Monday, October 1, 2012

Blessings and luck in a ziplock pouch

Every time there is a festival,  my multicultural, multi storeyed community brings vibrancy to our life by celebrating occassions starting with New year to Christmas through Diwali, Ramzan etc.,.And the Ganesh Utsav  that went by recently was no exception.

 I don't know how many of you agree, but during a recent conversation with my friend who is a CA, we were discussing that it is not just for a monthly salary that we work any more . It is also to hold on to our positions at our competitive work place. So stiff is the competition out there in the world that your mind and body is working over time and stressed. Children are also not spared of these competitive rat race. They too run the race by attending their regular school, tuition and extracurricular classes. In general, none of us have  time to stand and stare on regular days.  There is only time to smile and say a customary "Hi' or "Hello'  as you get off and on the elevator or when you meet them during your morning walk.

At times like these, it is festivals like Ganesh Utsav which helps breaks the monotony of our life  and helps us to puff out the stress. These festivals encapsulates the multicultural spirit of our Mini Indian community and these getogethers bonds together the  residents of the society and gives us a sense of joint family.  We also get a peek of other cultures while holding on to our own. Many residents put up food stalls showcasing their regional cuisine like sabudana vada, holige, appam stew, medu vada, murukku, vada pav, malpua, dabeli, thepla, dal baati, shrikand and many more delicacies like patrode, gol gappa, thekwa,khandvi etc., You name it and you have it. Entrepreneurial women also pitch stalls showcasing their products. Outside vendors and business houses also pitch stalls in our complex.

 The children and elders participate and enjoy in the various cultural activities in their ethnic wear. This utsav was a potpourri of colors, cultures and cuisine that is India, ofcourse topped with devotion.

Coming to culture, here is where i  experienced  the' laddu auction' culture which i was unaware of till i came to Hyderabad many years ago. I am not sure if this is  prevalent in  Maharashtra or Karnataka where Ganesh Utsav is a socio cultural public  festival with secular overtones. But this auction  is very popular in AP.

Here Ganesh Utsav is generally a 5 or 11 day affair, the last day before the immersion the modak shaped laddu in the hands of the lord is auctioned.  The laddu in the various pandals  goes under the hammer fetching lakhs of rupees. It is a belief among the devotees here that this laddu which was held in the hands of the lord for 5-11 days would bring the bid winner happiness and luck in plenty and it is also sown across the agricultural fields for bountiful harvest.

 This laddu auction took place on the 5th day in my complex and i missed the event in my complex since it coincided with my daughter's concert in a complex opposite mine. Infact, we missed the event so much that my daughter's heart was more in our complex  than on the concert stage. She and my hub rushed to our complex to be a part of the festivities like Ganesh Jhanki (where a pot is tied to two poles with goodies and the devotees have to strike it  till the pot breaks)  and the immersion that took place later had more than 30 of our residents including the hubby  travelling to Hussain Sagar for immersion. These events are such great stress Puffs  for our community residents  that many of them even take leave to enjoy the utsav. People from other faiths too participate and enjoy the event.It was indeed disappointing to have missed the auction  in my complex  but perhaps the lord had other plans for us.

                               ( Don't miss the 5kg laddu wrapped with silver warq)

5 days later.......

 I was sitting in the front gallery watching the winding of the  10th day  celebrations of our opposite multistoreyed complex( same builder). When the huge lord walked out to their main drive way with the laddu in hand. And Guess what?

I got to see the direct relay of the laddu auction from the comforts of my gallery.

The bidding started at 5000rs and ended finally with the winner taking home the lucky and auspicious laddu for 29,000.Our complex laddu was won for Rs15,000.

But these are nothing compared to the costliest laddu this year that happened at the Ameerpet utsav ( a central business district of hyderabad). The laddu auctioned here took the cake.  The winning bid was 12.5 lakhs.

