immerse their Ganpati idol – the same one is in use since three years now, but it is impossible to believe because it looks new. And in spreading the message of sparing Mother Nature, the whole family is united. Tusshar Pitale (concept and narration), his wife (artwork), his son Vaibhav (sound effects and mixing), his daughter Jaswandi (Narration in English), elder brother Mandar and his son Gaurav (electrical and light effects) have all played a part in organising this show which has already completed 48 screenings.

The Pitale show serves to remind us the best way to express gratitude to God is to respect His creation. The importance of respecting our nature, our environment cannot be overemphasised. Perhaps Frank Lloyd Wright, a famous US architect, said it the best, “I believe in God, only I spell it N-A-T-U-R-E.”

Readers may contact Tusshar Pitale on 9820601444 or may visit B1/103, Shruti Park in Kolshet for a first-hand experience of being one with Nature.

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