There are a lot of memories connected to these 11 days. Be it visiting our neighbors for the nightly aartis as part of the melee of kids excited about what will the prasad be on offer in each house or going around town watching in awe the huge idols and scenes erected by the Ganesh mandals. There were so many emotions invested, that on the 11th day when the idol was immersed we felt that somebody from the family was leaving us. The absence of the aarti and prasad on the next day left an inexplicable void for a few days.
This year there have been restrictions on community celebrations and rightly so. I do feel disappointed about it but it is what it is. I think we should take this time to pause and look within and realign ourselves to what these 11 days really signify. When Tilak started the practice of community celebrations of this festival it was with the intention of unifying us, to find common cause. Over the years we somehow deviated from that. Commercialism became rampant and somewhere the true essence of these celebrations was lost. Maybe this year affords us time to rethink and reapply ourselves to the ideal of community and togetherness if not physically then in our thoughts and actions.
My only wish is that this year on the 11th day as we immerse Him with our pleadings ,inviting him again next year, that He alleviates everything that ails us, makes us whole again and most importantly makes us realize that what humanity faces today and forces us to distance from each other is actually something which is bringing us together in more way than one.