While the size of the laddu adorning the palm of the lord is increasing every year, the bidding amount is also growing every year. The laddu is supposed to bring luck and happiness. The bidding is secular in nature in that you have muslim bidders too. This concept was supposed to have started in the year 1994 at the Balapur ganesh utsav and slowly the faith spread every where around AP.  Locals say that the auctioning of the laddu was to cover the expenses of maintaining the pandal and transportation costs. But today, the money is used for welfare activities like building schools, hospitals for the poor and meeting the relief fund. 

And yes, the winning bidder shares his luck and happiness with others. My co-resident who won our society bidding sent us a share of the luck and happiness in zip lock pouch. 

Isn't festivals all about that - sharing,  caring, feasting , bonding and enjoying :)

P.S: Last year my son won the quiz contest. This year it was not held due to the summative assesment. but my dot and her friend won the 2nd prize in the junior chef contest. Guess who was the first prize winner ?- a 14 year old boy. The contest had equal amount of teenage  boys  participating in the chef contest. Way to go, boys!

PPS:  I only decided to write about the laddu auction but got carried away and listed the whole utsav. Sometimes we plan something and something else gets executed.


  1. Yes festivals like this are so part and part of our culture. This is actually not prevalent in many other cultures. In China i noticed its absence so much that I am starting to appreciate it more in India

    However, I am not sure that the auction idea is a great one. Sure it raises a lot of money, but it largely goes to fund the celebration rather than any sustainable cause. Somehow, in my book, money and devotion sit uneasily with each other. Just a personal viewpoint.

    I presume when I visit Hyderabad, I can be treated to sabudana vada, holige, appam stew, medu vada, murukku, vada pav, malpua, dabeli, thepla, dal baati, shrikand and many more delicacies like patrode, gol gappa, thekwa,khandvi etc :):)

  2. Wow! A Laddu Auction!! Amazing culture!! Never heard about it! Interesting to know about it! :)

  3. @ Ramesh - Agree with your view point. The money was initially used for celebrations. The auction money is now used for welfare activities like opening schools and free medical care like i mentioned in the post above.

    regarding the huge idol and the money for the decoration, i too have mixed feelings. But the sentiments to buy the idol and bid for the auction are so high that i was surprised to see a family cry when she could not sponsor the idol. Even to buy the idol, we had many takers who were to be chosen through lots. I too love festivals and have faith in god, but i was surprised to see and hear their sentiments she felt god was not in her favour.

  4. @ Shilpa garg - hey, blogadda's premium blogger at my space. welcome and nice to see your comment.

  5. laddu auctiona!!!! avvvvvvvvv.....enakku oru packet venum..

  6. sorry gils..u r in queue...neengal queil nirkirirgal.haha..satru neram kazithu try seiyavum..

  7. sellathu sellathu...ungaluku munnaadiye naan kament nyayapadi enaku thaan laddu :D

  8. @ Gils & R.Ramesh - NRIa irundundu laddu kedaiyathu, hyd vanda daan laddu. But the LORd Ganesha of hyderabad laddu auction says he will always bless you with luck, whether in US or UAE:)

  9. avvvvvvvvvv.....ipdilaam sentiaya comment poatta naanga laddu vanga hyd varamaatomnu nenakreengala.. :D athaan illa..

  10. @ gils - en friends ipdi sonna naan enna theriyuma solluven? - nee varumbodu phone pannittu vaa..enakku veeta pootindu poga sowriyama irukkum nnu solluven ...LOL

    jokes aside... inda boochaandikku naanga bayapada mattom... most welcome. Hyd kku daanay vanga ...vanga..:):)

  11. appo neenga hyd bad...hmm..secundrabad??

  12. rendu bad kkkum onnum periya vithyasam kedaiyadu. only 6kms...

  13. You have indeed very interesting stories to tell. Amazing!

  14. We had different types of ganesha's (totally 500)in hosur like ardhanareeshwara ganesha,saibabaganesha, reclining ganesha (it is said it is the second biggest ganesha after mumbai this season costing 20lakhs etc. all courtesy made in hyd. This biggest ganesha even had a big laddoo placed opp to ganesha on a podium weighing 101kgs. I did not know the significance of this but may be it was auctioned.One ganesha evan had a cake in his hand.